In a world where the customer is the center of business philosophy, people have changed their notions and now they demand a more personalized and self-centered service. This has led to a change in the way businesses work. They have to now put their utmost efforts in making customers feel special and satisfied. Nowadays, businesses can only be successful if they keep on innovating and changing their strategy around customer requirements.
According to Warren Bennis-
Success in management requires learning as fast as the world is changing
This means the businesses have to change their goals to be more customer-centric. This customer-oriented approach can be adapted with the use of an efficient software that can effectively manage the complete customer life-cycle. A solution that can unite the potential of new technologies and new marketing thinking to deliver profitable, long-term relationships is what is looked for.
Let’s have a look at the major focus points/challenges of businesses these days:
- Customer Identification: To serve or provide value to the customer, the company must know or identify the customer through marketing channels, transactions, and interactions over time.
- Customer Differentiation: Each customer has its own unique demands and requirements from a company and their own lifetime value from the company's point of view. There is a need for a software solution that clearly identifies the underlying difference and creates a smooth customer journey.
- Customer Interaction: Nothing is permanent in this fast-changing world and even we as human beings have different requirements at different modes of life. Humans demands change over time. A customer’s long-term profitability and relationship with the company is the prime goal to achieve. Therefore, the company needs to learn about the customer continually and about the market shifts in the demands of customers. Keeping track of customer behavior and actions that are taken to cater to their needs is an important task.
- Customization / Personalization: “Treat each customer uniquely” is the motto that has to be followed to be successful. The company can increase customer loyalty through a personalized approach towards a customer. This process of personalization can be automated by incorporating efficient tools that capture complete customer journeys.
Amidst this hype for changing business demands and a need for a tool that can cater to these needs, CRM has emerged as one of the largest management buzzwords. But what exactly is the purpose of a CRM, is an ambiguity amongst many.
As per Gartner’s definition of CRM: CRM is a business strategy with outcomes that optimize profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction by organizing around customer segments, fostering customer-satisfying behaviors and implementing customer-centric processes.CRM technologies enable greater customer insight, increase customer access, effective interactions, and integration throughout all customer channels.
CRM that is more recently called as ‘customer management’, is a business approach that seeks to create, develop and enhance relationships with carefully targeted customers. It improves customer value and corporate profitability and thereby maximizes shareholder value. Its purpose is to create a competitive advantage by being the best at understanding, communicating, delivering, and developing existing customer relationships, in addition to creating and keeping new customers. The key focus of this type of model is to maintain a balance between the company and the customer.
As per Gartner, there are eight building blocks in the framework of CRM that are fundamental components of an effective CRM initiative. The eight elements serving many interlinked capabilities are as follows:
- CRM vision gives clear idea about the nature of customer experience to be delivered and it starts with the value proposition that is offered to the customers.
- CRM strategy is the key driver of the business corporate strategy.
- Customer Experience focuses on talking to customers and formalizing a solution around their viewpoint.
- Organizational collaboration to tactfully unite the enterprise around the CRM initiatives.
CRM processes need to be re-engineered around customer value with a fresh customer-centric approach.
- Customer information is the core part of CRM that is to be acquired, stored, analyzed, distributed and applied across the cross-channel interactions.
- CRM technology is to achieve integration between businesses and the cross-channel interactions. It gives operational insight into the CRM by using the underlying hardware, software, networking, and telephony infrastructure.
- CRM metrics are to gauge the level of success and provide feedback for continuous development.
Uses of CRM
You must be thinking that CRM is a solution, that is limited to customers only, but it can also have details of vendors, employees, investors, and potential leads. Here are few uses of CRM, to show how versatile these systems can be:
1. Contact Management
CRM software takes all the moving parts involving customer contact and links them together to create a system that’s seamless, intuitive, and easy to navigate. A CRM can manage everything from email correspondence to sales activity and can consolidate it into one centralized hub.
2. Customer Tracking
In order to find out what customers are buying, how much they’re buying, and how frequently, can be efficiently tracked in a CRM. It lets businesses have access to the spending patterns, habits and preferences of customers. This helps in making more knowledgeable and contextual decisions about promotional pitches, pricing, and advertising, as well as improving the customer experience.
3. Customer Feedback
CRM offers great tools to make monitoring review sites and social media pages a lot easier. Some programs monitor review sites to give up to date information on where business ranks and what people are saying.
CRM can provide a useful level of data analysis to give actionable insights into the business. The drill down tracking tools serves in-depth analytics. On a product level, data analysis can tell what products are selling and which aren’t, so this can help in determining production order levels or start a promotional offer. In a sales environment, analytics can tell about the performance of each professional in the team, this helps in making choice while assigning tasks.
5. Sales Tracking
CRM software gives the ability to track the stage each sale is in across team. This helps businesses prioritize sales by opportunity and manage all aspects of workflow as well.
6. Employee Sales
Coupled with sales tracking is employee tracking that is to be taken care of by the management persona. CRM can even track what employees are doing, their progress on assigned tasks, and the stages of each of their sales.
7. Document Management
CRM software can be used to collect, manage, and distribute documents, as well as track which documents have been sent to which client, or employee, or vendor.
Coming to a clinch, I hope by now, you must have got an idea about how important customers are for a business and what potential a CRM has, to be a self-sufficient solution targeting customer engagement. So to leverage performance, businesses have to centralize their set up around customer needs and to do this, a CRM has a major contribution to make. If you want to increase profitability and improve your brand experiences, start evolving your business strategy around the CRM and create a brand mark.