CRM

The Role Of Customer Facing Operations With CRM

Customer relationship management is a strategy
focusing on the customer making their experience
excellent with the business.

The customer facing operations aspect of CRM is vital
because these are the individuals the customers have
direct contact with.

People can be the customer facing operations portion
and provide the experience the company desires when
they work in positions as customer service, sales, or
any position that has direct contact with.

When you have direct contact with a customer and you
are polite and courteous then you are creating a good
experience for them and it makes them want to come
back. This includes answering any questions the
customer might have and if you don’t know the answer
then finding someone who does.

When you are rude or discourteous to a customer then
you are creating a bad experience and potentially
losing a customer for life.

Computer systems and other forms of technology might
be the responsible for CRM also. This might include
data terminals in a book store you use to look up
books, public computers at a library, or the wireless
access you would like to use in your bedroom.

If the equipment you offer to a customer for use
doesn’t work then this too is creating a bad
experience which may also cause you to lose a
customer. Especially, if you offer wireless Internet
in a hotel room and it is not working.

This is because many people will stay at your hotel
because they need to be able to get work done while
they are traveling. You will lose them as a customer
if your equipment isn’t functional.

CRM is a strategy that focuses on every aspect of the
business to create an outstanding experience for your
customers.

The customer facing operations is the portion of the
business that has the most contact with the customer.

The Power of CRM 2.0

The voice of the common man has been amplified tenfold
with the advent of Web 2.0, as seen when people gain
fame and recognition due to their contributions in
blogs, wikis, forums and podcasts. It seems as if
every opinion is heard and each word that they say
count. With the massive amount of users surfing
through the internet and with some people needing
advertisements in their webpages for income, this has
become a wonderful opportunity for companies to tap
into this potential oil rig of prospective customers.

Since companies are taking great efforts to reach out
to consumers in the internet, software publishers have
announced the arrival of the modern CRM: CRM 2.0.
Along with the basic tools of CRM applications, Web
2.0 technologies are integrated into these programs,
allowing businesses to keep track of the likes and
buying patterns of online customers/ shoppers. This
also gives leeway for marketers to present their
products more forcefully and convincingly without the
need of an expensive marketing research team for
information…CRM 2.0 can do the job perfectly.

Collaborative leanings

The main feature and driving force of CRM 2.0 is that
it’s inherently collaborative, putting the business
and consumer on the same page for the benefit of both.
With also the versatility of CRM software, marketers
and PR agents can truly engage the consumer across
multiple points. The assurance of the client’s
attention is guaranteed given that he/she has visited
a specialized site (e.g sports site) that is in
accordance with the target market of the business (in
the previous example, Nike is the perfect company to
reach out in that site).

Also, given human nature’s tendency to believe in the
testimonials of peers rather than repetitive marketing
pitches, the presence of blogs and podcasts create an
opportunity for companies to find legitimate models to
talk about their products, and spread the benefits of
their products to the market. This then encourages a
two-way exchange of communication where firms can hear
about the good and bad side of their products, giving
them inexpensive access about consumer concerns, which
will in turn help the company’s business strategy.

Lower costs

With the internet having more and more surfers every
year, this gives companies potentially more knowledge
about the market and also giving less value to those
expensive research firms, which implicitly benefits
big companies and handicaps small ones. Such is the
reach of Web 2.0, and it is necessary that
entrepreneurs be aware of its massive reach, which has
insight on literally billions of voices from around
the world.

Monitoring costs are also slashed and advertising too,
since the latter can be done in single click in a
consumer reports website and the latter’s cost is
based on the frequency of clicks on the company’s
banner. In the end, the company is getting closer to
that sweet dot in the profit maximization graph.

Lend an ear

Communications is developing at a staggering rate. Two
decades ago, text messaging and picture messages are
unheard of. Today, online video conferences can be
done and every internet surfer has an unsaid
opportunity to be a journalist or be a plain concerned
consumer, warning people of the boons and banes of
products. Either way, it benefits companies greatly.
And with the help of the organizational prowess of CRM
2.0 applications, managers and entrepreneurs should
lend an ear for millions speak their mind behind the
monitor.

The Executive, Consumer and CRM

In today’s information age, the typical consumer is
continually getting lost and confused in the sea of
random facts, news and reviews; which are just a click
away in the information superhighway that is the
Internet. The declining stock value of « clogged » Web
sites such as Yahoo.com proves this, as surfers are
slowly averting their eyes from these kind of sites
and subsequently go to more specialized (and therefore
credible) ones that truly cater to their needs:
ESPN.com for the sports buff and BBC.co.uk for the
current events-savvy businessman.

