Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is made up of a set of strategies, technologies and practices that aim to build strong relationships with customers in order to increase revenue. Customers’ loyalty to your brand can be increased through developing a relationship with your customers.
In the modern business world, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has become a model for solidifying relationships with potential and existing customers and managing business interactions, while enhancing profitability and productivity and reducing costs. This model involves leveraging technology in order to automate, organise, and synchronise customer service, marketing, sales, and technical support. Within CRM we can differentiate the field of Customer Experience Management (CEM) that consists of processes put in place with the purpose to track customer experience in order to try to predict what those customers would want next.
Loyal customers are affected less by competitor’s advertising and price, come back often to repurchase and are more likely to be interested in trying out additional services and products in your range. According to experts in the field, it costs five times less to service an old customer than to attract a new one. For this reason, it becomes obvious that customer retention and loyalty are key factors for increasing business revenue. CRM is all about getting to know someone well, just like any other relationship. CRM is also about making an effort to accommodate your customers. Companies that understand the importance of CRM are those that make an effort to become very tuned into their customer’s needs in order to be able to appeal to them.
In today’s South African markets, companies can take advantage of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) model in order to nurture their business’s stability. In order to achieve this, businesses need to realise that customers are their greatest assets. CRM could be implemented by concentrating more on customer values instead of product delivery, attempting to get more business out of current ones, realizing the benefits of information utilization in a proactive way, working towards reducing costs with no compromise on product quality, and focusing on customer loyalty and satisfaction rather than on business profitability and productivity.
Businesses in South Africa should also have a comprehensive understanding and carefully interpret their customers’ activities and queries and respond to them by implementing the best solutions that meet and even exceed their expectations. This way, they can strengthen their customer bonds, enhance customer’ satisfaction, and win customers’ loyalty.
Another key factor for implementing CRM in South Africa is handling complaints to the satisfaction of the customer. This can be done by having a pre-defined set of CRM processes that deals with efficiently with resolving these complaints in a timely manner. Once a CRM system is flexible and systematically integrated, it serves its purpose in dealing with the customer in the best way, resulting in more business and better relationship building.
How To Implement CRM
Depending on your business, CRM strategies will differ. Relationships would be built in a more face to face, traditional manner in small and B2B businesses. This may include learning individual customer preferences and names. These relationships rely on mutual long term goals, effective communication and trust. However, it is still important to maintain a database of customer information.
On the other side, the name of all customers cannot possibly be remembered or written down. For businesses, CRM relies more on technology. Databases can hold names, contact details and other important information about the customers that can help to target consumers and personalise consumers. CRM software can extract this information for loyalty programs and pass it on to call centre operators. These loyalty programs can make customers feel valued and included.
For large organisations, CRM in South Africa can be quite a big task, because it has to only rely on much more than only the marketing department. At every moment of the contact, customers need to receive positive service in order to have a positive relationship experience. This includes positive service through retail, in-store assistants, e-commerce, call centres, telephone sales, self-service online, social media content, and more.
Some basic guidelines to get started with implementing CRM in South Africa are:
• Identify A Target Market – this includes focusing research resources especially on those customers that are the most profitable. These customers usually give you valuable feedback in order to help the business improve service. They are loyal lifetime customers who purchase variety and often in your range, they are benchmarkers and trendsetters who can influence others.
• Differentiate – after getting to know your customers either in person or in a database, you can intelligently use this in order to personalise their in-store experience and direct advertising. By creating an overall enjoyable consumer experience you can achieve a significant competitive advantage. Customers were left alone to discover products before technology, but business can now take their products to consumers, a process facilitated by the increased knowledge of individual customers. For the busy customer this represents added value and for the business, if it is intelligently personalised, it can also increase loyalty.
• Interact – this can be better achieved by setting up processes that encourage positive customer relations. Through these interactions, your business can create a customer experience worth sticking by learning from feedback.
The necessity of CRM
In South Africa as well as worldwide, the marketplace has moved to a relationship-based economy from a transaction-based economy. This transition means that customers demand personalisation and attention more than ever. Whether you plan to implement CRM to create a competitive advantage or to keep up with a competitor, creating strategies that implement better relationships with your customers through personalisation can do a good job at retaining customers and ensuring the efficient management of customers.
According to market experts, the importance of the services industries in the world economy has grown over the past twenty years. In this general context, in the year 2006, the services sector in the South African economy contributed 71.4 percent of South Africa’s total GDP.
Business owners have understood that any successful company is required to increase customer loyalty by focusing on its relationship with customers. The influence of two-way communication, commitment, trust, and conflict handling is crucial to customer loyalty.
Customer Relationship Management is a proven method to achieve better profitability and productivity. A positive relationship exists between conflict handling, commitment, and trust, on one side, and Customer Relationship Management on the other side.
Technology and CRM
You may seem confused about whether CRM is a type of strategy or if it is a type of software. However, customer relationship management is a concept that refers to strategies, practices and technologies involved in managing one’s customers. CRM software allows the practices of customer relationship management to be managed efficiently and effectively in one database with a variety of functions. CRM software incorporates all the processes of customer data, customer interaction, automation of the sales process, storing of contacts, tracking leads, tracking marketing initiatives and many other functions. The aim of CRM software is to meet the overall objectives of customer relationship management. Today’s CRM is highly scalable and customizable, allowing businesses to choose the functions that are applicable to their business needs.