Customers are the foundation of any successful business, and managing relationships with them is an essential task that every project must pay attention to and focus on. Currently, this task is carried out by tools specialized in customer relationship management (CRM), but the question remains: How do you manage your relationships with customers successfully using these tools?
table of contents:
- What is meant by customer relationship management?
- The importance of customer relationship management
- Customer relationship management strategies
- What is CRM?
- The importance of customer relationship management systems
- Components of a customer relationship management system
- Types of customer relationship management systems
- How do you achieve the maximum effectiveness of customer relationship management programs?
What is meant by customer relationship management?
The concept of customer relationship management refers to the methods companies use to interact with their customers to improve their experience, and to provide them with support and assistance at every step. CRM starts from the first moment they interact with a brand, and extends even after they complete their purchase.
Relationships with customers are one of the basic parts of the corporate business model, and customer relationship management work is divided into three main stages:
- Getting the customer stage: Attracting the customer and persuading him to buy.
- The stage of keeping the customer Keep: keeping the customer and his return to buy from the company again.
- Growth stage through the client Grow: relying on the client as a source of growth, and obtaining new clients.
What is the importance of customer relationship management?
Customer relationship management is useful in ensuring their continuous satisfaction with your project, which achieves various marketing goals for you. The importance of customer relationship management is represented in the following points:
1. Increase customer retention
Customer relationship management increases their retention rate, as the customer knows that you can always provide him with a solution when he encounters any problem, and is more willing to overlook potential errors, but rather gives you the opportunity to fix the situation and be patient with any mistakes because he trusts that you will provide the appropriate solution for him.
While dissatisfied customers do not return to buy again from the company, and this means the loss of these customers forever, with the possibility of their participation in the negative experience, which may cause more harm. Whereas through CRM, you will reach out to them and talk to them about their problems, provide them with appropriate support and maintain their presence.
2. Gain customer loyalty
When customers buy from you, and they get a positive experience every time, or if they encounter a problem and you provide them with the required support, all of this leads to gaining customer loyalty. In fact, often part of their preference to buy from you is knowing they will get the right support if they run into a problem.
Customer loyalty is an important resource for your company. First, it gives you an edge over competitors, with customers always ready to buy from you. Secondly, these customers play the role of a marketer for you, and advise their friends to buy from you, that is, their presence gives you the opportunity to obtain more revenue through word of mouth marketing .
3. Get honest reviews from customers
Successful management of customer relations leads to gaining their trust and opening the way for effective communication with them. In this case, you ensure that you get honest reviews of your work from them, and share with them the things they like and the things they would like to change. Through these posts, you will develop your performance in a way that suits the needs and aspirations of customers.
Customer relationship management strategies
Relationships with customers are managed with different methodologies and strategies, and the combination of these strategies leads to ensuring the management of customer relations with the required effectiveness. Among the most important of these strategies:
- Investing in customer service: Customer service is the first line of defense for your company, and through it you either provide your customers with the appropriate support that makes them satisfied with you, or be the cause of their anger or exacerbate the size of the problem they face. So, take care of providing professional customer service to your clients.
- Easy to reach: Make it easy for your customers to reach you. Be present on the platforms they use, as well as provide them with the appropriate channels to communicate with you, submit complaints and suggestions, and follow them up, ensuring that they actually turn to you when needed.
- Showing appreciation to your customers: Make sure to always appreciate your customers, by providing them with appropriate compensation when there is a problem, and offering them offers and gifts whenever the opportunity arises, as this creates a positive relationship with them.
- Training of employees in the company: Provide the employees in your company with the necessary training in the various departments that involve dealings with customers, and make sure that they understand the importance of creating a positive customer experience at all times.
- Using the appropriate software: There are many software that facilitate the management of relationships with customers, and help you to carry out various tasks related to them. So, use this software as a basic strategy in customer relationship management.
What is CRM?
CRM software is a technical system used to carry out customer relationship management tasks, as these tasks are often performed by specialized software that takes responsibility for everything related to customer relationship management. There are many software that you can choose from according to your need.
What is the importance of customer relationship management systems?
The benefits of using a customer relationship management system are numerous, and companies achieve many goals through it. The importance of customer relationship management systems can be represented in the following points:
1. Improve work management
Customer relationship management systems improve the way work is managed, as it adds various automation options in carrying out many tasks, which makes your team more focused on important responsibilities, and reduces the time wasted on traditional tasks that are repetitive and waste the team’s effort.
