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Why your CRM plans can help you out of a customer experience stall

21st Dec 2015
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Stagnation. Not a word that should be connected with customer experience (CX), but according to the most recent  KPMG-Nunwood report, CX has failed to increase  in the last two years among UK businesses, with many struggling to capitalise on their investment in related technologies.

As an example, CRM software spending has grown by over 13% compared to last year, with 0% improvement based on 2014 performance. Yet this just proves CRM is a discipline, not just a technology, and that the workforce using the technology is as important as the CRM system itself.

CRM has the potential to improve customer experience no matter what industry you’re in, but the goals set up by companies, in terms of CX, often fall short as there is regularly the wrong culture within the business to support operations. Cultivating a culture to ensure CRM works effectively is more than just looking at peripheral actions of the employees - it requires your company to become truly customer-centric, supported by advanced CRM analytics

By prioritising a positive culture within your own business, you will see it filter down to your customers. Customers will notice if an employee is engaged and positive, and they will sense the enthusiasm and see it as an indicator of how they will be treated during the process. However, personalising the customer experience can only be achieved if employees have the right information and know how to apply it to customer relations.

Delivering a good customer experience is not only down to the client-facing departments of the business but also the C-suite that set out your company and technology strategies. Your business needs to offer customers a better experience or you risk losing out in market share in this competitive landscape. Implementing a strong CRM strategy is a major part of this:

Including customer opinions in the decision-making

When thinking about customer opinions, you need to remember their buying behaviour and what they like / don’t like. It's important to think of the strategy from a different point of view. Each customer will be different, offering a unique idea that shows what is working and what needs to be worked on during the  planning process. With this approach, you will be able to get a feel of how potential changes in product services or corporate structure will impact your customers.

Educating all members of the business on CRM

It is argued that the sales and marketing teams are the ones who find the most value from CRM systems, but this is actually not always the case. Data provided is pivotal for your business, therefore, every business unit should be using CRM. Only with company-wide adoption can the data be more effectively used to excel customer expectations. Furthermore, making sure the CRM system is adapted to your business needs is vital as certain departments will require different data or analytics. CRM tools are beneficial for the whole organisation, thus inputting data or producing reports should be second nature to all employees. Multi-departmental collaboration is key to moving customer service beyond stagnation.

Strategising before acting

Before undertaking the task of educating all members of the business on the intricacies of the CRM system, it is important to have a concrete strategy in place. Defining what is to be achieved with the CRM systems will save time during the implementation process as it will be clear what tools and analytics will be appropriate. 

It’s also an imperative that your employees are involved in the planning process; allowing them to share their points of view of what they would like to gain from the new technology and to contribute to core business objectives. Having a degree of flexibility within the strategy will also allow for amends to be made which could be supported with regular review meetings. An expert within the CRM field could be brought in too, offering a third-person perspective with educated recommendations on what the company should do next in its strategy process. 

Does the analytics enable you to use big data?

Customer loyalty is vital for the successful running of your business. Big data can play a role in helping convert prospects into leads and retain them as customers beyond the initial purchase with improved customer experience. The way to achieve this is to have analytics in place that can allow your company  to not only collect data but also use it to prescribe actions for teams to improve the customer experience. Data could consist of buying behaviour, device used and conversion paths and offer your company a comprehensive view of the customer journey.

If you follow these actions, your company can set out on the path to becoming truly customer-centric. CRM is crucial for building profitable customer relationships but it also requires a human touch, where consumers feel like they are being looked after as an individual and not just another number. As the report by KPMG stated, the UK Customer Experience top 100 achieved double the 5-year revenue growth of the FTSE 100, which shows that having a strong CX strategy in place alongside your CRM is essential for staying ahead of the game.

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