Introduction to Customer Relationship Manager
- Amruta Bhaskar
- Jul 15, 2021
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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) refers to the technologies, practices, and strategies used by organizations for interacting and managing their current and potential customers. It also involves analyzing customer interactions throughout the customer lifecycle. CRM is focused on enhancing customer service, improving business relationships, profitability, aiding in customer retention and driving sales growth.
CRM collects and consolidates customer data from various channels. The needed information for analysis is extracted from the company's website, live chat, direct mail, telephone, social media platforms, marketing materials and from other sources.
The Customer Relationship Management software complies customer data and reports it into a single CRM database. This information helps key decision-makers in an organization to precisely assimilate and develop business plans based on the findings. Besides that, the information can be easily accessed and analyzed at any given point in time.
In recent times, numerous functionalities have been added to CRM systems. These new additions make CRM more complete and useful. The interactions between a customer and a company may happen through various platforms such as social media, emails, telephone, email, etc. Many organizations understand the dire need for recording those communications and archiving them for future purposes, CRM offers the right platform to record and archive such details. Besides this, it automates various workflow automation processes, such as tasks, calendars, and alerts. This enables the managers to track performance and productivity based on information logged in the system.
Customer Relationship Management comprises of:
- Understanding the needs of the customers
- Executing or delivering the requirement of the customers
- Predicting the future needs of the customers
- Responding customer needs with targeted communications
A successful customer relationship strategy can manage both the business operations and customers interactions simultaneously. It often includes special software applications, called CRM software. It helps organizations in tracking and organizing their existing customer base. The ultimate aim of CRM is to establish a healthy relationship with customers so that they keep coming back- returning customers.
At the most basic level, CRM software consolidates customer information and documents it into a single CRM database so business users can more easily access and manage it.
Over time, many additional functions have been added to CRM systems to make them more useful. Some of these functions include recording various customer interactions over email, phone, social media or other channels; depending on system capabilities, automating various workflow automation processes, such as tasks, calendars and alerts; and giving managers the ability to track performance and productivity based on information logged within the system.
- Marketing automation- CRM tools with marketing automation capabilities can automate repetitive tasks to enhance marketing efforts at different points in the lifecycle for lead generation. For example, as sales prospects come into the system, it might automatically send email marketing content, with the goal of turning a sales, lead into a full-fledged customer.
- Sales force automation- Sales force automation tools track customer interactions and automate certain business functions of the sales cycle that are necessary to follow leads, obtain new customers and build customer loyalty.
- Contact centre automation- Designed to reduce tedious aspects of a contact centre agent's job, contact centre automation might include pre-recorded audio that assists in customer problem-solving and information dissemination. Various software tools that integrate with the agent's desktop tools can handle customer requests in order to cut down on the length of calls and simplify customer service processes. Automated contact centre tools, such as chatbots, can improve customer user experiences.
- Geolocation technology, or location-based services- Some CRM systems include technology that can create geographic marketing campaigns based on customers' physical locations, sometimes integrating with popular location-based GPS (global positioning system) apps. Geolocation technology can also be used as a networking or contact management tool in order to find sales prospects based on a location.
- Workflow automation- CRM systems help businesses optimize processes by streamlining mundane workloads, enabling employees to focus on creative and more high-level tasks.
- Lead management- Sales leads can be tracked through CRM, enabling sales teams to input, track and analyze data for leads in one place.
- Human resource management (HRM)- CRM systems help track employee information, such as contact information, performance reviews and benefits within a company. This enables the HR department to more effectively manage the internal workforce.
- Analytics- Analytics in CRM help create better customer satisfaction rates by analyzing user data and helping create targeted marketing campaigns.
- Artificial intelligence- AI technologies, such as Salesforce Einstein, have been built into CRM platforms to automate repetitive tasks, identify customer-buying patterns to predict future customer behaviours and more.
- Project management- Some CRM systems include features to help users keep track of client project details such as objectives, strategic alignment, processes, risk management and progress.
- Integration with other software- Many CRM systems can integrate with other software, such as call centre and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
For all of the advancements in CRM technology, without the proper management, a CRM system can become little more than a glorified database in which customer information is stored. Data sets need to be connected, distributed and organized so that users can easily access the information they need.
Companies may struggle to achieve a single view of the customer if their data sets are not connected and organized in a single dashboard or interface. Challenges also arise when systems contain duplicate customer data or outdated information. These problems can lead to a decline in customer experience due to long wait times during phone calls, improper handling of technical support cases and other issues.
CRM systems work best when companies spend time cleaning up their existing customer data to eliminate duplicate and incomplete records before they supplement CRM data with external sources of information.