Technology-enabled relationship management

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) was not much more than remembering the name of a customer (bonus points if you remember the names of the children) and sending them a Christmas present, usually with a bottle of wine and the calendar of your company. Today, with the opportunities that technology and the increased use of the internet have brought us, the customer relationship can now be better managed. What is needed now is that an organization first understands that without the customer and, most importantly, without the customer relationship, the level of success will be very limited. An organization now has to treat investments in CRM as one of the company's most important branches and technology can be used to improve the relationship between company and customer.

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Believe it or not, the technological tools are there and in the developed world it has become the norm that marketers, customer service personnel and their organizations manage their CRM efforts by using technology. A lack of use reflects only a lack of will, and worse it represents a way of thinking that is trapped in traditional thinking.
When we bring the discussion home, we must start by understanding and making good use of the simple tools we have at our disposal. Let's start by discussing the company's website and social media platforms. Our websites have to change from static places to become more dynamic. The main reason is that a website has no geographical boundaries, unlike your offices / stores that require your customer to move. A static website is a website that allows a customer to view information only and does not allow interaction with your customer. To enable a better relationship with our customers, we must enable our websites to accept customer information and at least recognize that their information has been received and a response will be given in the shortest possible time span. Our websites must take into account personalization, where a customer types in his or her account information and the website starts to display information that is relevant to them. We would appreciate it if our suppliers or service providers remember our name and even better our last purchase, the same can now also be done with the help of our company websites. The great thing about website personalization is that it increases lead conversion and customer retention.

Personalization can even be incorporated into the way we communicate with our clients, especially in organizations that deal with large numbers of customers. Simply put, personalization offers a company the possibility to automatically state the name of the customer in all communications, such as e-mails. When a customer returns to the company's website, personalization concepts support the site to remember where the customer had stayed. Personalization through technology is great in achieving customer confidence and loyalty.

Social media have in fact taken over the lives of our customers and as a company we have to be present where our customers are present. There is a great need for every company to find ways to leverage the power of social media to improve the way they manage their relationship with their customers. Tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just to name a few, have given companies a chance to exercise a social attraction to their customers. In the traditional media, the beauty of social media is that it has no geographical limitation, it is traceable, it is cheaper and communication can be directed. As we improve our CRM technology, we have to combine the old and the new. A company that tries to promote its new product or conduct a customer survey can use traditional media to inform its customers and then refer to social media where customer feedback can be found, can be obtained cheaply and further discussions and involvement are possible.

Technology tools such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft have helped us remove paper cabinets and help us retain the institutional knowledge and experience that our executives take with them when they leave the organization. Our customer data can now be stored in a central database that is predictive and can be retrieved at any time for all kinds of information. It is very easy for our customers to know more about our companies, but it is more difficult for a company to learn more about its customers. Coupled with the company website and other technological tools, the company's CRM database can be used to collect and offer more customer information for the company.

The value of a thinking customer database is that repetitive tasks such as customer billing or communication can be largely automated, whereby the burden of your employees is shifted and they are released to concentrate on other activities such as customer complaints and / or lead closing. Through a CRM database, sales, marketing and customer service teams can share important information about customers in the funnel to achieve a sales closure, new product knowledge or customer satisfaction. A well-thought-out CRM database enables the analysis and reporting of your customer data to help the company understand and evolve towards being able to predict their customer behavior. The key to giving customers what they want is by understanding them, and a CRM database that is not only a source of information, but also one that thinks and predicts, ensures that this can be achieved. As a company, we need to be encouraged to invest in CRM database software that helps us improve our CRM efforts through better knowledge and better communication with our customers. There is now a need for business to invest in CRM database software, either through purchase or through internal development.

Technological innovations have brought people closer together, a company can also be brought closer to its customer by using the technological tools now available in the world. The main goal of any business when it comes to customer relationship management should now be ways to use technology to better understand and serve its precious stakeholder, the customer.

This article contributed on behalf of the Marketers & # 39; Association of Zimbabwe, a leading body of marketing professionals that promotes professionalism to the highest standards for industry and the economy as a whole. For more information, visit the website at or contact [email protected]

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