Customer Relationship Management (CRM) typically refers to a system, such as Microsoft Dynamics, which is the software bringing together a cohesive approach to managing every customer relationship. It’s not just about storing and accessing customer data (although this is part of it), it’s about actively managing every facet of every customer relationship in a consistent and integral way. It’s the melting pot where everything to do with customers happens, but it’s also the conduit thought which each transaction has to pass through.
At the core of a CRM system should be the goal of maximising the value of all customer relationships. A great CRM system can utterly transform your customer service. Hitachi Solutions, experts at creating bespoke CRM systems using Microsoft Dynamics 365, have seen time and again how in the modern global marketplace an effective CRM system can make or break a business.
Customer Service – The Contemporary Problems
Customer service as a business function now bears very little resemblance to its predecessor. The digital age has transformed the way in which we do business, and as such our customer service function has had to completely change. It’s not a standalone entity anymore. Instead, customer service must pervade every element of every interaction with the customer. In the multi-channel marketplace, that’s an awful lot of touch points where customer service matters, and needs to be consistent.
For example, customer service now involves a broader approach across different channels, for example your Facebook page, your product catalogue, your website and your on-the-road salespeople, as well as a detailed approach to each and every interaction. That’s a tall order to manage, but what you need to do in order to achieve the competitive edge that you need.
It All Comes Down to Data
At its heart, excellent customer service comes down to data – accurate, reliable, and plentiful. A CRM system is what makes this possible. The holistic software is the centralised hub where all data is stored, accessed, and visible. This provides valuable insights. Your left hand knows what the right is doing, and the whole business is working together to ensure maximum value from each and every customer.
Whilst this data provides the insights we need to ensure exceptional customer service, it can be very difficult to utilise effectively because there is simply so much of it. The best CRM systems, such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365, will go a step further. They bring the data together in a way that is relevant for your business, and make it valuable without being unwieldy. Customer service processes are streamlined yet personal to the individual data, automatically.
This makes an effective CRM system incredibly valuable to a business for transforming its customer service and giving it the competitive edge. It’s the software glue that businesses need.
Why is a CRM System so Important to Customer Service?
Even the smallest businesses have complicated customer relationships in the current marketplace so can you imagine what large organisations are facing each day. This is because the modern customer has choice (and speed) at their fingertips like never before. Loyalty doesn’t exist as it used to. The customer really is the boss. That customer is also highly likely to encounter a range of different touch points with the product and the company before they make a purchase. The savvy consumer will be checking out reviews, having a look at your social media and browsing your website – all before they actually make a purchase. You therefore need to be in control of those touch points.
This is why it is important to see a CRM system as so much more than a software package. Yes, the software is what makes it technically possible. However, it’s also about strategy. This is strategy in terms of how you manage customer service across the board, and how you as a business interact with customers. It should encompass two key elements: retaining your existing customer base, and expanding it as well.
The More the Better
Given the nature of the modern consumer, it’s essential that they have as many different ways to conduct business with you, and interact with you, as possible. These different channels are valuable. However, the more channels that your business has, the more difficult they are to manage and to ensure consistent customer service. That’s where the CRM can help.
By using a CRM system to govern and control each channel, you can flex and adapt according to how your customer needs you to. You’re able to capitalise on every interaction whilst learning what works, and what doesn’t. You become increasingly responsive to the customer’s needs and in so doing, maximise their value.
CRM Systems in Practice
You can buy off-the-shelf CRM packages. However, you’re going to be attempting to fit your business, the round peg, in to a square hole. These are generic systems which will require your business compromising. A CRM system should be a tool which aids, rather than creates, work. Therefore, the ideal CRM system for any business is one which is created specifically around their needs. Solutions such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 make this possible.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a way of creating a unique CRM for your needs, put together by consultants such as Hitachi Solutions.
Using this system you very quickly gain insight into everything from your customers’ purchasing habits through to their preferences. You can profile and group customers in order to ensure your marketing is more targeted and thus increase sales. At its core is a consistent customer service approach.
The CRM system should allow you to anticipate sales or interest using historic trends, whilst also using prospective information too. The cross-selling and up-selling potential of your business broadens which in turn enables you to see which of your customers are most profitable. This then feeds through to targeted marketing and communications, all seemingly with a personal approach.
The Customer Service Benefits of an Effective CRM System
The benefits of a CRM system, such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365, are broad and valuable. You’re likely to see enhanced customer satisfaction, and in turn, retention. Your business reputation should grow, as should your share of the marketplace. You are also able to become more efficient and reduce costs, as well as maximising profitability.