An Introduction to CRM
The most important asset of a company is its customers. Through the use of CRM, companies can achieve lasting and profitable customer relationships.
Customer Relationship Management, or CRM for short, is a strategic approach for firms to consistently adapt to their customers, their needs and wishes and to provide for them a permanent added value. This goes beyond mere customer satisfaction with products or services, but to forge a relationship that is actively designed for the client and to maintain links to that client consistently..
Active customer relationship management
The position of customers is getting stronger, as the information society means that customers can now make an offer or price comparison for any products in seconds. In addition, the competitive pressure on companies rises through the opening of markets, such as the internet trade. Companies and their products are always replaceable and need to establish the customer about other aspects in double quick time.
For these reasons, the active management of their customer relationships will become increasingly important for companies because with a good product or a good price can indeed win customers, but that does not secure repeat business. Active management ensures that needs and expectations of customers are already identified and met in advance to set yourself apart from the competition and provide customers with a real, sustainable value.
How can CRM help here?
To gain and retain customers, it is necessary to coordinate the activities of marketing, sales and services well together. Marketing must capture the customers and motivate them to order and purchase, and the product must satisfy them.
This requires a strategic focus, with the customer at the centre. This must be consistently associated with an infrastructure that makes this strategy feasible. This infrastructure must available to personnel, such as a contact person for the customer, as well as IT support in the form of a CRM system.
CRM in practice
To manage customer relationships effectively, information about the customer is necessary. This is usually realised by a CRM system – a specific database in which all customer contacts are recorded, so inquiries, orders, complaints and of course the customer master data are filed clearly. A targeted analysis of this information is also availbel, so you can better understand the needs of customers and respond to them, such as mailings, special offers or other measures.
Such a CRM system can be coupled with other systems, such as a project management or ERP system; it is especially critical that the relevant information is available and evaluated quickly.
For whom is CRM worth?
Customer care and a close customer relationship are important for any business, because to develop existing customers is easier than winning new customers. Therefore, CRM is also worthwhile for small businesses, especially since it is often easier to implement in this environment than in a large group.
So CRM, a great opportunity to strengthen the customer relationship for small and medium-sized businesses and also attracts repeat customers for them too.
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