Strengthen The Bonds With Your Customers Using Customer Relationship Management
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Strengthen the Bonds With Your Customers Using Customer Relationship Management

Businesses that are not staying connected to their customers will be forever chasing new customers. A lifelong customer is gold to any business enterprise. Finding customers is difficult enough and keeping existing ones happy elevates the challenge. That is unless a business implements a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program.

A CRM is part workflow and part integration. It allows different players within an organization to join together with the common purpose of satisfying customers. Conversations with customers from several mediums can be tracked which increases the organization’s knowledge about customers’ wants and needs.

Prior to CRM, various departments within a business had to manage their own communications and was often a manual process. By the late 1980’s businesses were able to send emails to customers, which made it possible to connect on a more personal level, but they were unable to track conversations in an efficient manner.

During the 1990’s, systems evolved to allow for the exchange information between customers and organizations. This was usually done in the form of loyalty programs, rewards and special offers given to customers who were frequent purchasers. Towards the end of the 20th century, the Y2K scare left businesses scrambling and initiatives to handle customer data were put on the backburner.

Fast forward to 2015, where cloud-based CRM solutions are the norm. This allows anyone connected to the system to access it anywhere, and on multiple devices. Transactions in the system are available in real time. Modern CRM systems can automate many processes related to customer interaction. This helps increase engagement with customers.

Companies decide to implement CRM to gain insights about their customers’ buying habits. But it also allows them to see where opportunities are being lost. It can help them realize which deals are not getting closed, or it can even show them which customers are jumping ship to competitors.

Organizations that are using CRM can feed their leads directly into a queue, allowing the sales department to act on those leads. Cloud technology allows the sales team to handle leads as they enter the queue and without having to wait to get back to the office to process them. They can view those leads directly on their smart devices. Leads can also be assigned based on geographical location of the salesperson.

A CRM is also used to solidify communications between the sales group, marketing, and support, which all are crucial components to properly managing any customer relationships. There is no more waiting to know whether customer service contacted a customer regarding a problem or complaint by the customer. The workflow is built into the system.

Major companies using CRM include Marriot and American Express. Marriot implemented a CRM by Siebel Systems whereas American Express uses Salesforce for its implementation. Both companies saw dramatic improvements in their relationships with customers since incorporating their CRM solutions.

Companies considering a CRM implementation will need to map out their current business processes as they relate to customer interactions. Analysis of current IT systems is needed as well. Both types of analysis will help in making a correct determination of the CRM solution that comes closest to the results of the analysis. Cost is obviously a factor in the decision making as is the reputation of the solution provider. Other items to consider are the ease of use of the software and how much training will be required to get it up and running. Hiring an experienced CRM consultant is helpful during the transition.

James is a freelance writer and author. He has published several books and writes content for different bloggers as well as his own.


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