These are the types of things that any Marketing
Department of an enterprise should jot down on their
databases whenever they’re trying to reach out to
their target market; and this proves the growing
importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
in today’s information-clogged era.

Approach

The approach of CRM utilizes every facet of the
organization; and each of those groups go hand-in-hand
in order to achieve what the enterprise is meant to do
in the first place: please customers, which, in turn,
cultivates brand loyalty, leading to a gradual
increase in profit.

The core departments for the building
corporate-consumer relationships are the Internals and
Marketing Department as they direct the mechanisms and
paint the image of the company, respectively. The
former, for instance, guides the whole enterprise by
creating policies and safety nets in accordance to the
company’s philosophy. The latter on the other hand,
identifies their target market and will find ways to
cater to their needs.

These lay the background for the other departments,
who see to it that the complex machinery that is the
corporation gets what it wants with the greatest
efficiency (Human Resources) and with a clean and
respectable image to boot (Public Relations).

Delivery

But given all this massive information about consumer
wants, performance ratings, cost-efficiency ratio and
tons more, how does a company streamline all this to
make the information as convenient for the Brand
Manager as it is for the Marketing Analyst? CRM
software: technology gives enterprises, big or small,
a chance to gobble up all the statistics and facts
that hound them and present it in a clear and
simplified manner.

Products such as the web based Infusionsoft and
outlook based ProphetCRM offer entrepreneurs and
managers alike different features and conveniences
atop of the standard contact and referral tracking
management options. So to speak, there are specific
CRMs that cater to small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
and also to the heavyweights of the corporate world.

The growing need for consumer-centric strategies

In this rapidly globalizing world, where trade borders
are gone and the once daunting walls that are tariffs
eroded, companies, old and new, are jostling to be on
the top spot in their respective industries. This is a
time where one needs to know more than the other with
regards to consumer desires simply to survive the
corporate wolves’ den.

Information is the key: not only do they have to
recognize their primary and secondary target markets,
they have to « be them »: they have to engross
themselves into their customer’s culture, empathizing
with their feelings about products and correcting
themselves whenever they hear complaints about the
company’s shortcomings and faults. What better way to
be figuratively a part of them by the means of
observance of sales tracking, surveys, employee
relations, service reconstructing and the like? That’s
the beauty of CRM and technology, hand in hand.

The Benefit Of Implementing CRM

There are many benefits to implementing a CRM solution
into your company. Many of the benefits include
synergy, sales, and a happy customer.

Most cases of the implementation of a Customer
Relationship Management solution have improved
processes, flow, and the customer experience.

Synergy is one of the biggest benefits of implementing
a CRM system into your business. You might have a
company and it seems as if the departments are
detached and they don’t talk to each other.

Maybe one department thinks they are more important
than the other. This type of attitude happens all of
the time and by creating a CRM strategy with your
entire organization it can improve these attitudes.

This will give everyone the knowledge how important
each department and position is and how they provide
an excellent customer experience.

When you make a job important to the employee who is
working in the position they tend to want to do a
better job. This is because they feel important as an
employee.

When your employees have a clear understanding of the
importance of CRM then you will see improvements
across the organization.

Sales will improve also because customers notice a big
difference when an employee is working for a company
and they don’t feel their job makes a difference.

When employees are happy it rubs off on the customers.
They will want to return and they will recommend your
business to other people too.

The biggest benefit of implementing a CRM strategy
within your organization is by improving the overall
employee morale.

When morale is improved with the employees then so is
their performance and their attitude about their
impact on the company.

Teaching New Employees About CRM

One of the best strategies a company can have is
putting new employees through a Customer Relations
Management training session before they begin their
jobs.

Human Resources can make this happen and this will
ensure the employees begin their positions the way
they should.

Human resources are the department that should be
responsible for ensuring a Customer Relationship
Management module is in place and working properly.

They should work closely with management and employees
to ensure everyone knows their role as an employee and
that they have a clear understanding of their job
responsibilities.

Human Resources can help an employee understand how
their position ties in with the entire company and how
they are important.

All employees entering into the company should
immediately go through a CRM training program. This
will give the employees a clear understanding of the
company’s goals and where they want to be headed.

