Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term that refers to practices, strategies Download: Critical Skills for Modern Contact Centers. At its core, customer relationship management (CRM) is all of the describes a CRM in the following way: “Beyond contact info, CRMs log. Find out about the pros and potential cons of customer relationship management and how to implement it in your business.
You must also adapt your business to the needs of your customers. However, there are many potential benefits. A major benefit can be the development of better relations with your existing customers, which can lead to: The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to identify new prospects and increase your customer base.
Even with years of accumulated knowledge, there's always room for improvement.
Customer relationship management
Customer needs change over time, and technology can make it easier to find out more about customers and ensure that everyone in an organisation can exploit this information. The better the relationship, the easier it is to conduct business and generate revenue. Therefore using technology to improve CRM makes good business sense.
CRM solutions fall into the following four broad categories.
- The Differences Between CRM and Contact Management
- Customer Relationship Management
- Customer relationship management
Outsourced solutions Application service providers can provide web-based CRM solutions for your business. This approach is ideal if you need to implement a solution quickly and your company does not have the in-house skills necessary to tackle the job from scratch. It is also a good solution if you are already geared towards online e-commerce. Off-the-shelf solutions Several software companies offer CRM applications that integrate with existing packages.
Cut-down versions of such software may be suitable for smaller businesses. This approach is generally the cheapest option as you are investing in standard software components. The downside is that the software may not always do precisely what you want and you may have to trade off functionality for convenience and price. The key to success is to be flexible without compromising too much.
Custom software For the ultimate in tailored CRM solutions, consultants and software engineers will customise or create a CRM system and integrate it with your existing software. However, this can be expensive and time consuming.
If you choose this option, make sure you carefully specify exactly what you want. This will usually be the most expensive option and costs will vary depending on what your software designer quotes. Managed solutions A half-way house between custom and outsourced solutions, this involves renting a customised suite of CRM applications as a tailored package.
This can be cost effective but it may mean that you have to compromise in terms of functionality. How to implement CRM The implementation of a customer relationship management CRM solution is best treated as a six-stage process, moving from collecting information about your customers and processing it to using that information to improve your marketing and the customer experience.
Stage 1 - Collecting information The priority should be to capture the information you need to identify your customers and categorise their behaviour. Those businesses with a website and online customer service have an advantage as customers can enter and maintain their own details when they buy.
Stage 2 - Storing information The most effective way to store and manage your customer information is in a relational database - a centralised customer database that will allow you to run all your systems from the same source, ensuring that everyone uses up-to-date information.
Stage 3 - Accessing information With information collected and stored centrally, the next stage is to make this information available to staff in the most useful format. Stage 4 - Analysing customer behaviour Using data mining tools in spreadsheet programs, which analyse data to identify patterns or relationships, you can begin to profile customers and develop sales strategies. Stage 5 - Marketing more effectively Many businesses find that a small percentage of their customers generate a high percentage of their profits.
Using CRM to gain a better understanding of your customers' needs, desires and self-perception, you can reward and target your most valuable customers. Stage 6 - Enhancing the customer experience Just as a small group of customers are the most profitable, a small number of complaining customers often take up a disproportionate amount of staff time.
If their problems can be identified and resolved quickly, your staff will have more time for other customers.
Potential drawbacks of CRM There are several reasons why implementing a customer relationship management CRM solution might not have the desired results. There could be a lack of commitment from people within the company to the implementation of a CRM solution.
Adapting to a customer-focused approach may require a cultural change. There is a danger that relationships with customers will break down somewhere along the line, unless everyone in the business is committed to viewing their operations from the customers' perspective. The result is customer dissatisfaction and eventual loss of revenue. Poor communication can prevent buy-in.
In order to make CRM work, all the relevant people in your business must know what information you need and how to use it. Weak leadership could cause problems for any CRM implementation plan. User Community Scope Differences: Supports individuals or small teams. Generally exists for the benefit of an individual.
What is the Difference Between Contact Management and CRM?
Supports team selling, business processes among multiple people or departments, account management across various organizational boundaries and opens up customer information to any one in the organization who can benefit from it or add value to the customer relationship.
The customer relationship exists with the organization, not just an individual. Activities and tasks can be allocated between team resources and scheduled among team members with automated follow-ups and reminders.
Account progression or customer resolution is visible to anyone whom can aid or influence the account relationship, such as the person who generated the customer lead, the person that's selling to the customer or the person who's assisting the customer with an incident or support request.
When each team resource is aware of all other customer interactions while speaking with the customer, fewer mistakes are made, fewer toes are stepped on, the company speaks with a common voice and the organization appears much more organized and customer-centric. Generally a piece meal system used in conjunction with other business applications. Multiple information systems normally result in overlap, redundant data, silo'd business processes, duplicate efforts, difficult information access, multiple versions of the same information and lack of big picture visibility.
CRM software seeks to integrate all customer touch points and customer information repositories. CRM must provide a holistic picture or degree view of the customer relationship based on activities from across the organization and across social channels. The most cited CRM components used to provide the big picture account view include marketing automation, sales force automation and customer support.
More emphasis on data management and less prominence of informational reporting or business analytics. Information visibility or analysis is minimal. There is typically little information roll-up, trending, key performance indicators, customer analysis, online analytical processing or true business intelligence BI.
Customer data from across the organization is consolidated and packaged into meaningful reports, data warehouses or other analytical tools.What is CRM?
Data becomes information which becomes actionable by getting it to the right people at the right time. Sale opportunities automatically roll-up by territory, sales groups or other company structures. Sale pipelines and forecasts are automatically available in real-time without manual intervention or effort. Exception conditions can be detected early and understood by reviewing customer information from multiple perspectives and with easy to read graphical displays.
Standalone systems which generally provide limited integration capabilities or data exchange with either desktop programs or legacy systems. CRM applications are normally designed with importing, exporting and data integration in mind.
What is the Difference Between Contact Management and CRM?
Tools should be provided to allow non-technical users to perform imports and exports. Most information can be easily exported to a spreadsheet for manipulation or modeling or a word processor for a mail merge in a few keystrokes. Contacts, emails and calendar activities can be easily synchronized with groupware or e-mail programs. Although spreadsheet integration has a place, users often upgrade from contact management systems to CRM applications in order to automate the many activities previously manually performed in spreadsheets.
Generally limited to configuration settings and cosmetic adjustments. No real ability to construct or modify programming logic. Normally include sophisticated but relatively easy to use customization tools.
These tools often fall within a Platform as a Service PaaS offering and permit development without source code changes to the CRM solution, thereby, facilitating continued upgrades and support.