If “The Purpose of a Business is to Find and Keep a Customer” as famed Management Consultant Peter Drucker once said, then how do we look after the customer once we have found them?
Like most aspects of business today, technology is playing a significant role in the area of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with systems that are assisting in the overall management of the customer relationship. CRM has traditionally been the domain of large corporations (you know – when they are recording everything you say on those calls you make to them so that whatever you said could be used against you in a future conversation with them), chances are they were recording the conversation and actions in their CRM system.
However we are now seeing a significant uptake in this big business tool by small business at a small business price point. The adoption of CRM by small business is being accelerated by several trends, including the widespread adoption of Cloud and Mobile technologies and the synchronisation of CRM systems with other business applications including mainstream accounting applications, e-commerce platforms and web based marketing tools.
So What is CRM?
Whilst the term CRM invariably means different things to different people it could broadly be defined as a way of managing a business’ interaction with both existing and prospective customers. Some common characteristics of a CRM system revolve around business processes such as:
•Recording team member interaction with customers and documenting of Activity Notes (i.e. who said what to who about what?) and assigning corresponding Tasks to be undertaken by individuals within the business
- Managing Leads and the Sales Pipeline and Opportunities
- Customer Service Scheduling
- Marketing Campaign Management
- Standardisation of Customer Communications via the use of Templates
- Automation of workflow ( e.g. the process of handling a new customer enquiry)
- Customisation of additional database fields tracking key information that can be searched and reported upon
- Updating of financial activity with the customer (e.g. enquiry of who has not purchased from us this year but did buy from us last year)
- Job management workflow
- Synchronisation of email (and calendars) automatically assigned to the customer record to which the email relates, this removes the silo of data locked up in individual in-box’s
- Dashboard display of all Customer related tasks being undertaken by the business, helping alleviate one of the main factors that keeps Small Business owners up at night – wondering if the actual customer experience is in line with the promise (marketing) that attracted them to do business with us in the first place
The opportunity that a carefully implemented CRM system can present to a business is enormous and is now a tool that is accessible to any sized business that is looking to better serve their existing (and future) Customers.