Most of the best and successful business’ have one thing in common – an amazing customer support service. These businesses go that extra mile to reach out to their customers and make them feel appreciated, important and understood. And the end result is simple, yet powerful- a relationship that goes beyond the normal company-customer relationship. Now, managing these relationships and interactions can be a tedious job and all business’ turn to their best friend to manage this for them. They call this best friend as the ‘Customer Relationship Management‘ (CRM).
WHAT IS CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT?
C-R-M stands for Customer Relationship Management. In simple words, CRM is the system that helps business’ understand their customers’ behaviour, requirements and expectations to improve customer support, and in the process developing a stronger business-customer relationship. Customer relationship management softwares help business’ manage an interaction with their present and future customers or clients. These systems allow business’ to save customer’s contact information, accounts and sales opportunities in a particular location which can be accessed in real time by several people. It acts as the central body to manage the innumerable connections in a growing business.
BUT WHY DO BUSINESS’ NEED A CRM SYSTEM?
Now that you know what customer relationship management is, business’ are bound to ask the need for such a system when they can do the same using sticky-notes or Excel sheets. Well, for startups and small businesses, this system may only act as a medium where business’ can store all the data in a cloud, which can be accessed in real time from any device. But as the company and its team grows, the software can provide several sophisticated features as well. These customer support services help in an internal interaction within the company as well as with their customers. These softwares also help to send customized emails, gather insights from social media conversations, and get a holistic picture of the business health in real time. An effective CRM service helps business’ increase their revenues by:
– providing customers with products of their requirements and needs
– offering better customer support and service
– helping sales staff close successful deals faster
– satisfying existing customers and discovering new ones
– staying in touch with customers from anywhere
So you have sold your product to your customer. Don’t you want to know if the customer is satisfied with the delivered product? Customer relationship management softwares is the tool to go back to your customer to see if s/he is satisfied with the order and to know if the delivered product is up to the customer’s expectations. This enables business’ to go through its technical practice and its selling techniques, which will in turn, help in improving customer support services.
TYPES OF CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT SOFTWARES
Though there are different types of customer relationship management softwares, all of them share a common motive – to improve business-customer relationship and to increase live customer support with the use of technology. There are three broad types of customer relationship management softwares.
1. OPERATIONAL CRM SOFTWARE
Operational customer relationship management softwares are those software applications which help store the entire information about a customer in one file. For example, this software stores the customer’s contact information, sales history and previous communication into one web page which can be viewed by the employer in real time through any device. So the next time the customer contacts the business, the employer can provide the customer with rapid support and service. This increases customer support and service. This kind of system is highly useful for the sales, marketing and customer service departments.
2. ANALYTICAL CRM SOFTWARE
The information received from the operational CRM system is then looked with an analytical perspective. This software helps business’ come up with better sales and marketing strategies to satisfy customers and in turn increase future sales. This system applies techniques such as data mining which will try and find out patterns and trends from the received data. By using this software, business’ look at data in a wider perspective, which will allow for better long term strategies to increase online customer support service.
3. COLLABORATIVE CRM SOFTWARE
This customer relationship management software aims at bringing together external contacts and providing the data received to customers using an extranet. This system basically aims at making customers work closely with business’, which will help business’ improve their customer service. This interaction provides customers with a support centre, new tools and technologies which will make them proactive about improving customer service provided by a company. This customer relationship management software also reduces the web service costs as it enables web collaboration.
ADVANTAGES OF CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT SOFTWARES
If you are still not convinced, here are five advantages of having a good customer relationship management software in your company.
# Undoubtedly, the first advantage of any customer relationship management software is that it enables business’ to store all the data in a central location. The entire information about a customer from every department is stored in one web page which can be accessed in real time from any device. This helps employees access this data at a time of emergency. Imagine, having to go through several files, suite documents, Excel sheets, email systems and mobile phone data before you can provide your customer with the information, while they are waiting on the other line!
# A good CRM software with good features allows business’ to overview the list of customers and clients. This also allows business’ to review their position with relationship management and the best time to contact customers. A better overview of customers also ensures a more targeted communication. This increased visibility of customers helps in forecasting sales, which will help in increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
# A customer relationship management software increases efficiency of employees. By providing employees with all the required information under one domain, employees can access any information about the customer easier and faster. This helps them in meeting deadlines and closing successful deals faster.
# CRM software ensures security of customer’s information. Prior to customer relationship management softwares, every information about every customer was available to all. Anyone could access the information from the laptop or mobile device. However, with a good CRM software, employees can manage and control who can access information, data and features about a customer.
# Customer Relationship Management softwares enables business’ to identify potential customers and therefore increase their customer base. Since business’ are constantly tracking present customers, they can identify which track to follow to grab maximum customers which will help in increasing sales.
In short, any good customer relationship management software helps both small as well as large-sized companies by increasing revenue, sales and productivity and by decreasing costs and helping a company grow.
DISADVANTAGES OF CRM SOFTWARES
Just like every coin has two sides, every CRM software too has two sides. Despite all the advantages, there are several reasons why implementing a customer relationship management software may not be as effective as mentioned. Here are five disadvantages of having a CRM system.
# One of the most commonly cited disadvantage of customer relationship management softwares is that it dehumanizes sales. By using a CRM software, employees access customer’s interests through the database on the Internet rather than through firsthand experience. Despite all the advantages, some professionals still believe that marketing is most effective when employees can reach out to customers at a visceral level.
# Some customer relationship management softwares are not compatible with other management systems. Sometimes these systems are implemented along with business systems that already have complicated hardware and software. This could lead to further confusion within the users, leading to wrong or inconsistent results
# Installing a CRM system isn’t easy. For effective implementation of a CRM, technical expertise is required, wthat aren’t many in number. Also detailed attention should be taken to the choice of tools and features to be received from the CRM system. Some business’ also find using a CRM system difficult.
# Most of the good customer relationship management softwares, that provide good tools and features, are extremely expensive. This can drastically affect the limited budget, especially for startup enterprises. These systems also require continuous maintenance and upgradation, which again can serve pricey for the entrepreneur.
# CRM systems involve saving of large amount of data in a particular location. However, there is always the risk losing recorded data. This could mean a huge loss for the business’ for whom this system is the only source of information about their customers.
However, without any dispute, all sized business’ use a CRM system. A good CRM system, like Salesforce or Zoho, not just gives business’ a higher edge when compared to their competitors, it also gives an insight into the sales team’s activity, allows to to provide an internal progress report and opens up channels for transport collaboration across team. In other words, your one stop to become a successful business.
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