Customer relationship management is all about securing customer retention and maximizing the lifetime value of your business relationship with your customers. Companies that put the customer first and provide quality customer service have shown to realize higher retention rates and improved profitability.
Smart businesses are now implementing CRM business software to capture, manage and share information about their customers with departments throughout the organization. The objective is to ensure that everyone who interacts with the customer has access to the information they need to effectively do their jobs.
CRM has now become a strategy for customer retention. CRM systems traditionally enable you to capture information about your customers and improve sales execution by helping you manage the sales cycle. More mature CRM systems now incorporate Customer Service functionality that allow you to maintain a complete history of every customer transaction, including what they purchased, when they purchased, the sales representative they purchased from and notes that describe if the transaction and delivery went smoothly. This information is tied to the account or company record thereby providing all authorized staff with a complete 360 degree view of the customer’s purchase history and buying experience. Having this information immediately available to both sales and customer service personnel is vital to providing high quality service because it enables the staff to react quickly if the customer’s experience was not what they expected. In addition, businesses are beginning to utilize this information to separate high profit customers from low profit ones, analyze re-order history and predict future buying patterns and revenue.
Another strategy that is taking shape with CRM is that of providing customer self service. CRM vendors refer to this as a customer portal. The portal enables customers to update their profile, check the status of an order or simply access a knowledgebase of information that is available anytime and anywhere via an internet connection. For companies that operate globally, the customer self service portal has proven to be an efficient vehicle for providing world-class service while reducing the cost associated with maintaining staff around the clock.
While the traditional role of CRM has been clearly focused on contact management and sales force automation, several CRM vendors are taking CRM to the next level with customer service applications that help businesses put the customer first. One of the CRM providers moving in this direction is Commence Corporation. To learn more about Commence, see www.commence.com.
When people think about CRM software, they often think only about sales and that is understandable because without sales you don’t have a business. But Customer Relationship Management is more than just about sales. It’s about making a commitment to improving how you market, sell and provide service to your customers. Smart companies have moved past the days of contact managers and sales tools that were focused on improving internal communication and operations. They are instead focused on two specific areas, marketing and customer retention.
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Building brand recognition and lead generation at one time required a marketing mix of magazine advertisements, article placements, internet advertising, banner ads, public relations, joining industry specific trade groups, and more. But things have changed and social networking also referred to as viral marketing mixed with search engine optimization, site linking, data mining and bulk e-mail campaigns have become today’s standard for building awareness and attracting new customers. Mature CRM solutions incorporate marketing software programs and tools to automate many of these processes. While many small to mid-size firms seem to overlook this critical component of CRM, it is the one area that can have the greatest impact for getting an edge over your competition.
Leading edge companies are also paying close attention to customer retention. This may be because the cost of attaining new customers is significantly greater than retaining the ones your have. Smart companies are looking to improve the customer’s buying experience and maximize the lifetime value of their business relationships by providing world class customer service before, during and after the sale. Many are using CRM software to ensure that everyone within the organization has immediate access to the customer profile including what they purchased, when they purchased, the sales representative responsible for the sale, how the delivery went and if the customer is pleased with the product and the buying experience. This is the type of personalized service that drives customer loyalty.
If you are looking to move past the traditional contact management and sales forecasting stage for your business, this narrows down the selection of top rated quality CRM products and companies. Commence Corporation has been helping small to mid-size businesses become more effective sales and service organizations. The company’s award winning software provides the foundation for building brand awareness through automated marketing and lead generation programs while improving sales execution and customer service. Experienced professionals offer the guidance, coaching, and CRM Best Practices that ensure that Commence customers realize the maximum value from the CRM software features.
Staying in touch with your customers has never been more important than it is in today’s business environment. The competition for every dollar of revenue has never been this fierce and the more the economy continues to stagger along, the harder it gets. If you want to be able to take care of your customers in an expeditious manner you need customer relationship management software that enables you to capture, track, manage and share vital information with the people and departments that need it to efficiently do their jobs.
The days of thinking you could manage all of your customers using a paper filing system are long gone, and in most cases you have far too many clients to even begin tracking in this archaic fashion. Today there are numerous choices when it comes to finding the right CRM software for your business. For the past few decades the most common solution was desktop based contact management software that was installed on your internal PCs and server. These programs did a good job of tracking basic customer information, but were limited in functionality and scalability. Many were also proprietary solutions that required updates each year in order to take advantage of new features or remain compatible with desktop operating systems. Customers that did not upgrade their software often found themselves in a very difficult and costly position as conversion to current versions of the software were expensive and simply not as easy as they had anticipated.
As with many other platforms, customer relationship management software has begun the move from internal servers to the cloud. This migration to cloud based computing offers several benefits and customers who have switched to an online CRM service are realizing a higher degree of value than they did with previous platforms. Perhaps the biggest benefit is simply the ability to access data anytime and from anywhere via an internet connection. In the past, employees using desktop CRM software often found themselves tethered to their desktop computer with access only to e-mail via their cell phone while away from the office.
The newer hosted CRM services have implemented mobile platform support for use with the latest smart phone or handheld devices. This makes it possible for your staff to access information on the go, providing sales people with the opportunity to immediately follow-up on new inquiries while your support team delights your customers with rapid customer service. Hosted CRM services also provide you with product updates and enhancements that are fully implemented for you and ensure that you remain current with the latest technology advances. This has proven to be an arduous task for IT managers maintaining in-house environments where the updates must be installed on in-house servers and desktop PCs.
Some company IT executives continue to debate the issue of desktop or on premise CRM software vs. online CRM claiming security concerns and runaway costs for hosted services each year, but industry reports indicate that web based CRM solutions are growing at a pace of more than double that of desktop software offerings. Companies are also finding that security concerns have been addressed and that due to the competitive landscape, online or web CRM offerings are now more affordable than ever. This makes the case for hosted CRM quite compelling.
If you are looking for a cost efficient way to improve sales execution and customer service and provide your staff with anytime, anywhere access to vital customer data using a PC, Apple Mac, or Mobile device, you should strongly consider an online CRM solution hosted by a reputable company. If this sounds like the winning formula for you, consider Commence CRM from Commence Corporation. The company has a twenty year track record for delivering comprehensive CRM software applications and high quality customer service.