Customer Relationship Management System
A CRM system is more than a software package to manage a firm’s customer database. Its purpose is to help manage a firm capture customers, retain them, nurture them and serve them as best as possible. This aim is realized through operations classified under different heads, known as CRM Modules.
CRM system modules
- Campaign Planning : planning promotional campaigns as per the firm’s core competencies and the profile of the target customer.
- Campaign Execution: through channels like email marketing, online advertisements, phone marketing, print ads, television ads etc.
- Lead generation and classification: any prospective customer who responds to the firm’s campaign is a lead. He is then questioned and the information received (type of product/service wanted, price range, contact details etc) is analyzed and classified as Hot Lead (genuine prospect) or Cold Lead (false information/bogus interest).
Sales : All sales made are documented in the central database along with information like customer contact details, calls, emails, faxes, sales quotations etc.
Service : It deals with all the services a customer is entitled to as part of the firm’s contract. This includes :
- Warranty management
- Knowledge management (How To, tutorials, User manuals)
- Back end/ after sales support
- Installed Base Support (support for tools installed onsite) etc.
It handles direct interaction with the customers. Emails, phone calls, websites etc. are used for the purpose.
It focuses on analyzing the database towards:
- Analysis of customer behavior patterns
- Emerging trends that may be profitably exploited
- Taking key decisions on developing new marketing strategies for better promotional opportunities etc.
All the information collected builds up an exhaustive customer profile with data ranging from bare essentials like contact nos., to analytical segments like patterns in purchase history, preferences, significant deviations from established patters, shift in trends etc.
Example: Call centers have records of previous purchases made by customers. So every time a profiled customers calls up, his information is available to any executive attending the call, no matter which department he is from. This slashes customer processing time and instead of starting from scratch each time, it sends out a favorable impression of the firm.
The shift in CRM systems implementation
Traditional CRM packages have been tricky into integrate into already existing systems, on account of hardware re-configurations, workforce training and establishment of back-ups.
However, On Demand CRM Systems have gained popularity by virtue of the following advantages :
Hosted, not installed : cuts costs due to lesser ownership of infrastructure on the user’s part, which is hosted by an outside firm, and the elimination of complicated installation procedures on-site.
No hassles of troubleshooting ad upgrades : The organization using the service does not have to bother with any glitches that the system might develop. It is taken care of by the service hosts themselves.
Going live is much faster : Hosted services obviate the need to install CRM systems on-site, thus drastically reducing “go-live” time.
CRM systems have greatly simplified customer handling across many industry sectors. That it enables all arms of an organization to access and analyze detailed information means better understanding of individual roles, and the customers too feel important when being catered to professionally.
In short, it’s a win-win for all involved. With the word spreading, CRM, especially On-Demand CRM will become the definitive tool for customer management in a matter of just a few years.