CRM and the Customer Experience
Every day we acquire new customer service experiences; some are good and some are bad. Every store that we go into or service that we elicit leaves us with a positive or negative experience which, as for customers, will greatly affect whether or not they come back. For this reason, business owners need to carefully consider their customer relationship policies and the effect it will have on their business.
Some business put a strong emphasis on maintaining good customer relations; even going so far as to have their employees participate in customer service training and team building programs. When customers and clients have a good experience, it makes them feel valued and, in turn, encourages them to return and continue doing business with that establishment.
There are some major organizations that don’t place customer service as a high priority. They assume that they have a large enough customer base that a few disgruntled customers won’t make a difference. However, over time, if a company gets a reputation for poor customer service it can have lasting effects.
If customers don’t feel that their needs are being met or their business appreciated, they will quickly find a place that does. Without customers, businesses would cease to exist. Providing good customer service is a way to thank your customers for keeping doors open and your business running.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is the system that many businesses use to handle their customer interactions. This system helps to build customer loyalty as well as reduce costs and improve quality levels. It is integrated throughout the organization as a central depositary for customer related interactions and data. Therefore departments throughout the organization including sales, customer service and marketing all have access to the most current and relevant information.
CRM has resulted in a customer centric outlook for businesses that embrace it. It takes into account the people, the processes and the technology relating to customer interactions. Everything is aimed at improving the customer experience and strengthening relationships with them.
It benefits the business by improving sales and marketing by streamlining lead targeting and management as well as identifying cross selling and up selling opportunities. Therefore profits increase and costs are reduced as more customers are retained.
Some organizations struggle with the implementation of CRM when they do not get complete employee buy in. This is where its important to observe business processes with a view to optimizing them – perhaps by integrating the technology – often CRM software. The integration of CRM can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year. And the costs can range from a relatively small amount i.e. a few hundred up to a million dollars or more. Obviously the size of the organization plays a major role in the cost of implementing a CRM.