About CRCC Asia
CRCC Asia is the leading provider of internships in China, finding work placements in the legal, financial and many other sectors for students and young professionals from the UK, the USA and elsewhere around the world. Working with high profile companies in Beijing and Shanghai, CRCC Asia has offices in London, Beijing, Shanghai, San Francisco and Shawnee and is on target to arrange work experience for 2,000 students in 2012 alone.
The company guides students through the entire recruitment process in a friendly, professional manner, managing everything from visas and accommodation to advice on cultural activities and survival Chinese lessons.
Since its inception in 2008, CRCC Asia has forged strong customer relationships with both students and recruiters, resulting in applications from 59 countries doubling year on year from 50 applicants in 2008 to 1,000 internships arranged in 2011.
Like many small businesses, CRCC Asia used a mixture of Excel spreadsheets and Google Docs to manage customer information and placement offers, but as data volumes increased, these information silos struggled to manage CRCC Asia’s process, putting customer satisfaction levels at risk.The main communication channel for CRCC’s customer is through its website, so it was also crucial to have a joined-up CRM system that could be integrated with the site to allow a seamless flow of information.
Compatibility issues across global territories also became an issue and information was in danger of becoming unreliable or out of date by the time colleagues in the UK had emailed a spreadsheet to China regarding the status of an application.
Edward Holroyd Pearce, Director, CRCC Asia, explains: “We have staff in the UK, US and China all dealing with different aspects of an application, from sending out an offer letter to a student in the UK to arranging accommodation in China. The systems we were using to record this information were not conducive to this global way of working and we needed a much more collaborative approach to managing and sharing this information in real time.”
“As we continue to grow and add new aspects to our service we also needed a system that would evolve with our business, giving us the flexibility to add more fields and data sets as required. Multilingual capabilities were also a very important requirement, to enable us to work more effectively with our staff and partners in China,” he continues.
Finding a flexible solution
CRCC Asia realised the need for a more sophisticated Customer Relationship Management system to provide a more collaborative way of working. As part of the selection process, CRCC Asia reviewed 20 different options and focused on six CRM providers within the final stages.
“As well as the functionality aspect of the system, we were looking to work with a partner that understood our needs and could provide a flexible solution to grow with our business. We selected Workbooks as they gave us confidence that they could deliver a robust solution. The team was very approachable and they didn’t have an issue dealing with people in different time zones.”
The web-based, Cloud nature of the Workbooks CRM system also provided a straightforward and maintenance-free option for CRCC Asia, with no one territory needing to have kit physically installed in their office or take ownership of the system.
Taking manageable steps
CRCC Asia took a staggered approach to migrating data and rolling out the Workbooks CRM system to staff. The first stage involved migrating across data regarding current applications. This was followed by data on students who had been made an offer, data on alumni and finally marketing data. In total, 23 members of staff are now using the system to process applications across the globe.
CRCC Asia can now manage the entire process – from logging student interest and making notes to sending offers and organising payment of deposits - through one system which can be accessed and updated by staff wherever they are in real time. “Once the UK team have sent out an offer, the China office is alerted straight away so they can start looking into accommodation and visa requirements, for example. This real time aspect of the system means information is up to date and there is no time lag between territories, with everyone knowing exactly what needs to happen next in the process,” explains Holroyd Pearce.
“As the company has grown, the steps we go through during a customer application have increased in line with our service offerings. The Workbooks CRM system gives us the flexibility to add more fields as we need to,” he adds.
In the six months since Workbooks’ high availability system was implemented, the staff have fully embraced the system and it has now become part of everyday working. April 2012 was CRCC Asia’s best ever month, with double the amount of sign-ups than received in the company’s previous best month.
These massive volumes would have simply overwhelmed the old system, explains Holroyd Pearce: “Our pre-Workbooks way of working would not have been able to cope with the number of applications we are processing today and we would have needed to employ additional staff to get through the backlog. Instead we are able to focus our resources on delivering the best experiences for our students and ensure we continue to treat them as valued customers.”
“We only started using Workbooks in November and the system is already an integral part of my business’ working life. We can now bypass compatibility issues and are able to work seamlessly across several time zones. The Workbooks system makes it a lot easier for us to be a successful global company,” concludes Holroyd Pearce.