It is always important to find ways that are effective in maintaining good relationship with our existing customers. Also, at the other end we need focus on attracting new potential customers to help business grow continuously. If you agree, then it’s time to think about to implement Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
It becomes difficult to have frequent communication with the customers we earlier worked with once the business starts growing. Customers usually expect to get the same kind of customer service they have received earlier even after a sale/project. Consider to respond effectively to their requirements, focus on their demands and act fast on their feedback.
So, how can a CRM system help us retain our customers?
You must be wondering on how can a software solution help you to tackle customer attrition. It must be noted that the software is just a part of the entire game. It is an enabler which helps you on the following aspects. The real impact comes when apart from the following you also instill the customer orientation among your staff.
- Having a centralized place for customer’s information, this helps in a better understanding of their specific needs.
- Having an e-mail management will automatically record all messages & communication held with that particular customer.
- Customer’s account history can be easily accessed when the customer calls in for next time. This will help the salesperson to review customer’s history before going into a meeting with him.
- Send personalized emails to customers by categorizing them country wise, business wise, groups, etc.,
- Create compelling marketing campaign to attract the existing and new customers.
So where to start
If you are a small to medium scale company, you may have budgets for everything. Your software costs also need to be within some range. Hence if you have limitation around this, open source solution makes more sense for your. SugarCRM is one of the open source solution which is enterprise class. This means that you can install the solution for free, however, you might want to customize the same to suit your business requirement.
Apart from the cost factor, there are other reasons why it is one of the most downloaded applications in the world. Foremost reason is that has no hidden charge or limitations and hence it can be used by anyone and tweaked as per individual requirement. Moreover, it has a studio which makes the development by simple drag and drop possible. It can be installed on any operating system. Lastly it is very simple to use. Anyone who has surfed the internet can go in from day one and start using the application.
Once you have the solution ready you may want to capture all the customer information into the application. This could mean a excel import or manual entry. In most cases you would have the customer data, hence it is very easy to get this information into the system.
Advanced Implementation – Way forward
After you have you implemented the above step, it may be a good thing to see how it can be made more meaningful. This can be done by having automation and integration done. Automation is the process where manual steps can be done by the application instead of humans. This makes your business efficient without having to invest more effort.
An example of this is to send automate alerts to the support team on outstanding support requests from the customers pending more than 3 days.
Another example is to send alert to the approver on creation of an opportunity of an amount greater than $100,000 and also an alert to the CEO on creation of an opportunity greater than $ 1 million.
While the former is an example of schedule based alert, the latter is an event based automation. A combination of both makes the entire system efficient and customer oriented.
Integration with other application
You may have other application for accounting or ERP. Or at least you may have a website which you may want to have a real time integration with the CRM. New inquiries for example, must for example, translate into a lead or an opportunity and must be followed up. These kind of integration ensures that information can flow to each other and make your business cycle shorter and effective without investing any manpower.