By TP Sharafudheen, Director Strategy, Interdev Group
Customer-focused business strategies became the core focus of businesses in recent years. Customer Relationship Management was popularized in 1997, due to the work of Siebel, Gartner, and IBM. The big brand software companies took remarkable steps between 1997 and 2000 and leading CRM products were enriched with shipping and marketing capabilities. Siebel introduced the first mobile CRM app called Siebel Sales Handheld in 1999. This trend created new confidence among companies and the idea of a stand-alone, cloud-hosted and moveable customer base was soon adopted by other leading providers of that time, including PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce.
During the wave of customer-centric business strategies, CRM software allows businesses to focus on their company’s relationships with customers, colleagues, suppliers, etc. With a well-versed professional CRM in place, it becomes much easier to find new customers, win their trust, provide qualified support, and provide additional services throughout the relationship.
There is not much big secret that the best part about a CRM system is that almost any organizational unit can benefit from it — from sales and customer service to recruiting, marketing, and business development. In a complex business environment, a good CRM software gives a better way to manage external relationships while organizing all the internal task properly.
Earlier we were talking about the future but now we can say that the future has arrived. We are entering the era of intelligent, integrated CRM, even the future of CRM definitely will be much brighter. Regardless of the size from small businesses to global enterprises, sales and marketing teams are adopting CRM to deliver better customer experiences, which leads to acquire and retain more new customers and gain new customer-centric insights that are changing their companies for the better. Without such calculated marketing and customer support, no one can’t even survive.
Due to many factors, customers are fundamentally changing, and it goes beyond simple demographics. This complex situation demands high level of analytical capabilities for business organizations. From the ‘why’ factor it goes to the ‘how’ factor in customer trends. There’s a change in how all customer segments across Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) select who and what they buy from one company or another, as well as when they buy these qualitative data will influence the sale planning and product design too. To harness that information, you have to collect it — that’s where CRM comes in.
Beyond any emotional manual engagements with customer relationship management systems, customers are served better on a day-to-day process. With more reliable information, their demand for self-service from companies will decrease. If there is less need to interact with the company for different problems, customer satisfaction level increases.
Because of these central benefits, CRM will be connected hypothetically to the three types of equity that are relationship, value, and brand, and in the end to customer equity. Many benefits were recognized to provide value drivers that are: enhanced ability to target profitable customers, integrated assistance across channels, enhanced sales force efficiency and effectiveness, improved pricing, customized products and services, improved customer service efficiency and effectiveness, individualized marketing messages also called campaigns, connect customers and all channels on a single platform.
Apart from the manual data analysis, almost all the leading global marketers are using CRM analytics software and Big Data to add greater predictive accuracy to their marketing strategies by mining the massive customer data sets they’ve accumulated over decades of serving customers. The business leaders who are implementing this strategy have been particularly effective in improving Omni channel and multichannel customer experiences — two areas that are challenging to orchestrate without customer insight from analytics.
Regardless of the industry, almost all are able to customize their offerings for each customer. By accumulating information across customer interactions and processing this information to discover hidden patterns, CRM applications help firms adaptively customize their offerings to suit the individual tastes of their customers and their buying frequency and style. This customization enhances the perceived quality of products and services from a customer’s viewpoint. Now the empathy is more towards the customers rather than the product and organization and because the perceived quality is a determinant of customer satisfaction, it follows that CRM applications indirectly affect customer satisfaction. Without fail and negligence, CRM applications also enable firms to provide timely, accurate processing of customer orders and requests and the ongoing management of customer accounts.
Organizations believe that the better the marketing data, insights and customer-centric knowledge driving decisions are, the more effective every marketing tactic and strategy will be. When marketing strategies are built on a solid foundation of customer intelligence and insight, customer experiences improve. It is obvious that positive customer experiences build trust, fuel repurchases, create loyalty and lead to higher lifetime customer values. Now businesses are growing by taking the micro-level data from the market rather than pushing the product and services from the top. This chain reaction of customer-centric growth gets started when marketing and sales teams know what customers are expecting, why they’re expecting it and how to deliver products or services that exceed customer expectations.
CRM has undoubtedly made the slogan ‘Customer First’ a reality. We are in the new wave of business trend due to the impact of the CRM revolution across all the industries regardless of the size and locations.