Customer Relationship Management or CRM software have been the buzzwords in the business world for some time now. The last twenty five years have seen the concept grow, evolve and radically change the way business is conducted. The idea has been dynamic and continuous evolution. Every product goes through various stages like inception, growth, maturity; and every stage requires a different strategy to manage it. What starts today as a novel concept, advances and gets upgraded over time. The newer versions hit the market and slowly the old becomes obsolete. So what is an absolute necessity is innovation.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is an integrated technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers in a unified platform. The objective is simple: Boost profitable relationships. A CRM system helps companies to deliver personalized engagement to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.
In business discussions, CRM is usually referred to as suite of CRM tools that helps with contact management, sales service and marketing management, productivity, and more.
The main objectives of using a CRM platform is to extract maximum lifecycle value from existing customers, finding new customers, deliver targetted messaging, winning their business, and providing support and additional services throughout the relationship.
A broad classification can be:
Customization -CRM solutions started off as a general concept. The idea has changed the way businesses and economies have evolved. In today’s business world, information is the key and moreover that information needs to be customized. So what companies will increasingly look forward to is personalized engagement. Every organization is different and so are the strategies that need to be implemented. Personalized or company specific software are more functional than standardized software solutions. This enables the user to customize the information primarily important to him rather than getting generalized reports.
Scalability - Large organizations spend millions per year on CRM solutions. Alas, integration with core systems tend to break when the size of data increases and processes are complex. Automated Integration with scale is the key to the best CRM software.
Security - Large corporations are not very comfortable hosting data with a third party provider and prefer licensing the software. This of course has high cost implications. Balancing the cost dimension with the requirements is what CRM solutions look into.
The most exciting feature of technology is how it co-relates and fuses with other technologies and produces results which weren’t really fathomed before. Certain areas which are rapidly forming way for next generation CRM are:
Social CRM - A fast evolving concept which is growing by the day is Social CRM, also known as Collaborative CRM. The idea is to understand the client completely and engage the client in the process to provide an overall satisfying experience. The importance of Social CRM can be gauged from the growth in social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in where the growth in the number of users has been phenomenal. It is here that the social customer expresses his interests, enquires, makes his deals and gives feedback. It is fast becoming a process companies need to integrate into their systems for analyzing the future trends.
Voice-enabled software - Apple's Siri can follow your voice commands and you can talk to it the way you would talk to a person. It gives a direction to how CRM software can increase productivity in the daily routine of a user. As users get more exposed to such speech oriented technologies, the interactive capabilities grow manifold and the usage for CRM solutions multiply exponentially.
Real-time, anywhere - As the concept of CRM developed; companies have made heavy investments into the product. However, they are now increasingly looking at maximizing the return on their investments in a dynamically changing business scenario. Real time CRM analytics is already gaining prominence and is set to further revolutionize the way business is conducted. Responding to client’s request or enquiry in real time and maintaining the credibility and integrity of the decision making process is what will become of prime importance. What cannot be compromised alongside is the high level of personalization of information which will be sought. As the users get savvier and more demanding; efficiency, effectiveness, reliability, customization and speed of decision making will need a much higher level of integration. Also this information is made avaialble using tablets, mobile phones, sms, email, voice etc.
CRM solutions are so intrinsically embedded in the core concept of businesses, that the only way for it is forward. As environments change, technologies advance, users, providers and markets mature, the demands shall grow further and the need for innovation will be higher. With Customer Relationship Management, companies unlock the potential and add further dimensions to their business operations, thereby scaling new heights.