We all know last year did not go according to plan. Most of us are only just resuming some level of normalcy in our lives. Some are still struggling to keep up with the rapid transformation in how we work and facilitate business online.
In this time, companies need to be innovative in their planning and execution as opportunities arise and spikes in customer demand go unaddressed by closed businesses.
One way to improve business processes and accelerate digital transformation is by leveraging an end-to-end customer relationship management system, also known as a CRM.
What is a customer relationship management system?
A customer relationship management system is software used to manage a company’s customer relationships and interactions. These systems consolidate communication channels, engage and automatically remind existing clients/leads, and handle revenue administration, utilising various invoicing, subscription and online payment gateway integrations.
Before we dive into discussing the benefits of a CRM, I would like you to imagine a story or business; let’s call it Paula’s Bread Shop. Paula’s first year in business was fantastic. She revolutionised the jam puff by introducing the only custard-filled puff of its kind on the island. However, after COVID-19 arrived, Paula’s store traffic began to fall as people were uncertain of when they were allowed to shop due to a lack of clear communication on protocols at the time. As a result, Paula was forced to temporarily close her store and wait for the pandemic to blow over.
When that didn’t work, Paula called me.
I shared with her what I’m going to share with you in this article – six ways a customer relationship management system can help your business.
6 Benefits of Using a Customer Relationship Management System
1. Customer Insights
Customer data is essential to supporting the decisions of a business’s sales team, providing actionable insights and managing a company’s reputation.
Let’s take Paula’s Bread Shop as an example. She implemented the use of a CRM system. She can review historical sales data in her CRM and deduce what customers will likely demand from her shop by season. She’s also able to get an idea of when they are most likely to buy. These insights shape the customer experience and provide clients with a sense of familiarity and personalisation, fostering brand loyalty.
Communication is fundamental for any business. In the case of our Bread Shop we’re referring to the discussions and conversations Paula engages in to facilitate her business – ordering supplies, taking orders and organising her employees. We are all familiar with the phrase, “sorry, just saw your message,” and in a time when people are messaging more than ever, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and fall behind on your customer engagement. A CRM can help make this entire process simpler.
Despite Paula’s clients choosing to message her on WhatsApp, Facebook, and direct text, a CRM solution, such as Thryv, leverages artificial intelligence to provide a single stream of communication. From this communication stream within the Thryv system, she can easily respond and deliver automated reminders for upcoming deliveries or order deadlines.
She can also use the integrated calendar to schedule orders through manipulation of the invites and registration feature.
3. Reputation Management
To really distinguish herself from her competition, Paula’s business will need the support of her customers. Positive feedback and reviews listed online will increase the Bread Shop’s ranking among similar businesses for relevant searches, leading to potential increased revenue.
A customer relationship management system’s functionalities serve to increase website traffic through up-to-date online listings, such as Google My Business. A CRM also provides real-time tracking of customer ratings and reviews, which can be replied to within the system.
The CRM system will serve as the launchpad for Paula’s social media promotional activities providing an interactive overview of active social media campaigns across multiple platforms simultaneously.
4. Online Payments
Given the current social climate and strict distancing protocols, we can’t overlook the significant advantage CRMs provide with digital fulfilment of payments.
Relying on a network of industry-leading payment processors, systems like Thryv offer easy and secure credit card processing at extremely competitive rates. Thryv also doesn’t charge extra for any online, phone or other card-not-present transactions.
Get paid via Paypal, Venmo, Square, Apple Pay, Stripe or Google Pay directly through your customer relationship management system.
Imagine that Paula’s feeling fed up with her outstanding accounts. The CRM system utilises interactive estimates and invoices, which can be set to provide clients or leads with automated reminders for their overdue payments, while also providing the functionality for payments to be made prior, during or after they’re due.
5. Appointment Booking
A businesswoman like Paula would be well aware of how much time she loses every day having to communicate with clients and take orders. That’s time which could’ve gone towards creating more goods!
Customer relationship management systems seek to fulfil these administrative needs with interactive appointment booking modules and chat boxes, providing clients with real-time availability for services and following up with automated reminders.
6. Document Storage and Sharing
Businesses are always hunting for a reliable, secure means of transferring important documents and content with clients in an easily reconcilable manner. And this is where another incredibly useful feature of some CRM systems comes in: secure document storage and sharing.
Furthermore, with CRMs such as Thryv, you have the advantage of defining exactly which documents are permitted for internal and external use. Doing this allows users to upload documents and transfer them directly to existing CRM contacts securely and quickly and keep a record of any revisions made by permitted users.
A function like this is most beneficial for businesses desiring long-term client information storage, particularly companies that are highly reliant on physically printed records.
So, there you have it, six benefits of a CRM. A customer relationship management system offers several advantages and can help your business on the road to digital transformation. If you ever wondered if a CRM was worth it, now you know, the answer is absolutely.
Philip King is an ID Digital Media Consultant with a background in business intelligence, luxury villa rentals, event management and cryptocurrency, particularly as it relates to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) which he collects for NFTCaribbean’s digital gallery.
Technology has always been an integral part of Philip’s life, so, his articles aim to break down seemingly ‘complex’ solutions for clients, in relatable, relevant business terms.
Despite this love of tech, Philip’s real passion lies in creating stories and experiences. He partakes in numerous sailing ventures between Barbadian islands, organising island hikes & drives within Barbados. Recently he’s been leveraging digital marketing tools and techniques to organise and promote protocol compliant events during the current COVID-19 pandemic.