Making gains from efficient customer relationship management
Olufemi Adedamola Oyedele, MPhil. in Construction Management, managing director/CEO, Fame Oyster & Co. Nigeria, is an expert in real estate investment, a registered estate surveyor and valuer, and an experienced construction project manager. He can be reached on +2348137564200 (text only) or firstname.lastname@example.org
May 22, 2023153 views0 comments
Businesses are built on relationships, especially relationships between a business owner and his customers. The better your business can manage customer relationships, the more it will grow. To be successful, a business must retain its existing customers and “aggressively” reach out to new ones. This means connecting with customers on multiple channels across many platforms. It involves customer relations planning (CRP) which is about forecasting who your customers will be, where they will come from, what they need and how to reach them. As a business opens more channels to reach more customers, managing those relationships and interactions becomes more and more challenging. This is where customer relationship management (CRM) becomes indispensable. CRM was initially seen as customer data management, especially the use of technology in this regard. Nowadays, CRM is seen as a customer relations strategy; person to person (121), business to business (B2B), etc.
Software used in CRM, also known as CRM systems or CRM tools, are equipment that is used to manage all of a company’s interactions with its customers and potential customers (those who make enquiries). In the present business environment, CRM is much more than the use of technology to manage customers’ information. Though CRM may involve the use of technology, it is actually a strategy for building stronger relationships with business customers by learning as much as possible about their needs and buying patterns and behaviours. It also involves knowing how they would like to be served. The goal of a CRM is to improve business relationships with customers; improve leads and profitability by helping a business stay connected to customers and also to streamline business processes. Knowing the birthday of your customers and sending greetings during their birthday anniversaries and festive periods is good customer relations.
Every customer is important to a business. If they are treated well, and the price is competitive, most customers will make a return visit. The more the opportunities a customer has to connect with a business, the better. CRM helps ensure customers’ needs are met by allowing businesses to gain more insight into the shopping behaviours of the customers and modify their operations accordingly. After implementing CRM, your business will be able to recognize the value of each and every customer. The more a business knows about its customers, the more it will be able to meet their needs, the more it will be able to serve them and the more its sales will grow. Some businesses like supermarkets, restaurants and bars (pubs) cannot survive without predicting the needs of their customers. They need to initially speculate the likely needs of their customers and thereafter keep records of their actual needs (purchases) for efficient services (restocking) after patronage through sales record management.
Employing a CRM structure in your organisation is well worth the time and cost. The bottom-line is satisfied customers, improved sales and increased profit. The following are some of the benefits a business will experience with an effective CRM practice:
(i) Customer Service and Retention: One of the main benefits of CRM is improved relationships with your customers. A CRM system manages all your business contacts and stores important information about them across all channels, including demographics, purchase history, and previous communications. Great customer service builds trust and customer loyalty. High customer turnover is not good for your business and can have a negative impact on everything from sales to brand reputation. If a customer is not coming back, you need to know the reasons. There is software that can automate customer support, track behaviour, and even provide sentiment analysis. All of these features will help you identify and address issues before they become problems. Using a CRM to improve overall customer service will keep your customers coming back. A simple feed-back form is a customer relations management tool as well as a customer’s questionnaire, which requests for the customer’s name, age, sex, address, email and phone number.
(ii) Increased Sales: When customers keep coming back, business sales will keep increasing. CRM helps a business to build its sales chain by streamlining the sales process and automating the main tasks. It allows the business to analyse all of its sales data and store it in one centralised place, which can be accessed by anyone who needs it. This process will help your business to set up a step-by-step sales process.
(iii) Analytics: Analytics are essential to understanding customer behaviour. There is plenty of customer data to collect and analyse. There is CRM software that can analyse customers’ data and write reports. Some CRM systems have built-in analytics that are able to contextualise customer data. These metrics, such as click-through rates, bounce rates, and demographic data, can demonstrate the success of a campaign and highlight opportunities for further optimization.
(iv) Higher Productivity: Using CRM software with marketing automation tools can free up your employees by handling more common menial tasks. Employees can then focus on more human-centred work and building customer relationships. It also ensures tasks are completed and do not fall behind. Many CRM have dashboards for your business processes and workflows. Using these features, you will be able to see where your workflow can improve and be forewarned of dangers.
(v) Cultivating New Leads: Customer relationships flourish when they are nurtured. Nurturing requires prompt contact. There can be many steps in the communication process along with many opportunities. Being able to alert your employees when it is time for them to reach out to a prospect and track every interaction is a massive advantage for your business. CRMs provide a holistic view of the needs of the customers. They let you see every piece of communication with your customers and potential customers. From this, you can easily determine how to connect with the customers – an essential capability when cultivating new leads and nurturing existing customers.
(vi) Better Marketing Efforts: CRM allows you to create more targeted marketing aimed at your customers’ specific needs. It allows your business to cultivate a personal approach to your communications, and you will also be able to develop new products and services that your customers actually need. By questioning customers at Daleko, a Lagos rice market, a seller was able to take her rice to the customers who are mostly from residential private secondary schools. Customer information can assist in locating sales outlets and type of products to sell. Effective CRM management informed the decision of Nestle Plc to open Pure Life bottled water plant at Abaji, FCT, closer to Abuja and northern markets than Lagos.
(vii) Increased Profitability: Using CRM allows you to identify which products, services and customers are profitable and which are not. This knowledge helps you to deal with each segment in the most cost-effective manner. Not only will you be able to optimize your costs by doing this, but you will also be able to increase profitability by being able to focus on your most profitable products, services and customers.
CRM means improved business processes. Real estate, retail, pharmaceuticals, financial services, insurance, banking and even agriculture are a few businesses that use CRMs the most.
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