Customer relationship management systems also create integration between the different teams in the company, and facilitate communication between internal departments, so that each department takes its decisions in a correct and quick manner, without wasting time trying to access data from other departments.
2. Increase sales
Customer relationship management systems play a fundamental role in increasing sales within the company, through which many sales-related tasks can be carried out, the most important of which are the following:
- Designing the appropriate customer journey , and tracking the customer at various stages.
- Categorizing customers and facilitating communication with them on a common basis, with the aim of encouraging them to make purchasing decisions.
- Providing support to the customer during the trip, in a way that facilitates and speeds up his decision-making.
- Forecasting sales and identifying opportunities to seize them in order to benefit the company in improving its sales.
3. Increase customer lifetime value
Customer relationship management systems increase the effectiveness of communication with the customer, through which it is possible to easily know all the customer’s data, details of his previous communications and transactions with the company, that is, having a complete understanding of the customer’s situation with the company, and an awareness of his exact needs.
This can be used to maintain the customer and sell more products to him, for example by designing special offers for him that encourage him to buy again, or to communicate with him when new products are available that are similar to his previous purchases. This results in an increase in the customer’s lifetime value , as a result of them continuing to buy from you for extended periods.
4. Make decisions based on data
One of the most important benefits of CRM systems is that they allow you to access data, and some even provide you with comprehensive reports on your customers, sales, workflow, and other tasks. This helps you make the right decisions based on real data, ensuring the effectiveness of these decisions and their suitability for your company’s situation and what suits your customers.
Components of a customer relationship management system
There are many components of a customer relationship management system, and it depends mainly on the nature of the software sold by organizations specializing in this field. It is important to evaluate a CRM system well before using it, to ensure that it offers you the CRM features that you are looking for. Among the most important components of a customer relationship management system that you should look for and choose from:
1. Workflow automation
One of the advantages of CRM software is automation, and workflow automation comes to the fore. So, a necessary component of the CRM software you’ll use is to let you automate tasks, so you can really focus on the more important responsibilities that require your direct involvement.
Workflow automation is based on performing specific actions based on the inputs you add to the program. For example, when a customer fills out the contact form on your site, the CRM software automatically routes the message to the sales team or its designated department.
Another example is when you communicate with a customer with a specific message, if he does not respond or interact with the message within a predetermined period of time, the program can send another message to follow up with him. You can add the actions you want depending on the CRM software you are using, and the processes you want to automate.
2. Sales funnel management
CRM systems are used to improve sales, so sales pipeline management is an important and indispensable component of the system you will use. There are several tasks involved in managing the sales pipeline as follows:
- Potential Customer Management: Tracking potential customers, knowing their details, and evaluating where the negotiation process has reached with them, which contributes to the successful completion of deals.
- Sales Automation: The sales process has many details, so as an extension of workflow automation, you can automate the sales process and its steps.
- Sales forecasting: By managing the sales path and analyzing its data, it is possible to predict future sales and direct marketing efforts towards achieving these expectations.
The needs of every business are different, so the need for an opportunity for customization in the use of CRM software increases. Therefore, this is one of the important components that must be looked for in the system before choosing it. Personalization takes many forms, including:
- Allowing you from the beginning to choose the features that you want in the program, and to design the subscription plan according to these features.
- The ability to customize the program from within when using it, such as choosing the data you want to appear, or modifying the program to suit your brand.
- Using external add-ons or plug-ins that increase the capabilities of the program.
There are some CRM programs that allow you advanced options for customization using the API . This allows you to fully customize the software to suit you, by having specialized developers who can do this task as per your need.
You can obtain the services of vendors specializing in customer relationship management programs from Souq.com, the largest Arab market for microservices, to customize the program as you wish, so that you get the maximum benefit from it, and add to it the other features that you want.
4. Third-party integration
Integration between software and applications is an important step to save a lot of time, as you can combine the different solutions you use, and keep track of everything in one place. Therefore, an important component of a CRM system is its availability for third party integration.
You can benefit from this step depending on the nature of the integration you make, for example by integrating the customer relationship management system with e-mail, you can run the system directly through your mail and communicate with customers, without having to switch between applications.
