Customer Relationship Management and Your Business
Business Coaching, Business Consultants, Business Management
In the business world, maintaining and growing the customer base is key to continued business growth and viability. Before the advent and wide availability of technology, corporations relied on their front-line staff (primarily the sales team) to be the ones responsible for managing their customer base. However this changed in the 90’s with the growth of call centers and the Internet. Customers started to interact with organisations not just via the face-to-face sales team, but via call centers, email and websites. The need for companies to support customer interactions across multiple channels resulted. Today, the proliferations of customer channels continue, with mobile and social channels being added to the mix.
To manage the increasing customer channel complexity, Customer Relationship Management systems or CRM was developed. At its core, CRM is about helping businesses to manage customer interactions across multiple channels. In the past few years, CRM has evolved to support management of new channels such as mobile and social.
How can CRM help in growing your business
In today’s modern world, with widespread access to information on the Internet and on social forums, product innovation is not enough to sustain a business. Take the smart-phone market as an example. A few years back when Apple introduced the iPhone, it stood alone in offering a unique product (the modern smart-phone) that no one else could offer. However that advantage dissipated in a few short years with Google, Samsung and a host of lower cost competitors offering a similar product at a much lower price point. The key point is that product differentiation is not sustainable however customer loyalty sustains itself for a longer term, and provides greater sustainable business advantage. Taking the smart-phone market as an example again, even though there are other companies that offer better and cheaper smart-phones, Apple customers remain loyal to their brand, as Apple has been able to provide a consistent and superior customer experience, which in turn has fostered strong customer loyalty. CRM strategies and technologies can do the same for your business, as CRM is all about helping you foster and maintain the customer relationships that will drive your business forward.
How Customer Relationship Management can help you focus on the right customers
There are different kinds of customers. For any business, customers can be segmented into categories, for example, loyal customers, new customers, one-off customers, switching customers, discount customers and many others (amend the above to fit segmentation criteria specific to your industry). Thus, not all customers are equally important the challenge is in finding the right customers to focus on. You may say why not just focus on the biggest spending customers. However, just taking customer spend may not be sufficient, as you may have customers with lower spend but higher industry influence that you need to look after. A good CRM system will allow you take all these factors into account when segmenting your customers, taking into account both financial or non-financial metrics This way you focus on building relationships with the customers that matter to your business.
In conclusion, implementation of a CRM strategy is essential for business growth, as by knowing your customers better, which will allow you to deliver a superior customer experience, with the final outcome of fostering a long term customer relationship.
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