Most consumers in the United States and the developed world have grown accustomed to a personalized experience in almost every aspect of their lives. As large, more established companies increasingly become a part of everyday life for many consumers, these businesses can leverage their resources and mine massive stores of data to find trends and create customized options for customers. If every company was able to tap into this same kind of marketing and managing power, it could greatly improve the bottom line for smaller businesses and the customer experience for consumers. A solution to this problem already exists: customer relationship management software.
What is CRM?
Customer relationship management (CRM) refers to the way a company or business facilitates, manages, and improves its interactions with current and future customers. With CRM software, it is possible to centralize the administration and record keeping of all the CRM interactions within an entire company. With the widespread availability of computers, Internet services, and CRM software, the benefits of a well-run CRM system are no longer reserved for only the biggest corporations.
Why should I care about CRM?
CRM does matter to your business. Think of all of the best interactions you have ever had with a company, any company. This might have been when you purchased a product or service for the first time, or perhaps when you returned to the same business as a repeat customer, or even contacted company about a problem with a previous purchase.
All of the best customer service experiences include a few common factors: personalization of the experience, knowledgeable employees who understand your situation, and a system that allows the business to respond to your needs in a timely manner. We have all been victims of a one-size-fits-all philosophy of customer service. It feels impersonal and disorganized and removes the human element of working with a business. CRM software can ensure that you have all the positive elements of customer service interactions to improve customer satisfaction, attract new customers, and increase your sales.
Do I need CRM?
Implementing a CRM solution is a big business decision to make. As your business expands, how do you know when you should invest in a CRM system? Here are 4 signs that your company needs a more efficient way to manage your customer data and relationships:
- You are relying on personal memory to keep track of your customers’ preferences, requests, and requirements. CRM is all about differentiating based on what individual customers need. But it is just not practical to rely on your memory to do this. What will happen once you get past the number of accounts you can reasonably remember? How do you even know if you are forgetting someone or something? Would the system break down if you had to call in sick? CRM can put all this important information in one place that is instantly accessible to everybody who needs it.
- You do not have one system for keeping track of the current statuses of your clients. Did that last order get shipped out to your client who said they must have it by Tuesday? Which clients are due for a quick checkup to see if they need to reorder? How many current claims are open for returns or refunds on items? If you do not have a centralized system that all relevant employees can easily access (or worse, if this system is still paper-based), then it is time to look into a CRM software to manage the day-to-day statuses, allowing you to focus on building those customer relationships and growing your business.
- Your records are not accessible or shareable in one place. Using your email inbox might seem like a great way to organize all this information. But syncing all this information across multiple devices and sharing your inbox with multiple employees who might need this information is not always a great idea. With CRM software, especially cloud-based software, your records are accessible anywhere by the people who need to use them. Changes one employee makes are reflected everywhere, allowing you to always have the most up-to-date information.
- You do not have a firm grasp on the past, and you do not know what will happen in the future. Even if you are using a paper-based or digital system to store and keep all your records, how accessible is it and how often do you use that information? Are you aware that certain customers always seem to request the same thing around the same time every month or year? Can you reliably say how much impact that last promotion had on your bottom line? And, perhaps even more importantly, can you leverage this information to make predictions about what your customers are going to need so you will already be prepared when they ask? CRM software is designed to let you see the big picture as to what is happening with individual customers and across your business to help you grow.
If any or all of those situations are true for you right now, take heart. These are common challenges faced by many businesses. As your business grows, strategies and systems that seemed to work just fine in the past are no longer able to support a larger company. Take comfort in knowing that CRM software is out there and ready to take your business to the next level – freeing you from the mundane tasks of organization so you can focus on why you started your business in the first place.
Learn everything you need to know about CRM with the free Ultimate Guide to CRM eBook. Fill out the form below to download.