Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A CRM is nothing more than a piece of software that aggregates data based on your, or your company’s profile and setup that analyzes and breaks down “big data” into something that has meaning and relevance to your company and the products and services that it provides. The basic function of a CRM is to be able to understand the large quantity of data out there as it pertains to your company. This is immensely useful because it can analyzes all sorts of items from Social Media to Correspondence, Trends, Product Placement, Customer Loyalty, and many, many more facets. All of which are nearly impossible for a normal person to be able to comprehend, and so we turn to a digital solution that can crunch all that data for us and show us something that has meaning.

Below, will be several links to various aspects of a CRM, the common issue that is entailed within and then a good solution. Business Essentials happens to be one of the leading makers of a better brand of CRM, but just because it gets mentioned does not mean it would work best for your particular company or your particular needs, so bear that in mind as it’s not a recommendation but rather an example of an industry leading company CRM designer.

Sorting Through the Mess

Take the image above for example. The way “big data” looks to most people is how the image originally starts off. It’s complex, messy and doesn’t make any sense at all, it looks like a bunch of random noise and information that has no relation or meaning. Fortunately a properly configured CRM is going to go through, like in the image, and sort through the data, organizing and making sense of it all, making it relevant and connected to each other depending on how it was set up and how your company aims to use it. This changes from company to company but the general gist stays the same regardless.

However, the main draw of using CRM is the fact that all this data can be effectively crunched and turned into real statistics and matter to you and your company. You can take all the receipts, the invoices, emails, social media mentions, support tickets and user surveys and come up with no real understanding what all the information means. The CRM can sort through the mess, find the connections and essentially tell you a story about what the data is actually saying to you and to your company. In this way it works like a storyteller, extracting the actual information from the mess and presenting it to you in a neat and orderly manner that gives you an idea what’s going on.

Take this following for an example: You don’t know why your products aren’t selling very well, you have a lower than average amount of support tickets so you don’t think that the products are very bad or breaking often enough to cause people to submit those. Your users aren’t complaining anything is wrong with the software, and the surveys you send out for them to do are coming back generally positive as far as you can understand. Social media is relatively quiet on that front but overall it’s not very negative or positive, just relatively stagnant and quiet. So overall you can’t see what’s wrong with the product or how to improve. You’re just sitting there scratching your head wondering what the devil is going on.

Enter CRM. A well arranged CRM can parse all the information that’s pertinent and get a good idea for what’s going on. Drawing connections between everything the CRM can find that the support tickets are so low because people aren’t even bothering to submit, instead they’re flat out returning the products without bothering to look for a fix because they’re so badly broken. By monitoring inter-office communications you find through the CRM that your users (employees) are being offered a bonus if they say that the product is working well because that’s what people want to see and hear, and so they do it for the extra pay. Social media is quiet because nobody cares about a crappy product that isn’t so bad it warrants some sort of boycott. In the end, you find that the product itself is not only defective but that your competitors have pounced on the weakness of your design and come up with a slightly improved version in the time you were scratching your head at the unrelated data that to *you* told a very different story than what the CRM is telling you.

In that time your competitors have managed to develop and release a better version of what you have, at a comparable price. Therefore, obviously people have instead made it their choice to go with the competitors because it’s not only the same or similar price but it actually works properly unlike what you have to offer. This makes a simple decision in their minds and you begin to lose a valuable customer base. As if that wasn’t bad enough, you also gain a reputation for a less than stellar product that constantly breaks and doesn’t work quite as advertised and so you’re also garnering a negative public persona which is far worse than losing customers. Immediate work needs to be done to fix what’s wrong and the CRM is able to help you sort out what’s needed and what’s not allowing you to focus on bringing back those customers and improving the product either by fixing it, which would be a costly R&D cycle, or by bundling it with better offers to increase the perceived value. There’s always dropping the price, which is what a lot of companies choose to do and that can be done to some extent to eat into the margins a little in order to make more sales. But one of the best things is to pair it up with another product, lower the price for both and put the other, better working product as the front piece with the newer thing as an add-on bonus more or less. That takes pressure off of the underperforming part and allows your company to push forward with a better image. People in general perceive additional items differently, they aren’t judged quite so harshly and they’re taken with a larger amount of gratitude even if the item isn’t that great, they consider it an additional bonus to them and it’s perceived in a softer, more agreeable light than it would have been if released on its own or even improved.

CRM Issues and Articles

Below you’ll find links to various CRM related articles each outlining a particular problem and how a proper CRM is the best solution for it.

Article By: Penguin Writer

Commerce | Business

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