Though it may seem like something new, customer relationship management (CRM) is as old as business itself. Only the methods have changed.
CRM has evolved from early hunters remembering what the family on the other side of the hill was willing to trade for, to a shopkeeper, artisan or tradesman remembering what a customer has bought and perhaps writing it down somewhere.
Later, it evolved into spreadsheets analyzing and breaking down the monthly sales report to collecting email addresses and sales histories electronically and tracking usage across a variety of platforms.
As a 21st-century business owner, sure, you could take the time required to obtain and analyze this data yourself. You might find, like others have, that the resources required take time and money away from other things that you should be doing.
Effective CRM can help all retailers gain added sales.
What CRM Software Can Do For You
These resources are why the importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for a business cannot be underestimated. It does all this for you. More benefits are highlighted here.
Of course, it’s fundamental purpose is to increase sales, but CRM is much more than collecting an email address. In fact, it serves the same function as CRM has throughout history: allowing business owners to maintain a personal relationship with customers in today’s online world.
Use It Right, Reap The Rewards
Properly used, a good CRM program can completely revolutionize how a business interacts with its customers. It aggregates all of your customer information – personal data, sales history, feedback – from all possible channels, in store, online and mobile. Good CRM software will tell you not only what customers have bought in the past and what they are likely to buy in the future, but when and how they bought it. It will tell you what customers are active and the best way to target them, and which ones are not active, and the best way to target them, too.
Plan, Plan Plan
CRM can foster future sales by not only providing historical sales data but by properly analyzing trends; CRM can help identify your top customers for the upcoming quarter. With this information, it is easy to target and prioritize customers and plan inventory needs and sales plans.
CRM data also shows not only what customers have bought in the past, but, equally important, what targeted products they haven’t bought. This information also provides valuable cross-sale opportunities.
Practicing Safe CRM
The trust between a customer and business is not easily gained, but it can be easy to lose. That’s why there is no substitute for utilizing CRM software that keeps your business and customer data safe. It is not always easy to see this in a bottom line, but the cost of protecting your customer’s data is always less than the cost of lost sales because of a security breach.
It Works If You Work It
As this article suggests, CRMs do not work miracles on their own. They collate and aggregate data. It is up to you to put it to work for your business. Done properly, CRM will help you better and properly utilize your employees, your time and your money. It will help you track leads, measure effectiveness, track workloads and predict future sales. It will allow your business to maximize opportunities and profits.
But your CRM software won’t do these things on its own. It is like any other tool a business has, it has to be used properly to get the maximum possible return.
Tablet stands can help with effective CRM management.
How Do I Put CRM To Work For Me?
First, find a CRM system that works for you.
A list of top companies can be found here. However, your favorite search engine can be of use here, too. Find the CRM software that is right for your type and size of business. Trust your instincts. The instincts that have led to your business already being a success can probably be trusted here.
As it has throughout history, good CRM starts with a potential customer’s first interaction with your business. Often, that interaction will not be with you.
A good way to get your relationship with a potential customer off on the right foot is with a tablet display both in front of and inside your store. It’s an easy way for businesses to harness the power of 21st-century CRM without a lot of fuss.
An iPad kiosk display can be used both outside your store to establish relationships with new customers and inside your store to capture the business of existing customers and enhance their experience. Not only can they be used to collect data, but tablets also allow customers to leave comments and reviews, as well order from your online catalog.
No matter how they’re used, you are building relationships for future sales. Of course, you are obtaining customer data and analyzing their shopping habits. But as we noted earlier, at its core CRM is about building relationships with your customers. You can’t be there to shake every hand, or call every customer on their birthday, but CRM makes it possible to have it done for you.