Why Should Be Paying More Attention to CRM
Here at ACTUM Digital, we encounter a huge number of companies from all kinds of industries using a myriad of different technologies. Most of them are eager to talk to us about ways that we can help them improve their business flows and streamline their processes.
However, in many cases, they seem to ignore or just don’t appreciate the scope of the improvements that they could be making in one key area - how they manage their relationship with their customers.
It might sound like something of an exaggeration but it’s not as uncommon as you might think for major companies with multi-million Euro revenues to keep all their client information in an actual physical folder (some like to keep things truly retro and use a Rolodex instead).
While storing data in this very archaic way can still work, it comes with serious structural vulnerabilities that can quickly cause major issues for a company as has been demonstrated during Covid times.
The Impact of Covid on Customer Relationships
Key people were suddenly out of action for weeks at a time, leaving everyone scrabbling to pick up the pieces and figure things out as best they could. This was especially damaging for companies whose clients only had single points of contact within the organisation as it was easy for major miscommunications to happen.
These hiccups occurred for a myriad of reasons. A common situation was that critical customer data was often inaccessible to people who needed it.
In other cases, a lack of formalised communication channels meant that different business units would tell the same customer different things, severely muddying the waters and breeding uncertainty.
Given that customer relationships are tricky things where years of painstakingly built trust can quickly evaporate because of poor communication.
As a result of this, Actum has seen a marked shift in attitudes towards the storage of customer data in several highly competitive sectors such as production and industry. More companies have come to understand that skimping on CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a ticking timebomb when it comes to maintaining a good relationship with their clients.
Rather than having a single point of contact, these companies have sought to implement CRM tools within their organisation so that their entire workforce has access to all information on their clients ensuring that they’re always treated appropriately and making back-and-forth communication far easier, no matter who the customer is talking to.
A Difficult Choice – Is CRM for Everyone?
However, as game-changing as a CRM tool is, the process of actually implementing one is not quite as easy as one might hope. It’s not possible just to Google “CRM Tools”, pick one, and then have it up and running within a few weeks.
There is a huge number of CRM options out there and not all of them will be right for every organisation. In fact, depending on the company’s specific needs and requirements, some will be outright wrong choices. However, aligning various business processes to work as one across all the branches is crucial.
Furthermore, once a decision has been made, it’s never as simple as installing the system and hoping for the best, there are almost always major complexities that can threaten the success of any CRM implementation unless handled with care.
For example, one of our clients here at ACTUM needed support implementing their new CRM tool as they had been using 9 separate tools to handle their customer data across 10 countries. Implementing a CRM and unifying the system with customer information across country borders was a huge task to manage.
However, the real challenge arose when it was time to align business processes with nine overall systems across all branches. The task was overwhelming, and figuring out where to start was a daunting challenge. Standardizing sales and customer care methods in different languages and turning it into one overall process was particularly complex and required a specialist's expertise, which is why they reached out to us for assistance.
How to Achieve Full Transformation with a CRM Tool?
To get the most out of a CRM tool, huge shifts in company culture have to be undertaken that in most cases have impacts at every level of the organisation. People need to be trained to use the new system and processes require revisions and updates to take full advantage of the tool. Additionally, new reports have to be made so that sense can be made of the fresh data that the teams will have access to.
All of this takes time (and a lot of it). On top of the time commitment, companies need to have a crystal-clear idea about why they’re implementing the new tools and what they’re looking to achieve to actually see measurable benefits from their efforts. Without these driving forces, it’s very easy for companies to only manage a partial transition and to find themselves in a kind of limbo state with sections of the organisation still using large parts of the old system, saddling them with all the costs of a CRM tool but few of the benefits.
So, if you aren’t already thinking about CRM and how it could benefit your business, now is the time to start. We can help your business evaluate different solutions according to your custom needs and help you with the implementation.
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