Following the “what is”-series regarding different business areas is here an article about what CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is. The idea of the “what is”-series is to write the articles in a way that people who have never been in contact with the area will understand.
CRM is short for Customer Relationship Management and is the strategy for managing communication and all interactions with your customers and prospects.
The main goal with having a good strategy for CRM is to be able to find and attract new customers as well as to retain a good relationship with your current customers to make sure they stay with you.
CRM describes the company’s overall strategy towards how to manage all interactions with the customers so that measuring of how the strategy works. This means that it is important not only to measure but also to constantly question the strategy to make it more efficient.
CRM is not always as easy as it sounds. Some customers need more attention than others so it is important to categorize the customers into different areas. It is also important to understand that customers need different kind of attention in different phases of the relationship.
To help you with the customer relationship there is CRM Software. The CRM Software will help you to store information about the customer, categorize them in different areas and stages of what kind of relationship you have with the customer at the moment and remind you to perform different activities with the customer. All interactions with the customer should always be stored in the system even when you are trying to get hold of the customer but failed to do so.
Most users of the CRM Software are the sales people. Since they are usually very busy working with selling the products or services it is important that the CRM Software is intuitive and easy to use. It is also important to be able to easy follow up the interactions with flexible and good reports.
Some CRM Software also combine the sales software functionality but it is important to separate the two processes and understand that CRM and sales are different areas. Sales are about the sales process and to handle offers and follow up the sales more based on figures (more will be discussed in the article “What Is Sales”) while CRM is more about the more soft sides of the relationship and the interactions.
To help you understand if your strategy is good a great tool is a customer survey. This will not only help you understand if you are treating the customers well but also understand what kind of additional services they prefer.
Some companies try to make the CRM quite complex. This might be good in theory since you are able to bring in as much information as possible. But, the complexity is to no use if the process and the tools are not followed and used by the employees. It is therefore important to think simplicity for the personnel first and then think about how to use this information the best way possible.
By setting up an easy process you will be able to transfer this to your CRM Software. Your employees are going to be able to easily use it and gladly fill in information. This information will be the base for all customers and also the foundation that you can improve and build on.
Creating a strategy for how to take care of your customers all the way from when they are leads throughout the whole customer life cycle is the difference between keeping customers and loosing customers. A company with a good CRM strategy that is constantly improved will improve the possibilities to succeed extremely much. This, combined with a good customer support, will make your company known for wanting to work WITH your customers, which is exactly what customers want.
Combined with a good and user friendly CRM Software you will almost have the perfect recipe for success. At least in making your customers feel comfortable with you.