What is CRM (Customer Relationship Management)?

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a strategy for managing an organisation’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. A Customer Relationship Management system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability. It’s about investing time in your current customer base with the aim of retaining their custom and increasing their spend. The CRM system helps automate this by keeping a record of every communication you have with the customer. You can record what they’ve purchased and when, and set tasks to contact them every few weeks or months. This allows you to anticipate when they might want to buy again or if they need anything extra. If like Really Simple Systems CRM you have an integrated email marketing system, you can also mail about offers and new products that might be relevant.

What does CRM or Customer Relationship Management Software do?
Customer Relationship Management software records customer contact information such as email, telephone, website social media profile, and more. It can also automatically pull in other information, such as recent news about the company’s activity, and it can store details such as a client’s personal preferences on communications.
The CRM OR Customer Relationship Management system organizes this information to give you a complete record of individuals and companies, so you can better understand your relationship over time.
CRM software improves customer relationship management by creating a 360° view of the customer, capturing their interactions with the business, and by surfacing the information needed to have better conversations with customers.

How to implement CRM or Customer Relationship Management:-
The implementation of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is best treated as a six-stage process, moving from collecting information about your customers and processing it to using that information to improve your marketing and the customer experience.
Stage 1 – Collecting information
The priority should be to capture the information you need to identify your customers and categories their behavior. Those businesses with a website and online customer service have an advantage as customers can enter and maintain their own details when they buy.
Stage 2 – Storing information
The most effective way to store and manage your customer information is in a relational database – a centralized customer database that will allow you to run all your systems from the same source, ensuring that everyone uses up-to-date information.
Stage 3 – Accessing information
With information collected and stored centrally, the next stage is to make this information available to staff in the most useful format.
Stage 4 – Analyzing customer behavior
Using data mining tools in spreadsheet programs, which analyse data to identify patterns or relationships, you can begin to profile customers and develop sales strategies.
Stage 5 – Marketing more effectively
Many businesses find that a small percentage of their customers generate a high percentage of their profits. Using CRM to gain a better understanding of your customers’ needs, desires and self-perception, you can reward and target your most valuable customers.
Stage 6 – Enhancing the customer experience
Just as a small group of customers are the most profitable, a small number of complaining customers often take up a disproportionate amount of staff time. If their problems can be identified and resolved quickly, your staff will have more time for other customers.

Types Of CRM OR Customer Relationship Management:-
There are many different types of Customer Relationship Management. However, most CRM software primarily focuses on one major category below.
• Operational. Operational Customer Relationship Management usually has to do with one of the three types of operations: marketing, sales and service. Operational CRM is an important tool for lead generation because it frequently deals with past customer data such as previous marketing campaigns, purchases and service satisfaction. Customer Relationship Management software also aims to automate these processes to create a better experience for both the businesses and their customers. Because of its concentration on efficiency, operational Customer Relationship Management is a great fit for companies with a shorter sales cycle and high repeat sales like e-commerce or business to consumer retail verticals.
• Analytical. The main function of analytical Customer Relationship Management is to analyze customer data so that management can better understand market trends and customers’ wants and needs. The goal of analytical Customer Relationship Management is to improve customer satisfaction. Analytical CRM frequently uses data mining and pattern recognition to accomplish this task — it works well for companies in higher priced markets with a lot of competition.
• Collaborative. Customer Relationship Management is when companies share customers’ information with outside companies and businesses. By pooling their data, certain businesses are able to create an even greater experience for their customers by obtaining data which they otherwise would not have had access. It’s an excellent fit for markets where innovation and new product development is paramount to success because the additional data creates very detailed pictures of what consumers are currently responding to.

Advantages of using Customer Relationship Management:-
1.It helps manage all of your customer data in one place and allows workers to be more productive and efficient by tracking customers history and adding reminders for the sales calls and meetings.
2.It helps to manage your growing database and speeds up the growth process.
3.It helps centralize data. The process becomes automated such as sending auto emails and SMS to customers.
4.It builds long-lasting relationships with customers, through small but meaningful functions, such as sending them birthday wishes.
5.Determine how and where to make improvements in your business. For example, you can evaluate your business strategy integration with other Customer Relationship Management services and third-party apps.

Disadvantages of using Customer Relationship Management:-
1.The transition from manual to automatic processes is always one of the major obstacles which you could face while implementing Customer Relationship Management.
2.The psychology of being tracked; with the implementation of CRM software even the team will have concerns about the possibility of being hacked. However, with the right training and guidance, it can be rectified.
3.A slowdown in processes. Yes, once you bring in a tool it is going to slow down your processes a little. Think about it, you now have to record all the discussion you had with a client on phone or you have to take notes on the client. Of course, it is going to slow you down in short-term but the long-term benefits outperform the disadvantage.