The better a business can manage the relationships it has with its customers the more successful it will become. Therefore IT systems that specifically address the problems of dealing with customers on a day-to-day basis are growing in popularity.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is not just the application of technology but is a strategy to learn more about customers' needs and behaviors in order to develop stronger relationships with them. As such it is more of a business philosophy than a technical solution to assist in dealing with customers effectively and efficiently.
Nevertheless, successful CRM relies on the use of technology. This guide outlines the business benefits and the potential drawbacks of implementing CRM. It also offers help on the types of solutions you could choose and how to implement them.
Business benefits of CRM Implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) solution might involve considerable time and expense. However, there are many potential benefits. A major benefit can be the development of better relations with your existing customers, which can lead to:
- Increased sales through better timing due to anticipating needs based on historic trends identifying needs more effectively by understanding specific customer requirements
- Cross-selling of other products by highlighting and suggesting alternatives or enhancements identifying which of your customers are profitable and which are not.
This can lead to better marketing of your products or services by focusing on: effective targeted marketing communications aimed specifically at customer needs a more personal approach and the development of new or improved products and services in order to win more business in the future. Ultimately this could lead to:
Enhanced customer satisfaction and retention, ensuring that your good reputation in the marketplace continues to grow Increased value from your existing customers and reduced cost associated with supporting and servicing them, increasing your overall efficiency and reducing total cost of sales Improved profitability by focusing on the most profitable customers and dealing with the unprofitable in more cost-effective ways.
Once your business starts to look after its existing customers effectively, efforts can be concentrated on finding new customers and expanding your market. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to identify new prospects and increase your customer base.