An employee can also understand how their particular
position is important for the company to meet the
desired goals and why the company needs them. It is
important to instill a sense of importance into the
employee from the get go so they begin their new
position with a sense of being needed.

When you don’t instill these things in an employee
immediately, they may think they are just collecting a
check and have a bad attitude.

Human Resources should work closely with the
management and all of the employees in a company to
ensure everyone is working toward the company goals
and they believe in them.

New employees should immediately be placed in a
Customer Relationship Management solution to empower
the employee and give them an understanding of their
importance.

MS Outlook Based CRMs Bring Out The Best In SMEs

Almost every enterprise uses Microsoft’s operating
system to track and manage data in the company. And
thus, a lot of managers are familiar with MS Outlook
and its excellent e-mail management. However, it
doesn’t fulfill other essential features like a good
database engine. However, there are programs on the
web that utilize Outlook’s strengths and builds on its
weaknesses. Furthermore, they add CRM and Contact
Management solutions in the program, completely
beefing up the system. And these programs are
Outlook-based CRMs.

Benefits

The end result of embedding these CRM solutions in
Outlook creates a more powerful and versatile CRM
software. Not only are there added features (which are
standard to CRM apps) that contribute to more sales
and a sturdier database, the basic features of Outlook
are enhanced to give the company more convenience in
team-to-team communications. Sharing is one of those
features, where Outlook address books are passed along
networks without the assistance of MS Exchange Server.
Users can also share calendars so that there will be
no time-consuming conversations about finding a common
free time for meetings and whatnot. Lastly, tasks can
also be shared, bringing team members closer to each
other with a push of a button.

Given that the software is flexible, can it be also
hassle-free? The answer is yes. Synchronization
processes are now not required, the pains of external
database management are tempered and there will be
absolutely no problems whenever the user works
offline. Contacts, workflows and assignments are
available and can be utilized swiftly in an
Outlook-based CRM. This is because it works fully
within MS Outlook, storing your customer information
in the Outlook Contact, Task, Appointment and Journal
entries a typical entrepreneur uses every day.

Why Outlook based CRMs are ideal for SMEs

Amidst the hustle and bustle world of SMEs, being the
first to act is crucial for survival not only against
competitors but also the bigwigs who control the
general market. The recurring question is that can
Outlook-based CRMs rival open-source ones in terms of
quickness?

They can make a case for that. One is that the user
stays in one application; every other user needs to
shuffle through different email accounts and
specialized auditing programs to find the perfect
information for his/her client. In the end, the
absence of this obvious hassle is that there will be
more pleasurable user experience, consequently
triggering improved productivity. Second, training
costs will be dampened given the universal familiarity
of Microsoft’s program interfaces, which equates to
snipping hidden costs and help pile up savings for
future investments.

There is also an observation of transparency in the
program: the user can capture customer e-mails with
just a click. With this capability, you and your sales
professionals can cultivate transparency and associate
correspondence to the appropriate contact, account or
opportunity for essential sales activity tracking.

Conclusion

Versatility, familiarity and the little details make
Outlook-based CRMs like MX Contact and ProphetCRM a
good choice for small and medium enterprises. It
provides the magic of CRM philosophy, boosting up
sales, improves on a company’s marketing strategies
and builds brand and customer loyalty. Also, it gives
the plethora of the conveniences of embedded CRM
software: it operates on a peer to peer network and
stores massive amounts of information that is
necessary for a company’s jolt to the top. With these
said, Outlook-based CRMs truly bring out the best in
SMEs.

Leave It To The Experts: ACT-Today And Its Top-notch Service

Given the well-publicized reliability of CRM software
nowadays, executives and entrepreneurs alike are
forgetting about one important aspect of Consumer
Relationship Management: the philosophy that drives
it, and the knowledge to execute it perfectly.
Australia’s ACT Today has proven itself to be one of
the premier providers of ACT! and sageCRM.com
services.

ACT Today’s highly touted and select few consultants
(hovering around 20) are top-notch CRM experts and
will definitely has the smarts to transfer concept to
reality in a contracted time span. Not only do they
provide support to their clients, they also have
training centers strategically placed in important
areas in Australia from Adelaide to Melbourne. If the
customer doesn’t live in Australia, ACT Today also
offers online training, which doesn’t lack in quality.

