CRM’s or Customer Relationship Management systems can be extremely valuable to a small business when it is used to tackle some common problems faced by them. Sometimes as a small business owner you can miss the value of a good CRM when you are focusing on the initial investment required to purchase it. Almost all businesses make use of email as communication channel and even make use of email marketing to an extent; the power of the CRM can give businesses a more organized and integrated idea of their business, customer relations and interactions. Below we discuss why a CRM is vital to a small business and how it can help improve customer interactions and maintain a more streamlined business model:
One of the most important things about running any business is to keep your customers happy. When you have long term customers you gather information about them and when you have many customers there is a lot of information that needs to be stored about each one. You cannot possibly remember all the details about each of your customers of the top of your head, and even if you could your other employees would not be able to access this info as and when they need. Even if your business is just a start-up and is very small with just a few customers, it is still advisable to obtain a CRM so you can allow room for expansion and start using an organized system from the very beginning. A very large percentage of customers end their relationship with a business over unsatisfactory customer service.
When your employees have access to a CRM they can see more than just a customer’s contact details and transaction history, they will also be able to access notes made even if a customer has interacted with a different person in the office. This means that a customer is always guaranteed to get a more personalized service and that whoever they speak to at your business will know everything about that specific customer. So for example if client calls to get details about a project they don’t necessarily have to speak to the person in charge of that project, any one at the office with authorization can access details and give the customer the info they need.
In a small business environment there is usually only a few people working on a project so in these cases the value of a CRM may not be very clear. In a small business there are many daily tasks that require support documentation, contact information and other project details readily available as and when you need. The project management capabilities of a CRM are useful especially for regular tasks so you can check milestones, monitor the overall scope of a project, assign tasks and stick to deadlines.
A lot of CRM’s today offer mobile access capabilities too, this is especially useful if you are hiring a freelancer to do some work or you have employees who operate outside the office from various locations. This type of mobile capability allows such employees to update project details in real time allowing you to stay on top of tasks, timelines and progress. You can also grant each of your teams separate access to the information they need as and when required.
The data you gather about a customer over time can help you manage better loyalty programs that can increase a customer’s chances of returning to your business for a service or product. Returning customers tend to spend more and once loyal will more than likely always use your business service or product in the future. Some CRM’s allow for social media integration so you can gather certain social data about your customers which can help create better informed loyalty programs that are more specific to a customer. Loyalty programs such as coupons, targeted offers and rewards can be used to improve a customer’s faith in your brand.
A CRM can be a very worthwhile investment for a small business, and now there are many services available including cloud based ones that do not require a very large initial investment and will not be as costly.
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