Understanding the basics of CRM and its benefits


This article is a beginners guide to the world of CRM with real-life examples and case studies. In this article, I have explained what CRM is and its benefits which will help the reader to understand CRM from a very basic level.

Introduction

Whether you are running a business or not, whether you are dealing with customers or not one thing you might have already known is that customer is the King and they do have the power to build you and pull you down. So maintaining relationships with your customer is as important as keeping an eagle's eye on your profit and loss sheet.

Let me quote an example from real-time, just a few days back we went to a shop to buy a phone, when we got in, the shopkeeper was busy playing with his own mobile phone. We stood there for few minutes hoping that he would look up. After few minutes, we again asked him about the mobile, he looked up at our faces with such a look as if we were asking him for his kidney, he replied rudely that there is no stock here, since, it was our need we mustered up the courage again and asked that when will the stock come, he barely looks at us and says it may or may not come.

We both came out of the shop and knew that we would never get into that shop again. But we went to another shop where the shopkeeper replied in a very kind manner, that right now we don't have the stock, we will get it by Monday, you can come to collect it by then.

So now you know where we would have gone to collect it later on. This is a very small example to show how to maintain the relationship with your customer when they would come to purchase a product.
The best advertisement of a product is by spreading it by word of mouth, it reaches out to people very quickly. When you provide better service to your customers, they may or may not spread the word but if anything goes wrong it is sure to spread like fire among the people.

So now we know that we need to maintain a very good relationship with the customer, but how do we maintain that in big and small scale industry , that is what CRM is all about. CRM means Customer Relationship Management, there are many CRM tools available in the market each customized according to the business needs.

Understanding CRM

Before understanding CRM, let's go through below scenarios,
  1. You went to buy a shirt from a shop, while buying the shopkeeper says that "Sir, we have one offer for you, next time when you will visit our shop we will give you 50% discount on any of the product that you buy, the customer is very happy to hear that. After few days, he visits the same shop again and buys a very expensive thing which he thought he would get for half the price but when he goes to the counter, it was some other person sitting at the counter who refuses to believe him that he was given 50% off so the customer ended up paying the entire amount but he left the shop in anger never to return again."
  2. You call up the customer care to file an incident, the customer care executive takes your detail which takes approximately few minutes, after which your actual problem is addressed. The executive assures you that it will be resolved in an hour, you can call back in an hour. After an hour, the customer calls back but another person picks up the call, he again asks you all the detail and then you inquire whether the incident is resolved or not, he replies he has no idea about it as it was handled by another executive.


How could they have avoided the above situation? Below is the solution,
  1. The shopkeeper could have entered the customer's details with the phone number and mentioned the offer that was promised to him. So, when the customer would come next time to avail the offer, even if the main shopkeeper was not there they could have checked against his phone number and found the details.
  2. The first executive should have filed the incident and updated about the problem in the system so next time when someone else would open the details about the customer, he can find an incident already filed and get the required details, he could have then updated the customer about it.


So, like these many other problems with respect to the customer can be solved through CRM and that's why it is all the more important to have it for your business. CRM tools enable us to maintain a good relationship with the existing customers and also with the future prospective customers.

What are the benefits that CRM offers

As we now know that CRM means Customer Relationship Management, once you implement this in your system and customize it as per your business requirement it will show you very good results. We need to also keep one thing in mind, just by buying it, will not increase your sales or help you to have a better relationship with your customer just like buying a treadmill and watching it will not help you lose your weight. We need to tailor and customize it according to our need, what looks the best way for one business might not be right for your business. So let's look at the benefits that CRM offers at small and big scale business:

  • CRM acts as a catalyst to improve the customer service : CRM helps you to maintain a better relationship with your customer as you have all their details in your database. It helps the organization to maintain a one to one relationship with the customer and they will be felt important and you will be addressing to their needs as per the requirement which makes them feel wanted. You can go ahead and give offers to those golden customers who have stuck with you for long. All these can be identified and tailored accordingly in the CRM tool. The customers are less likely to leave the organization, they will willingly continue to purchase and maintain their relationship with you. As explained in the above example, had they kept the details of the customer with them and the offer that was given to him, they could have retained him. Now the loss of one customer is not just one, he has the potential to stop other customers to come to your organization. So you are likely to lose your prospective customers as well as the existing customers


  • CRM boosts the growth of the organization and helps it to grow in a very efficient manner : With the implementation of CRM, there is a lot of improvement in the customer management, better time management, no manual work and repetitive tasks. You have a systematic and detailed information about the customers, which helps you a lot to retain your existing customers which will in turn help to grow your business tremendously


  • Data can be accessed from anywhere and anytime with cloud computing : Earlier when you had to update any details about the customer you had to be in the office and logged into your system to get it done, which consumed lots of time and the process would unnecessary get extended which would invite the wrath of the customer. Now with the advent of CRM, you can log in to your mobile, tab, PC or Laptop whichever is available to you.This has been possible with the advent of Cloud computing which I have explained in this Cloud Computing


  • Increase in up selling and cross-selling : If you have the data of the customers it will be easier for you to pull up their details of their last purchase and accordingly offer them a complementary product which is called as cross-selling. If you have golden customers or special category customers you can give them special offers or tailor offers according to their need which is called as up-selling.This will also ensure that the customer remains loyal


  • Better call center experience : In the above example, had they recorded the previous call and the incident of the customer they wouldn't have faced the wrath of the customer or rather, the call could have been more pleasant. CRM helps you to document the call details and record incidents of the caller which help the employees to deal with the same customer if he calls up to check the status of his earlier incident that was recorded


Conclusion

CRM is not a new concept, it has always been there. People have always tried to maintain their relationship with their customers. CRM helps to achieve it a much better way along with the traditional methods applied to retain the customers.


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