3 min read

Why CRM is not enough for your fiber journey

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There are usually a lot of questions when you first start building your fiber net. One of these questions is about what systems you need in order to roll out your fiber net effectively. Since the main goal is to get customers to your new net, many fiber operators think that they need a CRM-system. If you choose this option, there’s a chance that the CRM-system won’t be able to handle the needs of the fiber operator’s business once the customers start streaming in. The risk here is a very long, costly and difficult process to broaden and complete the CRM-system with other systems and adjustments.

According to our experience, the amount of adjustments for a CRM-system are often many and part of this is that CRM-systems aren’t generally appropriate for managing fiber business. Let us explain.

What does a CRM-system do?

Let’s get into what a CRM is and what it does. Mainly it’s a way of managing interactions with clients.

What is a standard CRM built for?

  • To create a view of the customer
  • To understand which marketing channels are profitable and to follow up on sales activities
  • To structure sales teams and to make sure that they are working effectively
  • To handle sales opportunities
  • To solve customer errors quickly
  • To model the lead to customer process

A standard CRM tool is built for an entirely different business, not a fiber business. It presumes a way of work where you are dealing with a smaller volume of costumers with more manual interactions and bigger business. The fiber business is about effectively handling a lot of customers and a lot of transactions. It’s a matter of volume. Standard CRM-tools are generally built for B2B, while a fiber business is generally B2C (even in cases where you deliver to SME small medium enterprises).

Another important aspect is that CRM systems are built to cover many business segments, not only fiber operators. The result of that is more generic functionality that needs to be adjusted, configure and customized. When you start rolling out fiber it can seem like there is not a big need for adjustments, but when you start to grow, you realize that you want to automate more and more and then the customizations increase in size and cost. 

Why you shouldn’t start with a CRM

If you are planning to start your fiber operator business with a CRM, you need to understand that a CRM only delivers a very small part of the functionality and structure that you are going to need. The worst problems with CRM are that the data model for fiber operator businesses is not supported and that it is very expensive to automate the business. CRM-systems usually don’t have any integrations to networks and other systems that may be needed. If you start out with a CRM, you will end up having to spend a lot of time building everything that is needed around it.

CRM is focused on the customer object, but in the fiber business the object that lives the longest, that is the address to which the customer is connected. The address is a very important object in the fiber business, and it is even more important in a wholesale-scenario.

CRM is a large domain, but generally has a small focus on automation, customer self-service and businesses with large volumes of transactions. 

CRM systems are often so generic that for every component within the platform, you need to customize and configure to match the requirements of running a fiber business. 

CRM is providing support for manually move a customer from lead to customer. In a fiber scenario you would like to have this process fully automated in order to grow quickly. The margins on each customer does not justify the cost of having to much manual work involved to on-board the customer.


To summarize

CRM-systems are mainly built around the customer as the most important object, while the fiber operator business has another very important object that needs to be included – the address together with its relation to the infrastructure.

A standard CRM is not enough as a system support for a fiber journey but may work in combination with a purpose-built system.

If you start with a CRM, there is a big risk that the cost of process modelling, automations and interactions will end up very high in the long run.


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