As markets get tougher and competition increases, businesses are doing all they can to streamline internal processes, maximise efficiencies and ultimately improve the overall customer experience. To do so, many are investing in specialist software to improve the day-to-day running of their business.
CRM software is one tried-and-tested method of improving information-flow and communication across businesses — but what is it and how does it work? Here, I answer the burning question: what is CRM software?
What is CRM software?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a system that allows you to do just that—manage your company’s relationships with existing and potential clients, employees, suppliers and anyone else your business may work closely with.
How do you currently manage these relationships? If your contacts are ‘managed’ via a pile of business cards, current opportunities are tracked via multiple versions of the same spreadsheet and meetings are scribbled in diaries, you can definitely benefit from CRM software.
Think of it as essentially a large database where all your business-critical information is stored. By having one centralised hub of information, everyone has access to the up-to-date data they need.
Benefits of CRM software
As I’ve already touched upon, CRM software can bring numerous benefits to businesses across a variety of sectors — especially manufacturing and field service. Below, I'll explain some of the most important features of the software and how they can benefit your business:
Breakdowns in communication are common in businesses, especially those that are rapidly expanding. Think of it as a game of Chinese Whispers — the more employees or people playing, the longer it takes messages to be circulated.
CRM software is a solution that side-steps the boundaries a larger workforce brings. Knowledge will vary across departments in bigger workforces: for example, the customer relations team may know about a client’s future plans, which would naturally benefit sales and marketing. By using a centralised system, all of this knowledge can be collated in one place, keeping everyone up-to-speed. Ultimately, this means greater opportunities for you and improved customer experience.
Access the latest information
Tying into the above point about improved communication, how much time has your business lost as a result of incorrect records, or employees working from the wrong resources? Outside of a centralised management system, multiple versions of the same documents can exist on localised systems — like an employee’s desktop, for example — meaning everybody has access to different information.
This increases the chance of error within manufacturing — if the wrong information is used, how will the correct end-product be delivered? The impact this issue has can be even more severe within field service management. Your field service engineers are already disconnected from HQ — CRM acts as a remote connection, ensuring they have access to the up-to-date information they need.
A CRM system, when used effectively, eliminates the risk of mistakes by providing the latest information to all that need it.
Effective account management
Overall, CRM software allows for more effective account management. Whether it’s a prospective customer or an existing client, you can monitor everything from contact information to order history, quotations, sales calls and complaints.
All of this data works to improve business intelligence and therefore the overall service you can deliver. Offering a more tailored service could be the deciding factor in a client choosing your brand and one of your competitors.
The gaps in your current management systems could be failing your customers more than you realise. As you switch from spreadsheet to spreadsheet or messages fail to be passed on, information is lost. The more information is lost, the less business intelligence you have—and the less able you are to deliver exceptional customer service.
CRM software — when implemented correctly — improves accountability throughout your workplace. This means that when things go wrong, you can easily work out where the issue came from and put processes in place to ensure a similar problem doesn’t happen again.
Automation of tasks
CRM software can ease the pressure on your employees, giving them more time to work on the stuff that really matters. The everyday tasks may be vital, yet through automation and readily accessible data, the time they take can be significantly reduced. All of this works to boost the efficiency of your business.
Unlike some other solutions that are limited to smaller businesses, CRM systems are fully scalable, meaning it can grow as your business does. For you, this means you won’t have the hassle and cost of transitioning to a new system, moving across the information and retraining staff to use the new software.
Here at Kerridge Commercial Systems, our CRM software is integrated into our Field Service and Manufacturing solutions. This means it works seamlessly with our specialist software, minimising the hiccups that can be caused from jumping from one software system to another.
This, in turn, minimises the amount of staff training needed. Rather than spending time delivering training sessions on how to use multiple pieces of software, you can focus your attention on just one, making it clearer for staff and less time-consuming for your business.