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What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Do you have a customer relationship management strategy? You have hundreds, even thousands of customers, but it’s possible to build customer relationships all the same. Apart from offering them great products, you want your service to reflect a personalised and efficient customer experience

That means using data to get to know your customers and optimising every point of contact so that you leave each customer feeling valued. If you are able to achieve this, your customers feel nurtured and develop a bond of loyalty that your competitors will struggle to overcome – even when they offer lower prices. 

That’s the goal you’re striving for when you practise customer relationship management. But besides building loyalty, what are its benefits, and what do you need to do to manage customer relationships? Let’s look at that next.

Benefits of Customer Relationship Management

Since you can’t hope to remember everything there is to know about hundreds of customers, your relationships are based on access to data. With the right software at their disposal, your customer service agents can provide better service by having access to information on past transactions and interactions. 

The same data helps you to understand your customers much better. What do they like? What causes them to reach out for help and support? What can you do to maximise their satisfaction and minimise frustration? By using your customer records to improve customer experiences, you not only promote customer loyalty and repeat purchases but may even boost first-time conversions. 

Customer Relationship Management Software

Customer records and analytics form the foundation of your customer relationship management strategy. Apart from helping your customer service agents to understand where each customer they interact with is on their journey with your company, they consolidate records, helping you to see the big picture. You can identify trends, spot common problems, and direct your focus to the things that matter most to your business and its customers. But there’s more.

Advanced CRM systems can automate some marketing and selling tasks, manage and track workflows, and they can even use geolocation technology to identify location-based sales prospects. Hoping to boost your outbound sales? CRM software will help your agents to identify leads who are close to conversion. Hoping to profile your best customers so that you can create more effective marketing campaigns? Once again, CRM software can help. Apart from this AI technology can process vast data sets, helping you to predict what your customers are likely to do next.

Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle lead the CRM software market, but there are many other providers that offer popular CRM software packages. Cloud-based CRM is the most frequently-chosen option since it allows for easy remote access. However, companies with particularly complex CRM needs sometimes prefer to use on-premises CRM software.

Evolution of Customer Relationship Management

Today, customer relationship management is a high-tech field, but although the terminology and technologies are relatively new, it wasn’t always that way. Businesspeople have always recognised the importance of building good relationships with their customers. Think of the good old-fashioned high street store where everyone knows your name and the sales assistants know exactly which products are most likely to interest you. 

But as businesses grew larger, people began to realise how valuable record-keeping could be. Enter the filing cabinet, the Rolodex and other ways of organising hard copy information for easy access. As technology progressed, data moved to mainframe computers followed by database marketing and contact management software. 

By the 1990s, salesforce automation had become a trend, and by the mid-nineties, the “CRM” acronym started to crop up everywhere. With sales forces on the move and needing data on the go, mobile CRM was the next innovation to gain popularity and the first cloud-based CRM systems began to appear around the turn of the century. 

Today, the focus is on improving customer experiences through CRM, offering personalised experiences. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is built into CRM and helps us to analyse data better, gaining fresh insights, predicting buyer behaviour, and helping us to take even better care of our customers. 

Will CRM Systems and AI Eliminate the Human Touch?

While all these technological advances in CRM help us to improve customer experiences, and even automate basic interactions, the personal touch is still an essential component in building strong customer relationships. Simply put, there are some things that software, no matter how advanced, still can’t do – and may never be able to.

To truly connect with people, empathy and strong interpersonal skills remain essential. For example, it’s not always what customers say but how they say it that conveys their feelings. There are still times when customers need and want the personal touch, the pleasant person on the other end of a phone line, or the well-considered email. 

CRM software makes customer relationship management easier, but it still takes human creativity and the ability to change mental gears quickly to put it to work effectively. A CRM dashboard can give you insights, but nothing beats the nuanced approach and observations that only a human being can offer. 

In short, no matter how good your CRM software and strategy are, and no matter how good your intentions are, having the right people on hand to follow through will always be important. Where will you find the master communicators you need for this crucially important task?

RSVP, a London-based, multilingual omnichannel call centre, has the people you’re looking for. Our team represents your brand and implements your CRM strategies, building relationships on your behalf and communicating customer experience insights that will benefit your business. 

Take your customer relationship management strategy to the next level with RSVP’s outsourced customer service and support: we have the tools, the people, and we’re dedicated to our core business: serving your clients. Begin by seeing how we serve you. Get in touch. Let’s chat about your business, your customers, and your vision. Excellence in communication begins here.

 

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