Customer relationship management – or CRM – refers to the way in which a company interacts with its customers and potential customers, through strategies, activities and technologies.
Companies may employ CRM software to analyse customer data, automate certain tasks, improve productivity, manage sales, digitise processes, manage contacts, track marketing activities and more. The aim is to create a more streamlined, user-friendly service to build and improve customer relationships.
Marcel Kooter has a passion for CRM, with experience of working with companies to improve interactions with customers and become better connected internally as well as externally. Customer relationship management is an important tool for any business, as maintaining good customer relationships is what builds brand loyalty, leading to higher rates of customer retention and more likelihood of recommendations.
Companies can utilise specialised CRM software to gain a better understanding of who their customers are and what their needs are. CRM software aggregates all the information a business has about its customers in one place and analyses that data to identify ways to make each customer interaction more efficient and more satisfying.
The data collected might include contact details for customers, purchase and search histories, or details of previous interaction between the customer and a representative of the business. Using this information, employees can discover ways to anticipate and recognise the needs of the customer and interact more effectively.
By pulling all the customer data into one place, CRM software enables businesses to more completely understand each individual customer and their customer base as a whole. It is an essential tool to establish internal collaboration around the customer and create a customer focused organisation.
Ultimately the CRM software can also link marketing automation, online platforms and sales, and create a better Customer experience.
Some statistics about the global CRM software market can be viewed in the embedded infographic.
A good CRM strategy for any business is one which follows the philosophy of the business or brand and uses that philosophy to determine the way in which relationships between the brand and the customer should be handled. This is also true for new or potential customers as well as existing customers.
CRM strategies that work are those that put the customer at the centre of everything. When a business or customer service representative understands a customer, they become better able to meet their needs, anticipating and fulfilling them effectively. Knowing information such as the purchasing history of the customer facilitates targeted advertising or promotions that the customer will use and identify with.
The PDF attachment looks at how companies can more accurately forecast future sales using CRM.
A combination of the right technology and the right people management within a CRM strategy enables the business to optimise its processes. Automation in certain key areas can help to speed things up, which is good for both the customer and the business.
Customers are more likely to be satisfied if their needs are met quickly, while businesses will spend less on admin and manpower when processes are established to occur automatically. Through streamlining many of the more complex interactions with customers, businesses may be able to increase their bottom line as well as build and maintain a solid customer base.
You can learn more about marketing automation by watching the short video attachment to this post.
Benefits of CRM
There are many potential benefits – for businesses of any size – to having an effective CRM strategy. Good management of customer relations can result in heightened productivity and boosted marketing ROI. Customer retention rates, repeat business and recommendations may also rise. By building positive experiences for customers, businesses can keep those customers coming back time and time again. What should be considered is that the CRM software in itself does not solve any customer management problems. It is a tool to support the business strategy and for a successful CRM software implementation senior management needs to take responsibility for the customer strategy.