Services

CRM is a highly complex business philosophy, and
ACT-Today gives its clients the finest in every major
CRM category. For the Marketing departments of the
organization, ACT-Today provides Data Analysis and
Report Designing to find out the sweetest target
market and the correct amount of supply to be sold for
the latter and to impress peers and build partnerships
for future gains in the latter.

For newcomers to the ACT! software, ACT-Today can
convert existing databases to ACT!’s format, giving
the image of a company that truly values its
customer’s databases as much as theirs.

Also, rivaling open-source CRMs, the company offers
custom programming, featuring a corral of elite
« in-house » programmers that deftly designs programs
that integrate with ACT! and adhere to the company’s
needs and fixes on its weaknesses. It does this by
making tailor made add-ons to enhance the power of the
ACT! database that rivals open-source CRMs like
SugarCRM. This also gives a firm’s CRM strategy some
needed flexibility.

With the wonderful support from ACT-Today’s certified
ACT consultants and programmers, this gives clients
high business intelligence that keeps their company’s
ahead of the race.

Cost-effective

On paper, ACT-Today’s price ranges seem a lot for the
typical entrepreneur. But the CRM consultancy firm
does more than simply support the company and help it
grow. Implicitly, by investing on the said firm, the
client is investing on the future. CRMs benefits have
always outweighed its costs; and ACT-Today is the gold
standard for CRM consulting and training. With
CRM-savvy managers and employees, future costs are
also lessened because a good company would take up
everything that they learned from CRM consultancy
firms and try to cultivate their own. Productivity
must be compounded by innovation, and if a company
sticks to that rule, profits will rise in the end.

Future bonds with partnerships and relationships with
clients are priceless in the business world. Customer
Relationship Management helps attain that and with the
technological expertise and shrewdness of ACT-Today’s
consultants and programmers, they bring out the
company’s full potential for the correct utilization
of the CRM.

Conclusion

CRM is never fully realized without the latest in
technology and the elite specialists in tow. No
company that sells products can truly attain that by
themselves, so it needs a guide as much as a traveler
needs the north star. With ACT-Today being the top
ACT! consulting firm, every small enterprise looking
to be the next big thing can find its north star with
CRM and ACT-Today.

Jumpstart Your CRM Strategies With These Tips

For every executive, entrepreneur and those ubiquitous
managers, customer databases are priceless. They move
in ways that are primarily targeted on making their
current customers happy and bringing in new ones on a
regular basis.

If the number of clients climb to degrees that are
simply difficult to handle, a CRM application can aid
one on this. But what can this type of application do
to benefit managers? CRM stands for customer resource
management, a philosophy that every manager must build
into his/her company.

A basic characteristic of which is that it keeps
things organized in order to utilize efficiently
potential clients that are in queue. With this in
place, managers can, in increasing degrees, understand
their customers and build a lasting relationship with
them.

CRM software does this by helping the user collate
data, organize it and making it look as clean as
possible so as to help the manager find any flaws in
the sales process that hamper the firm’s profit goals.

How to maximize CRM First things first: a company must
understand that CRM is essential in improving customer
loyalty and adheres to the notion that a CRM
initiative is one of the most important and
influential action a firm will ensue.

If this is in place, one must make a commitment to
organizational development in order to follow the
principles CRM entails. In the future, different teams
in the organization will discover the wonderful
answers to the riddles CRM poses and also see that
these same answers also sheds light on where customer
touch points interact and which information (buying
patterns) is necessary or not.

Also, managers will also identify which business
practices work and which ones don’t. So to speak, an
organization must commit itself firstly to the CRM
philosophy and follow everything stipulated on its
invisible handbook in order to extract CRM’s
potential.

Second, the manager must know how to adjust their
operations and see valid connections within teams
depending on projects and workflows. This seems like a
total hassle, but it is the next and only step towards
building a solid corporate strategy that a company
must believe in.

CRM software helps this by creating a matrix of all
problems identified and solutions discussed. With
this, one can see and compare challenges across
different departments and identify potential changes
in the company’s strategies that will help solve these
issues.

With this done, the firm will be developing in the
long run a standardized sales process premised on
proven business practices which can integrate into
different departments like Marketing and Human
Resources.

Understand Trade-offs With a new philosophy and
business strategy in tow, basic principles in
economics will be clearer to the naked eye, guiding
the manager on how to maximize profits and pose an
excellent cost/efficiency ratio.

CRM solutions like SugarCRM help executives understand
these concepts, given that the whole application is
fully customizable, an Iron Man in disguise, with many
weapons and tricks potentially available in disguise.
With all these things set up, one can finally utilizes
the potential Customer Relationship Management offers
to the industry. One, it makes thing more organized.

