1. CRM - Customer Relationship Management
2. CRM: What are the benefits?
3. CRM: Deciding to use CRM
4. CRM: Applying CRM principles
5. CRM: Implementing the right CRM solutions
6. CRM: Further information and useful links
Customers are key to all businesses, regardless of size or industry. Successful businesses build their reputation based on long term relationships with satisfied customers Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a business philosophy, not just a technology - understanding your customers' needs enables you to build better relationships and increase sales. Practicing CRM helps you stay close to existing customers and win new ones. Although a sound customer relations strategy has to come first, it can be effectively supported by technology, such as CRM software.
CRM: What are the benefits?
Excellent customer service is about being aware of customer needs and reacting to them effectively. CRM helps you to understand, anticipate and respond to your customers' needs in a consistent way, right across your organization. Practicing CRM requires an efficient and integrated internal business system. Many businesses benefit from the organizational discipline CRM imposes, as well as from the technology itself. CRM will help your business if you view it as a set of tools that let you do more more for, and get more from, your customer. CRM can:
• Develop better communication channels
• Collect vital data, like customer details and order histories • Create detailed profiles such as customer preferences • Deliver instant, company-wide access to customer histories • Identify new selling opportunities
How can you measure CRM benefits?
CRM benefits can be measured and quantified. Using CRM applications can lead to increases in revenue from: • Reductions in operating costs - it cost around £25 to handle a customer call via a call center but only £2 via a website • A higher percentage of cross-selling due to offering a single point of contact with your company • More success in attracting new customers and closing deals faster, through quicker and more efficient responses to customer leads and customer information • Simplification of marketing and sales processes by understanding customer needs • Better customer service - through improved responsiveness and understanding that builds customer loyalty and decreases customer "churn"
CRM: Deciding to use CRM
All businesses can benefit from managing customer information more efficiently, but not all would benefit from investing in CRM applications. If you have very few customers, or your customers only purchase a narrow range of products or services from you, then it may be hard to justify a CRM application. Concentrate on developing more specific customer related services But if you have a wide range of products, customers and many sales based transactions, or frequently develop or source new products, then an integrated CRM software application may be useful.
Is CRM suitable for your business?
A total CRM solution would have an impact across your whole business. You may need a total, integrated solution or you may only need to focus on one element of CRM. You need to ask yourself:
• Can you improve contact management) - develop information flows between your customers and your supply chain partners • Could you integrate systems? - to make collecting and analysing customer and sales data more effective • Can customer service be improved? - implement faster, more efficient internal processes. • Can you collaborate more closely in your supply chain? - allow a greater degree of collaboration to benefit everyone in your chain
Can you improve contact management?
Systems to help your business interact with customers and partners and to acquire vital data are a core element of CRM, and there...