5. Customer Service Department
CRM software is used in managing customer service, as it is an important strategy for managing customer relations, by providing them with appropriate support. Therefore, one of the most important components of the customer relationship management program is its availability to carry out customer service tasks from within the program, such as direct chat with customers, knowledge bases that provide answers to the most common questions, and other tasks.
6. Contact management
A lot of customer-related data is added to customer relationship management programs, and it is essential that the program allows you to easily access this information and modify it as needed. This should include everything about customers and their data such as: name, email address, phone number, previous contact details, and other important details.
7. Data analysis and reporting
An essential component of a CRM software is that it provides both data analysis and reporting. Data-based reports can be used to make correct decisions, such as developing products according to customer needs, improving marketing efforts, investing opportunities to increase sales, and other decisions.
Types of customer relationship management systems
Customer relationship management systems are constantly evolving, to expand and include many types. The types of customer relationship management systems can be divided into two basic classifications:
1. Customer relationship management systems in terms of the system installation mechanism
CRM systems are divided into two types in terms of their installation mechanism:
a. On-premise CRM software
Companies that use this system rely on it being downloaded and installed internally on company hardware, and this often requires investment in on-premises infrastructure. In this type of program, it is not easy to add new features due to the high cost of this process.
In addition, its maintenance and security are the entire responsibility of the company, whether the task will be carried out through a specialized team within the company, or with the help of external experts. The secret that companies rely on this type, despite its cost and challenges, is due to its suitability for institutions that deal with sensitive information, such as health care or financial institutions.
B. Cloud-based CRM software
Companies subscribe to customer relationship management software, and get the service from the provider’s website directly, so you don’t need to add it to the company’s devices internally. That is, the data is stored on the seller’s server, and is affected by any interruption that may occur to it.
These programs are suitable for companies’ budget, regardless of their size, as they are suitable for large and small companies, because they are often used on a monthly or annual basis, depending on the nature of the subscription preferred by the company, as well as according to the usage plans offered by the service provider. The task of maintenance and data security is the responsibility of the service provider.
2. Customer relationship management systems in terms of functions
CRM systems can be divided in terms of the functions they perform, with the possibility that a single CRM software can perform all of these functions, depending on the software vendor.
- Operational CRM Software: Carry out day-to-day operations, such as managing customer service, sales and marketing, and tracking the customer journey.
- Analytical CRM software: Collect and analyze large amounts of customer data, to help companies make informed decisions based on data rather than personal opinions and assumptions.
- Collaborative CRM software: Collaboration between different departments in the company, as well as external stakeholders, such as partners, vendors, and others, with the aim of improving the customer experience .
How do you achieve the maximum effectiveness of customer relationship management programs?
Getting the most out of your CRM software depends on how you use it. So, here are some tips that will help you get maximum benefit from it:
1. Determine your goals for using the CRM system
Several goals can be achieved from the customer relationship management system, and defining them will help you to choose the appropriate system. So, start by setting goals, for example:
- Increase company sales.
- Workflow automation on various tasks.
- Provide professional customer service to your clients.
- Improve customer retention rate.
Of course, you can combine more than one goal, realizing that this may cost you more money, so make sure to choose the priority goals in the first place.
2. Choose the program that best suits your needs
There are many customer relationship management programs, which differ in their components and uses. In the end, you need to use one program that fits your needs if possible, and you don’t want to use many programs at the same time. You can choose the program that suits you according to the following criteria:
- Components or characteristics of the program: Study them well and choose the closest to what you are looking for.
- Subscription cost: Details of program subscription plans and their cost, and which one is closest to your budget.
- Customizability: How much can you customize the program to achieve its maximum potential effectiveness.
3. Train your team to use the software
The details of CRM programs vary, some are simple to use, others are more complex. Whatever the nature of the software you choose, it is important to train your team well in its use, and teach them how to perform tasks with it.
Be sure to include all departments involved in the program in the training, share with them the purpose of using it, and answer any questions they have about it. Thus, at the end of the training, you will ensure that everyone knows the best practices for using the program, and you will get the desired effectiveness.
In conclusion, customer relationship management systems facilitate the implementation of many tasks in your company, and ensure that you obtain professional performance in tasks related to your customers, and provide a distinguished experience for your customers, which makes them return to buy from you constantly, which helps you to increase your revenues and profits.