What is customer relationship management? - Canada Business Network
CRM can enable you to actively manage your customer relations in an business grows and you and your employees become more familiar. The emergence of customer relationship management (CRM) has This guide will help you understand what CRM is today, how it evolved, and what is .. By implementing CRM software that integrates with familiar applications such as. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a concept that refers to the strategies used by an organization to improve business relationships with customers.
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.
Customer relationship management
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.
Customer relationship management
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.
The 2015 CRM Resource and Guide
The onus is on management to lead by example and push for a customer focus on every project. If a proposed plan isn't right for your customers, don't do it. Send your teams back to the drawing board to come up with a solution that will work.
Trying to implement CRM as a complete solution in one go is a tempting but risky strategy. It is better to break your CRM project down into manageable pieces by setting up pilot programs and short-term milestones.
Consider starting with a pilot project that incorporates all the necessary departments and groups but is small and flexible enough to allow adjustments along the way.
Don't underestimate how much data you will require, and make sure that you can expand your systems if necessary. You need to carefully consider what data is collected and stored to ensure that only useful data is kept. Avoid adopting rigid rules which cannot be changed. Rules should be flexible to allow the needs of individual customers to be met. Therefore it is vital to choose your supplier carefully. Making the wrong choice could be expensive and even jeopardise your business.
Before implementing a solution based on CRM technology, you might want to ask any potential suppliers the following questions: How long has the supplier been established?
What are the specific costs associated with the product, i. Does the supplier offer any form of evaluation software so that you can try before you buy? How much is charged for technical support?
Does the supplier provide consultancy and, if so, at what rates? Is the system scalable?
If your customer base grows will the system expand to cope? Can the supplier recommend any third-party developers that make use of their core CRM products? Is there an active independent user group where experience and ideas can be freely exchanged? Can the supplier provide references for businesses in your industry sector using their software? The use of spreadsheets or contact management software to keep track of your interactions with customers would be considered a simple CRM system.
To adopt a more effective system, however, you would require a comprehensive, organization-wide effort to attract and retain customers through an integration of information, people, policies, processes and technological strategies. Even if you operate a very small business, you'll discover that CRM technologies have become accessible and affordable.
You can now access a wide range of online options such as applications that require no software purchase or install; your business simply pays a subscription fee. Like many small businesses, you may opt to deploy your CRM technologies in steps, perhaps starting with sales force automation or call centre software. As your business grows and you and your employees become more familiar with the software and its capabilities, you will begin to realize how other features can further help your business succeed.
Discover how using information and communications technology products can increase your sales and productivity.
Customer Relationship Management - CRM Software Guide
Find free and low-cost options. Advanced customer relationship management As your company grows, it may outgrow a simple contact management system, leading you to consider implementing a full-featured customer relationship management system.
- What is customer relationship management?
An integrated CRM system can provide your business with the following: All of your employees can access a central database to view and update customer data, ultimately improving customer service, loyalty and retention Customer analysis: Your customers and prospects can be segmented, enabling you to customize marketing or sales campaigns, improve campaign targeting and close ratios Customer service: Provide your customers with the ability to self-order and self-help using password-accessed, web-based system, reducing your order entry costs and customer service costs Prospect tracking: