What does CRM mean anyway? Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is essentially a system that enables businesses to manage data and information pertaining to clients. The aim is to increase sales and offer clients a better service and this goal is achieved by storing information, accounts, leads, and sales opportunities in a central database so that it is easily accessible by all members of the company, especially sales and customer service reps.
But isn’t CRM only available for the use of large firms? Not at all. Not only can small firms afford CRM solutions, but they can also easily integrate them with their existing operations (customer service, sales, and marketing) too. Once customer relationships start to improve, you will automatically generate a greater ROI in the process.
If your small business is ready to take on CRM, read on to find out which tools are the best bet for your business.
Most customers prefer email over any other form of permission-based communication. CRM fits in your email marketing efforts by helping you keep track of past customers who haven’t purchased from you for a long time. In the absence of a CRM system, it has often been seen that potential customers decide to take their business elsewhere, simply because the company did not follow up.
SMS is without a doubt an interactive and immediate communication channel for marketing. SMS messages are most effective when targeted and personalized using data, and this is where CRM comes into play. By analyzing customer information, you will be able to develop unique customer profiles and personalized messages that will in turn spawn two-way dialogue and a consistent customer experience.
For many small businesses, call centers are their primary point-of-contact with customers. Call center reps have the responsibility of educating clients, nurturing leads, and solving problems. By giving them easy access to all necessary client information, CRM will help the reps perform these duties more efficiently, thereby increasing customer satisfaction. For many businesses, this is their USP (Unique selling Point), without which they may be forced to close shop.
Customer Help Desks
Like a call center, customer help desks provide support to clients. This can be improved with CRM systems that offer features like:
- Auto-recognition of customer name and company
- Automatic replies to customers
- Defining custom email for message re-directs
- Creating templates for FAQ
Innovative CRM Solutions
Along with the traditional CRM tools listed above, small businesses can also use some creative options like:
CRM Integrated with Accounting Software
Bringing your accounting software into the customer service department offers the following benefits:
- You can easily avoid duplication of data
- You can centralize all your data at a common point
- All data will be displayed both numerically and graphically
CRM Integrated with Cloud
More and more CRM features are being hosted on the cloud, offering tremendous opportunities for small businesses. This offers lower costs, greater flexibility and you can also avoid administrative responsibility of maintaining and hosting in-house infrastructure. And then there is also the opportunity to opt for a hybrid model where you only use the applications of the public cloud service while customer information is stored in a data center
Going Back to the Roots
When all is said and done, it is your customer base that keeps your business alive. Failing to cater to their needs efficiently and consistently increases the chances of your brand fading away, especially if you are a start-up. If you plan on staying in business for the long haul, CRM solutions are a critical investment to make.
Nick Robson is an SEO expert and presently works as a consultant helping out those who need his assistance. He loves writing and combines this passion of his with his knowledge of SEO.