3 Easy Ways To Improve CRM Design

Many of the world’s largest corporations use a CRM system as the foundation for their business and sales development. In each of these companies, only a few people understand how it operates. CRM systems handle interactions with customers and, therefore, has a long lasting effect on a company’s image. To that end, CRM design might turn out to be more important than you realise. (How to Improve your CRM UX Design, WalkMe)

A well designed user interface (the screens people use to navigate around CRM) encourages more people to use the system. A poor design has the opposite affect, it can put off and even prevent people from using it. This stops key information getting into CRM. A lack of information means missed sales opportunities or a poor customer service. People struggling with the system will probably make more support calls and require more training or 121 support. This takes you away from your key priorities….Developing CRM/Rolling it out to other departments.

The stats below relate to the design of websites but as users become more tech savvy I think they can be easily transferred to business applications.

  • 94% of a website user’s first impressions are design related
  • Up to 15% of IT projects are abandoned and at least 50% of a programmers’ time during the project is spent doing rework that is avoidable. A proper UX process upfront would help to prevent the majority of this wasted time and cost.
  • Spending 10% of your development budget on usability should improve your conversion rate by 83%
  • 70% of projects fail due to lack of user acceptance

(Usability Matters)

The Technology acceptance model

The technology acceptance model is based on the theory of reasoned action (TRA) (Azjen & Fishbein, 1980) which suggests that an individual’s behavioural intention to use a system is determined by two beliefs: perceived usefulness (PU) and perceived ease of use (PEOU) (Venkatesh & Davis, 2000). Davis (1989) defined perceived usefulness as “the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would enhance his or her job performance”. Perceived usefulness for the individual is most likely the result of improved job performance and user motivation (Robey & Farrow, 1982). Studies have reported that perceived usefulness is positively associated with system usage (Thompson, Higgins, & Howell, 1991). Perceived ease of use is defined as “the degree to which a person believes that using the system will be free of effort” (Davis, 1989). According to TAM, perceived usefulness is also influenced by perceived ease of use because, other things being equal, the easier the system is to use, the more useful it can be. People who perceive ease of use are more likely to believe in the ease and usefulness of the system (Robey & Farrow, 1982). (Adoption of ERP system: An empirical study of factors influencing the usage of ERP and its impact on end user, ScienceDirect.com)

Ok, the stats and science say design helps adoption, where do I start?

In his blog, An Introduction to Design Thinking for Innovation Managers, Paul Hobcraft suggests if you want to change something from the present situation into a preferred one, design thinking helps you achieve this. It takes you through a process. It helps you reduce the risks by engaging with internal and external people seeking out a new solution that solves a need, problem or challenge. This comes through a series of prototypes to learn from, to test and then continually refine concepts to get them to the finished value adding point, taking away the issues.

One of the best illustration of the Design Thinking process is shown here:


Paul continues, design thinking helps the innovator gain greater clarity, to find viable, feasible and desirable ideas, design thinking should force user-centricity as central to innovators thinking. In its most simple form, design thinking can be thought of as building the series of conversions that draw out the needs, that eventually becomes the solution.

3 Easy Ways To Improve CRM Design

  1. Win hearts and minds by adopting design at every stage of the project – Many of the barriers are around perception. If someone thinks the new system will be difficult to use then it will be. Understanding how users interact with CRM to do the day job and communicating this will help manage those perceptions
  2. Engage with users throughout the process – use prototypes to learn, test and refine concepts. Design thinkers rely on customer insights gained from real-world experiments and direct engagement not just historical data or market research.
  3. Think mobile first – Great mobile functionality will be easy for people to use however they’re consuming CRM. Microsoft has noticed this and made Dynamics 365 v9 web based forms similar to mobile ones.

One final note, great design also does one massively important thing, it improves accessibility. This is great for everyone.

Need some more practical ways of putting this to practice? The xRM Coaches provide tips, tricks and best practices in their DYNAMICS CRM Form Design: Art or Science video.

Need help? Here’s how I can support your Dynamics 365 journey:

  • Provide you with FREE Dynamics 365 modules that users love (Once you’ve registered) –#D365forhousing has already delivered several great modules (see above) including complaints, lettings and ASB
  • Support your implementation of Dynamics 365 – Deliver an application that’s adopted, delivers a return on your investment and doesn’t break the bank. My focus is Outcome, not Income.
  • Provide ongoing support – I’ve teamed up with a Microsoft partner to deliver a great service as your system grows.

If this sounds good, or you’re not sure where to start please get in touch.

1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. I find it interesting that you suggest using prototypes to test and refine different CRM concepts. In my opinion, it would also be beneficial to work with a professional CRM consulting service. They’ll know all the ins and outs of the industry to help you make the right decisions and design choices.

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