What are the main purposes of CRM?
One thing many overlook when speaking about Customer Relationship Management is the definition of it. And it is manner of treating, directing, carrying on, administrating, controlling relations with customers. Not only customers, but also suppliers and any number of people related to the organization.
The CRM is NOT a software.
Do not overlook that basic and very important definition.
While there is certainly mass of software that helps you in managing relations with your customers the CRM is not a software itself. It is a method, administration, organization, it is a way of handling relations with customers. The Customer Relationship Management methods existed before the appearance of software on general market. Remember that.
It still exists in many of companies world wide, where company is managing relations by using papers, pens, calls and other similar tools.
Now when you DID understand that, due to so much confusion over “CRM Software” and actual Customer Relationship Management, it is advisable that you review your own business, and practically put it down on paper, what methods are you using currently to manage relations with your customers. As that is going to help you to put attention on your customers.
The main purpose of Customer Relationship Management should be clear by itself, by its term as your company is too big to remember all details about your customers, thus you need a method of management of those relations with them:
Each new member, or other member in the company, with access to information about customers, should be able to understand what relation did particular customer had in past with the company and what would be the next step to move customer closer to sales
The purpose of CRM would be to help the customer understand services and products, and purchase them, buy, or use them, get educated or in other way get a delivery from organization
Not every organization is selling services or products. Some are educating people and have a humanitarian character. But as soon as one starts working with a number of people, and with larger team in the company, there is immediate need to start managing those relations.
In 1993, it was at one point of time, hard for me to buy a computer. Even when I got the computer, I did not think with it as significant to manage relations with customers. And I had many customers. So, what I did, I used something similar like Rolodex, and calling cards. I kept names and phone numbers of each customers on such calling cards. Not only that, I have kept notes of each call, and interaction with the customer, each meeting, and each delivery. It is easy to put note with pen and pencil. Even though I used computer to write documents to customers, it was efficient Customer Relationship Management. Without software.
How something like Rolodex look like, you can see on DuckDuckGo pictures.
Simplest software for Customer Relationship Management became my text editor. Name, phones, addresses, notes, everything for hundreds of customers can be managed by text editor with one or multiple files.
Today, most people think wrong that CRM is simply software. It is not. And trying to keep all parts of one’s method to manage customer relations in software, will make a life harder. Why?
Because, parts of customer’s relations are also:
Central files, folders, about customers. Too many hospitals, organizations, keep customers' files and folders in paper form. That is one part of the method to manage relations. One cannot just go into computer, to lookup a client, if a piece of information is left in paper files. Go to paper files, and understand more about customer before sending him a letter to purchase something he purchased before 10 years.
Documents sent and received from a customer are interaction, that often cannot be correctly chained and connected with the CRM software.
Emails are very important interaction with customer, that is often not recorded in the CRM software. It should be possible to completely have free choice of email client and email account. Some CRM software try to integrate email, and destroy the efficiency by wrong decisions.
Letters (paper), are important interaction with client. One need to see what client wrote to the company, and which letter was sent to the customer.
Flow are often overlooked in CRM software. As for various customers, different flows or routes would need to be defined where client is moving from one step to the next step. As CRM should not be just another address book, but it shell help in moving a client from stage to stage until the final result. Many CRM software today have this feature, but too many don’t.
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