There are many types of relationships. Personal, Prospects, Customers and Suppliers for example. These are all valid and valuable relationships.
Today with the rise of social networking everybody has many ways of being contacted, and many forums on which to air their views, make statements and and ask questions. In addition they have many ways of contacting you, and of talking about you. To keep track of this continuous flow of information, you need some form of:
CRM is generally understood to mean Customer Relationship Management. Personally I believe this is inaccurate and potentially misleading. The whole CRM concept revolves around relationships with individuals and companies, many of whom are not your customers.
Focusing on customers only would be very short sighted indeed, and successful businesses need to focus on all of their contacts and the relationships they share with them.
CRM is designed to bring together information from various disparate sources into one central repository of real-time accurate contact information.
This empowers employees to make informed decisions when interacting with the outside world.
These informed decisions are necessary for CRM to fulfill it’s brief of reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Having said that CRM is not just about customers, they are however one of our most important assets and should be looked after appropriately.
The fact is that CRM should be responsible for increasing your bottom line. In business every single decision boils down to that one simple question: Does this make us more profitable ? Anything that does not directly or indirectly answer yes to that question is not worth considering, at least from a purely business point of view.
CRM does not have to be implemented and used throughout the whole company. It is perfectly feasible for a single department to use CRM to help them with their particular function, as long as it is realised that CRM cannot fulfill it’s design criteria of being a central repository of contact information unless it is installed company wide. That being understood and accepted, by all means install it in a department, the benefits you get will almost certainly be better than what you had before.
Many papers on CRM will tell you that everyone from the CEO to the Janitor should have CRM installed. When you are a multi-million dollar company who’s revenue stream depends almost completely on installed licenses then it’s understandable that you will sell CRM as a huge enterprise wide undertaking. I am not disagreeing with the theory but in practice CRM can and perhaps should be implemented in phases.
What better way than implementing one department at a time ?
CRM is often installed as part of an initiative to ‘Increase Customer Service’ or ‘Serve Customers Better’ or some such grand statement. Introducing CRM in such a way can fog the issues and cause potential problems with a successful installation.
As I mentioned earlier, in business every single decision boils down to that one simple question: Does this make us more profitable ? So we can rewrite the previous initiative statements as:
‘Keep the customers happier because then they will buy again and also recommend us to their friends, so making us more profitable and successful, the customer more satisfied and therefore everyone wins.’
This statement has a number of advantages, the first being that it is 100% true. The second is that it is refreshingly believable. The third is that it cannot easily be misconstrued or interpreted incorrectly.
So, what has this got to do with CRM. Everything. Keeping this statement in mind throughout the CRM selection and installation process will lead to higher satisfaction and a greater return on investment, the reason being that CRM is a tool and a technology to help you make that statement happen, and then to keep it happening.
Once that is understood there is clarity in your goals and you are halfway towards being prepared for a successful CRM installation.
Where next ? www.contaxcrm.com
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