The CRM journey in the Public Sector

22 August 2012

Clive Davis

Clive Davis

Head of Manufacturing

The public sector has embraced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to address some of the major operational challenges of delivering better services with increased efficiencies.  SAP CRM capabilities first pioneered in the private sector have been adopted and adapted within the public sector over the last 10 years and there are now some key learning's and challenges that we can all take forward into the next stage of the CRM Journey...

What does CRM really mean for the Public Sector?

The 'customer' can be many and varied...

In the public sector, the term 'customer' covers a vast and diverse community of stakeholders, ranging from the individual citizens and local businesses, visitors and tourists to many of our major cities and large global organisations that make their home in our towns and cities. Customers are also 3rd parties such as the Police, Health Trusts or agencies sharing information or providing services.

The challenges here are to identify and manage these varied needs and relationships which are a unique feature of Public Sector organisations and the operating models they adopt.

Contact and access to services when and where I want it...

The diversity of the direct customer base and other users of council services has created a need for a range of access points and contact channels that includes, but is not limited to, face to face, telephone, email, web, messaging and post.  The growth of social media has added a new and interesting dimension of relatively 'real-time' communications, feedback and dialogue.

The challenges here are to provide a consistent and joined up contact and service, regardless of the channel used supported by a single set of accurate and up to date information.

Service delivery needs to be fast, right, cheap and easy...

From the customer's perspective, the expectation on the public sector is that it should be primarily focused on providing open and easy access to services, that they are effectively delivered and that the taxes we all pat are being efficiently spent in providing these services. 

Effective delivery of services requires not only good operational practices within each department but also the seamless integration of processes across the different directorates and departments.

The challenge to many has been to think about service delivery as an 'end-to-end' process that goes beyond a departments boundaries (and budgets) and to move ownership and information on customers to the 'front' of the organisation to provide single point of contact and 1st time resolution.

Efficiency requires a step change...

With council tax now running into high three and four figure sums each year the efficient use of the available budgets is a highly visible and often contentious issue. 

The operational challenges are to deliver better services at a lower cost, often requiring business processes to be re-designed and tasks being completed by fewer more 'informed and enabled' resources.

So all well and good, some key principles and specific challenges, but how to make it happen and be all good Journeys, you must know where you are going and have a clear route to get there.

Planning your journey

Managing a customer relationship is more than the application of CRM best practices and principles within these complex Public Sector organisations. Winning the trust of the customer and the hearts and minds within the organisation can pose a huge challenge for those charged with delivering the customer vision.  It may seem like an impossible task; to transform customer service, achieve increased efficiencies and provide not just the same but better services for customers.

However, it is important to remember that this is an ongoing journey, one of becoming customer centric, measuring everything you do by the feedback and satisfaction expressed by your customers, even being able to measure the things that customers deem important not just what legislation and accepted practice dictates is a significant challenge to many organisations.

One thing this journey is not is the implementation of technologies, at least not as a standalone.  A technology solution such as the SAP CRM suite will enable the organisation to address and enable all of the challenges identified above but the desired outcomes, what we measure and the way of working must change as well.

So our journey needs a stated destination and a map to get there.

The map

For the successful implementation of customer driven programmes the roadmap needs to have:

  • A clear understanding of the customer and the experience they desire
  • A logical set of steps to create a programme that:
    • Has a clear end in mind
    • Can realise and demonstrate value quickly
    • Evolves over time
    • Creates a strong Governance structure
    • Is underpinned by a Collaborative, Visual and Iterative delivery approach
    • Builds change management into the fabric of the programme


Better service delivery; increased efficiency and increased customer satisfaction

By adopting a strategic and structured approach to delivering CRM, public sector organisations can attain high customer satisfaction and operational efficiencies.

Customers experience consistent, high quality services accessed through a channel (or channels) to suit their needs and situations.

Directorates and Departments have the information, skills and facilities at their fingertips to support them in managing and resolving customer requests.

Successful Customer Relationship Management is much more than just a one-off activity; it is a way of thinking, working and operating that should evolve over time as customer needs change and the organisation changes to meet them. 

The follow on to this introduction to the CRM Journey will expand on each of the areas within The Map and highlight some of the tools, methods and technologies have and will support this Journey.


View comments


Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.

About the author

Clive Davis

Head of Manufacturing

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

We use cookies to provide you with the best browsing experience. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies.