CRM strategies are heavily reliant on technology, therefore, as technology moves forward, so should the effort to construct new ways of understanding customer relationships move in order to keep pace at the top. Data collected provides an empirical analysis of who the customers are, what their preferences are, what motivates them, what their inhibitions and fears are and what influences their choices. The storage of this information in databases provide a scientific way of understanding these influences.
Technologies: the Past, Present, and the Future
The use of technology in gauging previous, current and prospective customers makes it the most crucial element in determining the future of customer relations management. Computer scientists and cyber strategists have made some bold predictions regarding the shape technology will take in the future. 2015 is considered as very pivotal in enhancing automation, interactivity and integration in business. These three are crucial tenets in customer service. Therefore, it is safe to assume that technological developments in businesses will have an effect on the choice of CRM strategies made by companies.
The Top CRM Strategies to Try In 2015
1) Mobile First Design
At the end of 2014, there were 1.75 billion users of smartphones in the world. These users connect with each other, share information, build relationships and establish trends. They talk to each other on social networks like Facebook Twitter and WhatsApp. For a business, these interactions are crucial, as they reveal valuable information relating to customer preferences. This would provide insights into the correct way to handle customers.
In managing relationships with customers, companies need to implement CRM strategies through applications that users can interact directly with through the phone. Figures show that 25% of web users are mobile only. Mobile applications have been downloaded 10.9 billion times globally. Apart from that, 85% of all new handsets have access to the internet.These statistics serve to highlight the increasing need for strategies that inculcate the use of the mobile phone. Google was one of the first companies to go full mobile only in many of its customer relations management platforms. Examples of systems with full mobile functionality include Base and InforCRM.
This is a process that enables companies to tailor their CRM strategies in such a way that individual customers are able to get accurate feedback, depending on data gathered about them. This is a break from the past where businesses just served their clientele according to the needs of the majority. Companies should specifically cater to the needs of individual customers using user submitted data. Personalization can take place in several ways:
Automation and integration
Automation provides a forum through which companies can obtain information from customers without having to ask for it i.e. a company can have a software that receives user information on its website. This data can then be integrated and used in client communications.
Observing the behavior of every particular user on company websites provides insight on possible ways of serving the customer better. This might serve to give the business the ultimate edge over competitors.
People like to feel wanted. They wish to feel like they are a part of the whole. At the same time, they do not want to feel like someone is trying too hard to sell them a pitch.Therefore, the best way, to encourage them, is subtly, by use of pop-ups and non-assuming pitch. Currently, several software systems, which enhance personalization, include Infusionsoft, Hatchback, Bullhorn and Leadmaster.
3) All in One Systems
Companies have always purchased software tools that cover one or two of the functions they need to fulfill. This presents a problem, in the future if a different set of functions is being implemented, a separate software pack is required. This is expensive and inconvenient. A better CRM strategy would be to buy a package that encompasses all the functions. This multifaceted approach enhances integration, as all functions can be run from the same point. For years now, web-based systems like salesforce.com and NetSuite have provided reliable one stop shops for companies looking to implement all-in-one systems.
Benefits of All-in-One Systems
- Companies can track customers from the point of contact to the sales pitch, to the sale itself, through to support
- Everyone in the company is kept in the loop, from management to employees and clients
- With these systems, projects can be created, information is shared, deadlines met, and progress tracked
- Day to day tasks can be automated and integrated.
- All-in-one systems are simple to learn, internalize and operate.
Customers are considered as the most important stakeholders in any business that wishes to prosper. They are also the most delicate as they are said to have unlimited choices and limited patience. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the company to continually work to raise customer experience and fulfill expectations. It is also important that management and employees keep working hard to deflect any negative notions the customers might have gained along the way.
The implementation of a good CRM strategy, as we have seen, wholly depends on finding the correct balance between technology and a personal touch to it. Suitable methods of collecting data, coupled with good personnel, provide the perfect setting for good customer experience. The diversification of the methods of collecting, analyzing and implementing data obtained enables the company to have a multi-faceted outlook on customer relations management.
It is important to note that the software mentioned are each unique in their functionality, and efforts should be made to harness the strengths of each and incorporate them into all-inclusive systems. CRM as a practice is wholly technology driven. This is evidenced by the sheer number of customers using handsets to follow market trends. Technology determines what people choose to buy and what they decide not to take chances with. At the same time, the modern customer tends to be very informed, therefore, expects the highest standard of service. CRM strategies need to harness technology to increase customer involvement in business.
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of CRMSimplified Blog. Michael established the CRM blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to CRM.