Securing Customer Loyalty through CRM
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.