Are You Using Technology Wisely in Your Customer Reference Program?


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In our final post of this series on the attributes of a successful customer reference program, we turn our attention to technology. While many customer reference programs begin as a list and manual tasks can be used for almost any process, we’ve seen few programs evolve without a more sophisticated approach to information and process management.

We can review five scenarios where technology can be applied for substantial impact in your program.

1. Create a single repository
Use a database to create one central repository of customer reference information to ensure accuracy and availability to all. While a spreadsheet can be applied for this purpose, this typically saddles a single individual with the responsibility to keep information up to date, creating a bottleneck in the process.

2. Create a portal for self-service
An application can allow broad access without making sensitive information generally available. This controlled approach empowers multiple users to become engaged while increasing efficiency. Technology reduces the program manager’s involvement to only those situations that require personal interaction.

3. Use workflow to guide the process
Technology can be used to minimize ad hoc interactions and enforce a consistent process. This helps set and deliver on expectations of internal stakeholders, customers and prospects. It also tends to reduce turn-around time compared to less formal approaches.

4. Automatically enforce thresholds
Keeping track of usage manually is extremely resource intensive, yet exhausting customers with excessive requests is unsustainable. Technology can be used to create and enforce agreed participation levels consistently.

5. Report on program metrics
Most programs that don’t utilize technology well aren’t able to capture the necessary details for reporting. However, being able to monitor for bottlenecks, visualize gaps, and show revenue impact are critical to managing a program and communicating effectively with management.

There are simply too many activities and details to manage without the use of technology and automation. It is important to note that technology alone is not an answer; however wisely integrated it provides the capabilities necessary to deliver results that might not otherwise be possible.

If you don’t have support for automation, we recommend that you be conservative in your attempts to execute a customer reference program. Starting an important initiative with an insufficient tool set is a risky endeavor. Start small; consider limiting the number or type of references your program will support at the outset, as well as the number and variety of reports you can expect to produce from the data.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joshua Horwitz
Boulder Logic
Joshua Horwitz is president and a founder at Boulder Logic, a company specializing in customer reference management. Companies with complex products and selling cycles rely on Boulder Logic for an easy-to-deploy, highly customizable enterprise solution to accelerate sales and marketing using their existing customers. Blog:


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