Archive

Posts Tagged ‘customer relationship management’

5 Signs You Need a CRM Solution

February 23rd, 2013

Streamlining business operations through automation is a smart move for businesses of all sizes. Business automation has been proven to produce a number of benefits for all different types of businesses:

– More efficient use of employee time
– Better customer service, satisfaction, and retention
– The need for fewer employees, or the ability to manage more clients/customers
– More office space because automation eliminates the need for paper record keeping
– Eliminates time spent on double data entry
– Eliminates duplicate invoices and payments, as well as late invoice payments
– Decreased marketing costs
– Increased revenues

Business automation is done through a software management system, and CRM software—customer relationship management software—is specifically designed to achieve the above goals by streamlining internal and external communications among a business’s employees and between employees and their customers/clients.

There are a lot of customer relationship management software systems available, and there are also a lot of different types of businesses and business models out there, ranging from sales-force based corporations to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. All types of businesses can benefit from adopting a CRM approach to business, because all businesses rely on customers/clients in order to produce revenues.

With hundreds of different types of CRM software and thousands of different types of businesses out there, how do you match your unique business to the right CRM software package?

The answer: you don’t.

CRM software developers like Productive Computing specialize in creating custom software automation systems—based on the CRM business model of using technology to streamline and improve customer relationships and communications—that are tailored to your business’s individual needs and challenges. And one of the best things about custom-designed software is that it can continue to be modified as your business changes, to best suit its current needs.

How do you know if your business is ready for CRM software and business automation?

There are a number of signs that a business will benefit from adopting the CRM software model as their business management system, but one surefire clue is when your current use of technology is hurting your company more than it’s helping it.

For example, mobile devices can really enhance a business’s internal organization and its communications with clients/customers, but these mobile devices can start to cost a company valuable money in the form of time when they create the need for double data entry because they don’t automatically communicate with the rest of the company’s operating systems.

The answer isn’t to switch your entire office over to Mac OS so your iPads automatically update shared computer applications back at the office. A more practical and feasible answer is to install software that uses a customizable automation system like FileMaker Pro to streamline all operating systems and applications into one system that’s customized specifically to your business and operations.

If your business is experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms, your operations will benefit from adopting a CRM business software solution.

Your employees are spending time on double data entry, or you are wasting time trying to find information located in multiple applications such as Word, Excel, Outlook, iCal, or QuickBooks.

Using a custom designed CRM software solution means that all computer and device applications, regardless of the operating system they’re running on, filter into a single user-friendly interface with streamlined communication that’s easy for both technology-savvy and technology-challenged employees to use.

Your current software management system is difficult to use, confusing to new employees, and/or has multiple features that you never use, possibly because you don’t understand how to use them.

A system that isn’t user-friendly is costing your business money in the form of wasted time. A system with features you don’t use, regardless of whether you understand how to use them or not, isn’t right for your business because it’s not tailored to its unique needs.

Your current CRM software solution isn’t meeting your company’s needs.

If your current management software isn’t streamlining your business the way you hoped it would, you need a customized solution. A CRM software developer can often modify and customize your existing system so your company doesn’t have to start over with a whole new management system.

Your current automation system, CRM or otherwise, can’t be modified to fit changes within your company, or the software is outdated and no longer supported by the developer.

One-size-fits-all business management software solutions aren’t really solutions at all. A custom-designed software and database system always works for your company because it can be modified when it’s no longer getting the job done to its fullest potential.

Your business isn’t operating on an automated system.

Automating your business management system, company operations, and customer/client communications saves time, helps employees function at a higher capacity, and improves client/customer relations, satisfaction, and retention, all of which lead to increased sales and higher revenues.

Benefits of Customer Relationship Management for Your Business

February 2nd, 2013

The changing face of the global economy has forced numerous businesses to change their strategies to keep their heads above water, and one of the predominantly successful business strategies involves customer relationship management.

As you can imagine from the name, customer relationship management handles everything that deals with the customer: knowledge, satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. While most companies start with the selling item—the product or service—and acquire customers from there, customer relationship management starts with the customer and customizes the workflow and marketing to the needs of each individual customer. Starting with the customer often means collecting large amounts of data on each client and analyzing that data to better accommodate your customer’s needs and expectations.

Customer relationship management is much more than a strategy; it is a state of mind, an ideology— if implemented properly, it could help your brand achieve all of its personal and financial goals. How does a CRM strategy benefit your business?

Improved Customer Service

The system starts with maintaining a database of customer profiles that includes basic information along with purchasing habits—what the customer buys, how frequently, whether items were regular price or on sale, for example.

The database gives each employee abundant information to assist and cater to each customer’s specific needs. Customer service representatives can quickly and easily adapt their approaches. With the proper organization and experience, you may even be able to anticipate and predict a customer’s needs and provide support before the customer even asks for it.

Reduced Costs

When you implement an effective, customized CRM program in your business strategy, the chain-reaction efficiency saves you money in several ways: a shorter sales cycle, more streamlined lead acquiring process, higher sales closure rate, and expedited campaign execution. All of this leads to money (and time) saved.

From a customer service perspective, CRM software saves significant time and money. As an example, a customer service call at a call center takes anywhere from a few minutes to an hour (roughly) of time, along with resources, meaning money spent. When a customer can find all the personalized help they need with your CRM software, they get their problem solved quickly and easily, and you can put those employees into more profitable positions.

More Customers through Tailored Marketing

Analysis of demographics allows you to break down the customers you have into three main levels:

  • Brand customers: Customers who have purchased from you only once but can potentially become regular clients. Discounts and special promotions can help bring them into that loyal customer fold.
  • Lapsed customers: The customers who have purchased from you several times before but haven’t recently. This is where knowing your customers and keeping a database come in handy. You can get lapsed customers buying again by making similar offers that got them initially buying your goods or services.
  • Loyal customers: These guys don’t need any convincing or coaxing. They’ve bought from you in the past and continue to do so now. They purchase at regular price. For your loyal customers, it’s all about the overall customer experience and providing them with certain special services, like direct lines to customer service personnel or making them affiliates to your business. Let them know about new products and services through exclusive email newsletters. You can also implement loyalty programs to further retain loyal customers.

Simplified Marketing and Sales

Through customer relationship management systems, you can create more effective communication channels. Websites and applications for handheld devices streamline business deals for sales representatives and the company as a whole.

CRM gives customers several options to choose exactly how they would like to be approached or contacted. You can identify individuals that have the greatest potential for future sales instead of administering mass market approaches. You save money by not using up resources on individuals who you know won’t become regular customers.

Better In-House Communication and Coordination

Under the CRM system, marketing, sales, and customer service share the same platform. Your team isn’t separated by functionality or access to data. Everyone is on even footing, allowing departments to function cohesively and communicate without any barriers. They have everything they need to work as a single, productive unit.