CRM stands for customer relationship management. Effective customer relationships are the lifeblood of successful businesses and the process encompasses everything from the first point of contact to after-sale service. To track and optimize this complex and integral process, companies turn to management software to help them. This software helps keep everything in one place, visually represents the customer journey, and provides indispensable support at every step.
Why do I need CRM software?
Repeat customers can make or break a business, as can positive word of mouth. Your product is only one small part of the equation, equally important is the service the customer experiences throughout their interaction with your business. At its most basic, CRM software allows you to store customer details and interactions in a single place, providing an entire overview of a customer's experience at a single glance. This can then help to tailor the next steps, as well as promptly rectify any complaints.
This customer information can also be leveraged by marketing and sales departments to create more intelligent sales funnels, lead follow-up, and closures, all with the assistance of advanced software tools. At its most advanced, a CRM can track and predict customer behavior to offer data-backed solutions that can increase revenue and user experience.
93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that provided them with excellent customer service. Couple that with the fact that bringing in new customers can be 5-25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones and the need for a comprehensive CRM service becomes clearer.
What features should I look for in quality CRM software?
There is a wide range of features available. Some will be highly applicable to your particular business, others less so. To help simplify the process, here are a few popular features to look out for:
Workflow automation - This is one of the key time-saving features of a CRM. Automation can include sending an immediate follow-up response to a customer or an additional message to a prospect who has not replied within a preset amount of time. If you are a project manager, the CRM software can also send you progress reports and completion notifications for your employees.
Customer service support - The other important factor to consider. At the least, a CRM should provide a comprehensive overview of all the details and past interactions with individual customers. More advanced features can include timeline histories, interaction scripts, and personalized correspondence using the customer's first name.
Social media monitoring - Not all CRM programs will offer this but it can be particularly useful if you have a large social media marketing presence. Having all your profiles collated in a single interface can help you analyze performance and target key areas for growth
Behavioral analysis - This will show you general customer behaviors (e.g. where in the customer journey are leads most likely to drop out) that can in turn help you plug gaps in a sales funnel and optimize targeted selling to your key demographics. It can also be used to predict ROI.
How much does CRM software cost?
Many premium CRM providers charge on a per-usage basis and may vary between $10-$18/month/user. This may be the most suitable option if you have a smaller team of people involved in the customer journey. Single monthly fee models are available, however, the cost only makes sense if you have a large team that will need access to the software.
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