The way a business manages its relationships with its customers can play a significant role in its success. In times of economic uncertainty in particular, the importance of strengthening loyalty and retaining existing customers is often paramount to the business’s survival.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interaction with customers and projects. It involves using technology to organise and synchronise business processes.
However, CRM shouldn’t be viewed as an IT project alone to make customer contact more effective and efficient. It needs to involve the whole business and should be embraced as a strategy to understand more about customer needs and use that information to enhance relationships and modify sales techniques.
The overall goals are to find, attract and win new clients, nurture existing clients, entice former clients back and to reduce the cost of marketing and client services. Identifying which of your customers is more profitable can improve your marketing success and ultimately lead to increased sales and stronger customer satisfaction.
CRM Systems – Are they different?
There are many types of CRM including sales force automation (providing sales reps, managers and executives with more selling time and less administration), marketing (identifying potential targets and measuring multichannel campaigns) and customer service and support software (to identify and reward loyal customers).
There’s also appointment scheduling, analytics, collaboration between teams within a business and social media, where companies look to gain access to conversations and take part in the dialogue.
However, there are disadvantages of CRM. Businesses can find the process of training their staff to use the new systems they have installed challenging. It can also require additional work for the team through data inputting and will require continuous maintenance and system upgrades.
There may also be issues with data protection and processing times and it could run the risk of dehumanising a process that should be personal.