CRM is a common buzzword in customer service circles today, but what is it and how can it work for you? CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it is a process involving the use of technology to provide more efficient service to your customers. Although it originally was used to refer to a specific type of software, the term CRM now encompasses an entire customer service philosophy that incorporates building customer loyalty by compiling information about your customers into one, easy to use tool.
The Components of CRM
Today, Customer Relationship Management utilizes all of the following to provide the highest level of service possible:
- Your entire staff, which must embrace the CRM philosophy, from your CEO on down
- Your company's processes that are used to bolster customer service
- The technology used to drive the process for the best efficiency possible
When all of these components are working together harmoniously, you are effectively building customer loyalty and providing a level of service that will attract new customers and help you maintain your current base.
A CRM system is designed to provide as much customer information as possible to your customer service staff every time your customer calls or walks in your door. For example, by simply plugging in your customer's name or phone number, your employee might see the customer's previous purchase history and potential products for cross-selling. With the information easily accessible, customer service representatives will be able to effectively provide additional information the customer might find helpful.
Building Customer Loyalty
The primary purpose of CRM is to build customer loyalty by learning about your customers' behaviors and personalities. CRM collects information from a variety of sources both inside and outside your company to produce the most complete customer profile possible. The process allows you to build stronger relationships with your customers, which is the best way to nurture loyalty and increase your profit margin. By using information about customers, market trends and effective marketing techniques, you increase the value of your business overall.
The Benefits of CRM
When CRM is used effectively, it offers many benefits to business owners, including:
- Increased efficiency in call centers
- Greater cross-selling potential
- More effective and increased sales
- Better customer profiling that can be used in marketing, sales and service
- Reduced costs and increased profits
- Increased customer base and customer loyalty
- Better customer service overall
By compiling the most comprehensive set of information on customers, CRM offers many opportunities to amp your business up to the next level.
While CRM offers a host of advantages, it is not without its share of challenges. The systems are often quite complex to integrate and may require the expertise of a CRM expert to get them up and running smoothly. It is also important that the entire company is sold on the CRM philosophy, which means extensive training of your entire staff before implementing the system. However, the benefits may far outweigh the challenges, when your company enjoys a loyal customer base of satisfied clients that come back again and again for your products.