Customer Relationship Management
The idea behind Customer Relationship Management, or CRM for short, has broadened in recent years to encompass far more than just software systems.
It is a state of mind that has helped many companies streamline multiple aspects of how they do business and revolutionise how they handle customers. Today, the idea behind CRM is that, as a company, you will strive to connect all of your customer related processes in a way that ensures a consistent experience for your customers.
The Benefits of Good CRM Systems
When you produce and implement highly efficient customer relationship management systems, your business will benefit in a number of ways - starting with an improved image with your clients.
The sales and marketing processes are made more efficient because there is a simple, easy to copy method in place for dealing with both the customers and the vendors. This leads to higher sales productivity, because sales people can devote more of their time to creating new relationships, without sacrificing existing accounts.
It also helps create simple cross-selling and up-selling chances that fit directly into the processes that you already use each day. CRM helps to ensure higher quality in customer service, which in turn helps to boost brand and service loyalty. In short, by making things uniform and simple, your company is able to draw more people in and maintain their accounts more easily and for longer. As a result, you will benefit from long term relationships with more customers, less turnover, more new business, and greater profitability.
That is only one set of benefits gained by companies who are implementing CRM systems properly. Others report boosts such as higher closing rates, better profiling and targeting in lead generation, much lower expenses in multiple departments, a boost to overall market share, and a generally higher profitability.
Of course, the biggest problem with any major, company-wide systems change is that you need to eventually implement those changes. Your customers and employees will all need to accept and adapt to the large scale integration of new technologies and ideas. This can be particularly hard for big companies, because of staff retraining and inter-office communication issues.
When Is CRM Right for You?
For many companies, though, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Today, CRM software and models are available for almost every aspect of your business, including:
- Sales Force Automation
- Customer Service and Support
- Integrated and Collaborative
- Social Media
Today's exploding Internet economy has made it far more viable and necessary for these systems to integrate well with e-commerce as well, hence the heavy push for things like social media and Web 2.0 interaction. Even with minimal web presence, having these tools in place can help boost overall brand recognition and lead generation.
And seemingly every day, new methods for use of CRM are being developed - allowing everyone from small businesses with three employees to large corporations with hundreds of employees to manage their customers and their internal communications far more effectively. That's the power of good customer relationship management and the reason it is a primary tool for almost any business.