The importance of customer relationship management

Globalization and an ever-increasing competitive market pose a greater need for businesses to create a unique advantage. There is significant motivation for a shift in the way businesses operate from the traditional production push to a demand pull approach. A production push is when goods are produced in the anticipation of being purchased. In contrast, a demand pull is whereby the company seeks to identify what is desired by its existing and potential customers and produce what meets the demand.

Such business transformation prioritizes customers’ needs and wants and an intentional focus on customer relationship management (CRM).

CRM is defined as a cross-functional strategic process utilized by firms to manage and develop their interactions with current and potential customers. To efficiently and effectively respond to rapid changes in customer demand, firms must have access to timely and accurate information regarding their current and potential customers.

Effective CRM strategies give businesses a competitive advantage and should not be underestimated in today’s marketplace. It is a way to penetrate the market, secure your market position and also to expand your market share.

These benefits will be derived from utilizing CRM to acquire and retain customers. There may be instances when a business fails to meet the expectation of its customers. In order to acquire and retain customers, it is important for a business to take responsibility and be accountable for its actions to maintain a good relationship with customers.

Various measures to create a good impression of the company include acknowledging a customer’s complaint, showing empathy, explaining how the matter will be resolved and being prompt in actions to rectify the matter. It is also important to follow up with the customer to ascertain whether they are satisfied with the outcome. It is a best practice to proactively emphasize customer-centricity to address customer service challenges. This will enable the business to demonstrate a genuine concern for the wellbeing of its customers leading to positive results.

On the flipside, a customer could have been at fault by not following the instructions provided with a product or have misinterpreted a key term of the agreement. Rather than denying a claim is a better option to weigh the costs and benefits of granting the claim. An assessment of the situation may uncover that it is worthwhile to grant the request on a one-time basis. A customer who has made a mistake would be grateful to the company for its gesture and could become a repeat customer, influencer and promoter of the business.

Many businesses invest in CRM software to streamline their processes as they keep track of changing customer wants and preferences. This is a dynamic way to assess real demand and to be responsive to customers. The software enables the monitoring, controlling and linking of several functional areas to deliver value to customers.

It is more efficient and convenient to record notes in a customer profile in a central system rather than having the customer go through a recollection of all previous conversations on each phone call.

The cost of CRM software can vary depending on the number of users, size of the company and the type of functionality included. Salesforce is a popular one that is user friendly and convenient.

CRM is crucial for sustainability in business because keeping track of the services offered to your customers is the valued added component that will be a differentiation factor. It is through superb quality service and positive relationships that customer loyalty and goodwill are established.

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