Customers are pillars of every firm. They are actually the main source of revenue for any firm and their affairs should be given maximum attention. It is important to note that a firm is in business as long as it has enough customers for its goods or services. Consequently, every firm aims at retaining their customers besides ensuring that it attracts as more customers as possible. In this regard, many firms have implemented many policies which are aimed at founding and enhancing good relationship between a firm and its customers. Among the methods that have been found to be crucial in promoting good customer relationship is the Customer Relationship Management Program (CRM). However, it is important to note that for the CRM to succeed there are several components that must be effectively implemented.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management is a program that is used by firms to oversee interactions between the firm and its customers. The program is used to track and record every single issue relating to customers from the initial stages of the relationship. The program is also crucial in ensuring that marketing campaigns are executed properly and efficiently. More importantly, the program is used to put in place a customer care center to address customer concerns in a quick and effective way (Kale 2009). The program is composed of technology which is crucial for automation of various services. It also involves the processes which are vital in serving customers, and people whose main duty is to control both the processes and the technology. In order to operate effectively, CRM integrates technological processes and the various aspects of the firm that are concerned with customers’ relationship to ensure customer satisfaction.
It is important to note that CRM has several advantages to a firm. To begin with, since it creates a database to store information about customers, it increases chances of customers receiving efficient serves because it is easy to retrieve customers’ information whenever required. Moreover, CRM is crucial in helping management to know each customer’s behavior. This is achieved due to the possibility of tracking customers’ preferences and also analyzing data collected from customers (Moore 2008). On the same note, the system integrates various departments as well as various branches thus making it easier for customers’ information to be accessed. Furthermore, the program leads to automation of various services thus making it possible for customers to be served online. This is vital in ensuring that service quality is increased besides enhancing communication between companies and customers.
Organization culture plays a very paramount role in ensuring that an organization succeeds in its ventures. Consequently, taking into consideration the culture of an organization and customizing the CRM program to fit in is crucial for the success of the program (Kale 2009). For an organization that has a centralized type of management, CRM tailored for a decentralized organization will be just a waste of resources because it will not work. Each culture is distinct in its own way and requires a unique CRM program.
The point of contact between the customers and the business begins with sales. Consequently, sales department needs to be a special part of the CRM. Moreover, CRM is initiated to help enhance the revenue of a firm by satisfying customers. In this regard, automation of the sales processes is very crucial for the success of CRM program. This helps in predicting and following up expected sales and customers. In addition, sales automation is useful in prediction of revenue and budget preparation.
Rolling out the whole program at once might be a complex idea which can make the whole process come to a stall. Therefore, it is quite advantageous for the program to be implemented in stages. Once one stage is completed, the next stage can be implemented. This should be done until the whole program has been implemented (Kincaid 2003). Besides ensuring that any mistake is corrected in time, this method ensures that people have a chance of learning on the way thus advancing their skills. Furthermore, for CRM to succeed there should be one database that is shared by every department. This is beneficial because it enables multiple use of information that is collected from customers.
Components of Customer Relationship Management
For the CRM program to be effective in any firm, there are various aspects that must be in place. To begin with, processes are very crucial in ensuring that the program is successful. The various activities that are conducted from the point when a customer establishes contact with the firm till the point of delivery of the commodity should be included in the program. It is important to note that interaction with the customers does not stop the moment goods or services are delivered (Reponen 2003). It goes on to include the after sale services offered to customers. Since each business carries out its activities in a peculiar way, it is impossible to replicate the CRM program from one firm to another. Therefore, each firm needs to conduct research and ensure that the program to be implemented is in line with the processes they use in their day-to-day activities.
With the current advancement in the way things are done, technology cannot be left behind in any issue or program that management thinks about. Moreover, various departments as well as processes need to be synchronized for proper functioning of the CRM program. Technology ensures that efficiency will be upheld while at the same time, it ensures that the firm will have a competitive advantage. However, technology needs to be implemented only if it leads enhancement of the company’s goals. On the same note, customers’ needs are very crucial in an organization. Consequently, technology needs to be as specific as possible and care to the very needs of the firm so that CRM can be successful (Moore 2008). It is quite essential that before implementing any CRM program, enough research should be done to ascertain the software needs of the firm. The firm should be able to know the technological gaps and also determine the future needs of the company. In this way, the firm will be able to find perfect software to cater for its needs.
Processes and technology can excellently be implemented but they cannot work without control. Therefore, people are very crucial in ensuring that everything is as perfect as it is supposed to be. Technology needs people who will oversee its implementation. Processes are executed by people and customers need people who will attend to them. In short, the whole CRM program is only successful if it has qualified and dedicated people working round the clock. Consequently, people need to be effectively trained about CRM before it is implemented. On top, it is paramount to ensure that everybody who is assigned any duty is well qualified to carry out the task (Kincaid 2003). On the same note, before implementing a CRM program firms should ensure that experts are called in to carry out the job. This will guarantee that implementation of the program is done with utmost expertise thus ensuring that mistakes are avoided.
Moreover, since the CRM program is associated with processes of firms that are run by people, it will be imprudent to impose a program on these people. Consequently, when a firm wants to implement a CRM program, information should be collected from all the concerned people to ensure that the program developed does not meet resistance from within. Additionally, all employees need to be trained on how the CRM software works because at one time they may have to use the software. Similarly, training all employees will ensure smooth implementation and running of the program. It is important to start the training before the implementation takes place and form a CRM committee that will oversee implementation.
Customer satisfaction ensures that a firm retains as many customers as possible for the benefit of the firm. As a result, firms should ensure that their customers receive the best service by doing everything possible. In this regard, the CRM is very essential in enhancing the quality of service that customers receive. However, it is important to note that all the components of the CRM must be well implemented. Furthermore, since workflow is vital in execution of duties, a good CRM should be able to enhance work flow at all stages. Tracking and monitoring of performance at every stage is crucial so that everything is executed to expectations.
Kale, V 2009, A guide to Implementing Oracle Siebel CRM 8.X, Tata McGraw-Hill Education, Noida.
Kincaid, JW 2003, Customer Relationship Management: Getting it Right, Prentice Hall Professional, Upper Saddle River.
Moore, CW 2008, Managing Small Business, Cengage Learning, Stanford.
Reponen, T 2003, Information Technology Enabled Global Customer Service, Idea group Inc, Hershey.