Two, holes in the system will be found easily. Three,
opportunity costs and trade offs will be gleaned and
finally, costs shall be down and profit shall store
substantially, given that consumers truly enjoy the
firm’s product and it has an efficient Marketing
system that lures more clients.

It’s The Little Things That Matter: Mobile CRM And Its Advantages

Gone are the times when deals are closed with
face-to-face meetings, where service call reports and
proposals pile up in offices and those late hours
where people have to frantically rush over to offices
for deadlines. The modes of communication have now far
transcended the sweet nothings of lovers in opposite
areas of the world and sponsorship agreements of firms
across time zones in the 90’s tech boom.

Today, immense amounts of data depict inventory
controls, consumer interactions and sales forecasting
bolt through the Communications & Media superhighway,
landing on the desks of managers, partners and the
like, perusing on those priceless data for that
competitive advantage in their industries.

A lean, quick and efficient workplace is crucial to an
enterprise’s success; and even though Mobile CRM takes
a lot out of the company’s funds, there is no better
opportunity to improve upon on the sales and marketing
weaknesses of the firm and build upon its strengths.
In the long run, Mobile CRM takes advantage of best
communications technology and actually gives the bang
for the firm’s buck.

Functionality

As corporations get larger, the importance of the
mobility of data through different areas in the world
also heightens in staggering degrees. Certain tastes
in the Chinese market may hamper with an American
corporation’s thrust towards globalizing its brand.

In order to tackle these kinds of problems, the firm
must dig for information, scouring the land for
snippets of culture to gain insight on these specific
consumers’ tastes and needs. Inventory reports must be
shown periodically to Brand managers, in order to
adjust their marketing strategies to adjust the tab of
market demand to adhere perfectly to the companies’
supplies.

Every little detail is integral for corporations,
especially multinationals, in order to discover common
consumer likes and finally think of « China’s
Coca-Cola ». Such is the beauty of mobility in a
globalized economy, and Mobile CRM gives the companies
these agile strides for better efficiency and
functionality.

Fuel up sales

The primary reason Mobile CRM is very beneficial to a
company is how it tracks every facet of the firm’s
moves, from a sales consultant in London, a brand
strategist in Singapore, all reporting on demand
shifts, inventory surpluses and more to the
headquarters a thousand miles away. Again, this
regular updating of databases influential to a
company’s business decisions gets to where it heads
to, in record time, to the Project Manager, who makes
the necessary adjustments for the success of his team.
This in turn helps them avoid catastrophic mistakes,
which can potentially cost them millions of dollars.

Conclusion

A simple look at our industries tell everything about
the importance of mobility: tech companies concocting
ideas on what could be the next biggest trend, asking
themselves what is the next Motorola RAZR or Apple
iPod. It’s a race for innovation for these types of
companies where relentless focus group discussions,
surveys and interviews are held, drafted and given,
respectively. Mobile CRM helps them get to that level.
Everything from company image and sales reports are
written in intricate databases which are passed along
and discussed by different groups of the organization,
all focused to do one thing: hitting the market at the
sweet spot, and consequently getting the jackpot.

Internal Collaborative Functional Operations In CRM

The people who work on the back end of a business are
ultimately responsible for the way things work for a
company.

Although, to a customer their work and duties are not
visible, they are the ultimate lifeline for CRM.

Many of these positions include departments like
information technology, billing, maintenance,
planning, marketing, advertising and more.

The Information Technology department assists with
internal collaborations by ensuring the employees have
phone lines, computers to work on, and information
processes in place. When these are not occurring as
they should be then the employees are unable to do
their jobs.

An Advertising department also works behind the scenes
for the customers to create an image for the company.
They also create discounts and coupons for the
customers. The advertising department is in charge of
grabbing the attention of the customer in a positive
way.

The manufacturing department is who is responsible for
creating the customer’s products. This department is
usually noticed the least along with the maintenance
department.

Although the customer’s primary purpose is to purchase
the product coming from manufacturing they never
experience contact with these people.

Manufacturing ensures good CRM by creating a quality
product and using quality assurance methods to be sure
the customer’s never get a defective product.

There are many departments that work behind the scenes
to ensure the customers have an excellent experience
with a company.

According to the strategy and theory of quality CRM,
the entire company and every department is responsible
for creating the experience.