This is the first in a series of occasional posts on my organization, the American Cancer Society’s High Plains Division, efforts to implement a strategic plan for what is called “Customer Relationship Management” in the business sector and which we call, “Constituent Relationship Management.” We don’t sell our services therefore we don’t have customers.
Even if you don’t use CRM technology in your organization or if you’re not in the non profit sector, you may find these posts useful. Our organization, like those in the business sector, has clearly defined business goals. We may not offer stock options, but we are very much attuned to the bottom line.
Back in the winter we convened an interdepartmental team to provide input about CRM and to serve as advocates for whatever actions we took. At the first meeting, it became clear that we needed a multi-year strategic plan. Fortunately, we had access to a skilled facilitator at our corporate office who agreed to lead us in a two-day planning session.
Rather than start us off writing a mission statement and a vision, he threw linear thinkers like me for a loop by asking us to visualize an awards banquet several years hence. The 18 of us in the room were asked to describe exactly why we were receiving awards related to CRM.
By describing the imaginary awards, we were able to coalesce our thoughts into four goals. Each goal was supported by two or three objectives. Each objective was supported by two to four strategies. Eventually each strategy would be supported by several action steps. Objectives and action steps would have deadlines.
Whether your focus is “just customer service” or CRM, I highly recommend going through a strategic planning process. We were limited to two days and had to defer some of the work on polishing the plan to smaller workgroups (which is not necessarily a negative). Later this week I expect the plan will be approved by our senior leadership (although I expect some tweaking might be involved). The plan should go into effect on September 1, the start of our fiscal year. In our case, this is a two-year plan. We plan to evaluate progress quarterly and go through an annual revision process.
Posts related to Strategic Planning:
How Do You Define “Customer-Focused Strategy?”
How Do We Define “Customer-Focused Strategy?” Version 2.0
A Checklist For Creating A Customer-Focused Culture