Customer relationship management systems are the latest ‘must have’ in the world of digital business.
The digital age is changing the way we do business. With the internet providing unlimited possibilities to prospective customers and the freedom to do business anywhere in the world, the experience you give your customer is now equally, if not more important than offering a good product.
Adopting a customer relationship management system (CRM) can help you manage your customer base and create a great buyer experience. A well implemented system can reduce the burden of data entry, provide easy access to information when it is needed and ensure your current and potential customers are receiving the right information at the right time.
CRM is a software system that aims to improve customer relationships. It does this by bringing relevant information, tasks and schedules together so your business gains an understanding of customer behaviour. Communication, offers and followups are informed by this customer understanding, which improves your customers purchasing experience.
Capture your customer data and enhance your workflow
CRM’s function as both databases and workflow schedulers. Information about customer contacts, details of those contacts, what information has been sent and products that have been purchased and more can be stored in the CRM. Email and phone systems can be linked to the CRM so that contacts are automatically recorded. Specific tasks or followups can be scheduled and reminders sent to staff when they need to be done.
For example, a customer has told you they will be on holiday for a week. You record it in your CRM and schedule a followup when they return. A reminder tells you when it’s time to call back and remember to ask about their holiday, giving the customer a personalised experience.
Because CRM’s store data they also work well with analytic software to provide essential information about your current, past and prospective customers. Knowledge of customer behavior allows you to meet customers needs by providing information, offers and follow ups to the right customer at the right time. Opportunities for generating sales are therefore increased.
Not in the office? Working with a team across different locations? Cloud hosted online CRM’s allow you to access customer information anywhere, anytime. Mobile device connection provides access to your customers information no matter where you are. When this access is shared staff working from different locations are able to see the same data and collaborate in real time.
Read more about the benefits of CRM from the links below.
- 19 benefits of business CRM – Preact
- The five biggest benefits of CRM systems – econsultancy
- 9 benefits of CRM (infographic) – Hubspot
Good implementation becomes great customer relationships.
Technology is only as good as the people who use it. Installing a customer relationship management system is not a guarantee of success. Being aware of the challenges of implementing a new system will greatly assist in getting it right.
Before you start you should be clear about how the system will benefit your business structure. The CRM is a workflow tool, not a solution to poor business structure. You may need to make improvements to the existing structure in order to benefit from the system?
Bigger is not necessarily better. CRM’s fail when systems are too complex and have extra features you may never use. A smaller system that meets your immediate needs is a good place to start. Add more features as you identify the tools that will benefit your business.
Consider the data you want to capture. Is it useful? Will it help improve customer relations and business efficiency? Superfluous data can get in the way of meaningful information. When developing your system think about how you will use the information as well as what you are collecting.
Actively engage staff who will be expected to use the system throughout the implementation process. Provide training and feedback opportunities for end users to encourage a sense of ownership with the system. Staff who are actively engaged with the process are more likely to provide complete and correct data.
Read more about the challenges of installing a CRM with this article from Visual Life Cycle.
Is CRM right for my business?
In a digital economy, where business is an online activity, your answer is probably going to be yes. Getting the right fit for your business is the key for making it work for you.
The key to adopting any new technology is in being informed. Check out this blog stream from HubSpot, which includes a string of posts relating to CRM. Not sure where to start? This article reviews the best CRM software for 2017.