A customer is King! The Customers are always right! These are only two examples of many more phrases out there that show how crucial a customer is to any business. Long gone are the days where you just had to sell a product or service to a customer and not care too much. With the increased level of competition in today’s business world, it is becoming more important to not only get new customers, but also make sure that your business is able to retain those customers.
Nowadays, it costs a business 5 to 10 times more to find a new customer than retaining one. For this reason, businesses need to be more proactive when it comes to retaining their customers. Therefore, every business needs a CRM strategy for managing how they interact with their already existing customer base.
While there are many approaches out there, it is safe to say that, at least most experts in the subject agree that all these approaches are built around a number of elements. These are Strategy, People, Technology and Processes.
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This is one of the most important elements of any customer relations management plan that a business can have. Sadly it is a factor that is mostly overlooked. Most businesses will spend huge amounts of money and resources on the other 3 elements and assume that people will always follow as long as everything else is in place. This notion could not be further from the truth.
Successful businesses realize the importance that people, especially employees, play not only towards the overall success of the business, but also their CRM strategies.
Training is a very crucial aspect for any CRM implementation in a business. It is the starting point and every business should at the very least, ensure that its employees are well-trained on how to properly use the CRM system. Training your personnel involves classes and hands on experience on using the system. It does not just stop there, the business should also provide ongoing coaching and also training on troubleshooting any basic problems that the employees may encounter when using the system.
Beyond training, the business should create a fun and conducive environment for its employees for better results. It is a proven fact that employees that have fun doing their job are more productive, this is especially the case for people working in customer relations.
Like everything else in business, customer relationship management requires a sound strategy if it is to be successful.
The first step in creating a great strategy for CRM is making sure that the business has a clear indication of the current situation and what problems hinder CRM implementation and how to effectively limit, or completely remove them. The strategy is what will inform all the customer relationship decisions that the business will make.
The next important thing in any strategy is to make sure that they are clear and precise set goals. The goals should be clearly defined, have set timelines and be quantifiable. Doing this will make it easy for management to track the set goals and effectively use them to determined their completion. This will provide a way to evaluate the effectiveness of the CRM strategy whenever the business wants to review it.
Think of strategy as a broad view of the direction a company wants to take with respect to customer relationship management. Processes then are the activities and duties that have to be done or achieved to realize the set strategic goals. These too need to be well defined, well set out and implemented.
Many experts consider this part to be one of the most difficult areas of CRM implementation. This is mainly because the processes have to be constantly followed and evaluated against the value they add to the CRM strategy and whether or not they are helping the business achieve the goals set forth. Monitoring these processes and ensuring that they remaining on track is a day to day requirement.
Processes only exist as a way to fulfill the strategy and goals and not an end to themselves. Therefore, these processes are mutable. If the business feels that they are not working well, they can be changed, or even, replaced with other better processes. This is critical because whenever there is a problem, the company only has to change the processes involved and not the entire CRM strategy.
Last but not least, another pillar for any CRM implementation is technology. This is where some businesses get it totally wrong. You see, some put this as the first pillar and build everything else around it. This is never a good idea. Technology is only there to support the business’s processes and strategy, and never the other way around.
For instance, one common mistake made by some businesses is to design a CRM implementation strategy based on the features that are available in a CRM software. This approach almost always breeds catastrophe. The right way is to select only the features in CRM software that are necessary for you to achieve whatever your business has set and support the strategy. Those features that are not important to your business can be ignored.
For any business to achieve success in the customer relationship management implementation, they have to make sure that they have the right strategy in place. This should be followed by clear set goals and aims to support the strategy. This is what will enable the business to come up with the right processes to support the implementation of their CRM system.
A business should only use technology as a tool to meet strategic goals and creating of processes relevant to the business’s needs. Every business out there needs to retain its already existing customers. To do this, a CRM implementation may be required. The above four pillars are crucial to any CRM systems and when well considered, can help a company implement a customer relationship approach that is well suited to their needs.
Chris Mcdonald has been the lead news writer at complete connection. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. Chris is also an author of tech blog Area19delegate. He likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.