What value could CRM software add to my business?

After 10 years of business I feel my logistics company’s office technology needs an overhaul. In particular, I’m looking to upgrade our customer relationship management (CRM) software. We have all types of contact from our customers and want to bring it all together. What would you suggest our approach to this should be to really improve the business?

A. Graham Bunting of Avaya writes:

CRM’s goal is to help sales people manage leads and opportunities, measure and forecast sales activity, track customer communications efficiently and automate key stages in the sales process. This produces a shorter cycle, higher close rates and improved customer retention. It should also improve your ability to handle requests, without increasing headcount, providing customers with a consistent and efficient service.

Customers decide how they make contact with your business, so it’s important to be able to meet them in the way they choose. You need to accommodate emails, web contact, maybe SMS texts and, of course, voice calls. Despite the rise in email and SMS, voice is still the preferred choice for the majority. So a fully integrated CRM solution must capture caller details and make a database look up and display a customer record at the time the phone is answered.

Imagine contacting your bank and having your inquiry promptly answered by a friendly person who uses your name and appears to be very well informed about your business. They have all your previous correspondence at their finger-tips and can provide information about the services they offer. Should specialist help be needed, you will be directed to another employee with that experience. All the transactions and conversations could be recorded and added to the record for later retrieval if necessary. In summary, you have had an excellent customer experience.

Of course, a successful CRM solution isn’t just about technology, it’s also dependent on your staff. It’s vital they are well trained and that this is covered before you make the investment. The supplier must also be able to integrate the CRM with your voice platform, customise the solution and perform data transfer. Above all they will need a demonstrably good understanding of your business.

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