Customer relationship management (CRM) is imperative to the success of a small business. Relationship management helps convert prospects into leads and leads into paying customers leading to increased profits. Even so, it is often seen as tedious and time-consuming and takes business owners away from other important tasks that need their attention. That's one of the reasons small businesses are turning to CRM technology to increase the efficiency of these processes, increase sales and minimize costs.
Benefits of CRM
Business owners aren't the only ones who benefit from CRM tech. In fact, it has a positive impact on everyone associated with the business including employees, customers, partners, and even vendors. The top five benefits of CRM for small businesses are:
- Employees have instant access to customer information and company data so they provide exceptional customer service and accomplish the business's goals faster and easier.
- CRM makes it possible to automatically track and evaluate customer service interactions such as emails and calls allowing adjustments to be made to improve quality and efficiency.
- Ensures consistency across the organization by providing all employees with access to the same forms, templates, and organizational procedures.
- Allows for the integration of important business processes such as accounting, inventory control, marketing, and sales for a seamless pipeline.
- Reduces costs associated with new employee training by providing a system of standard operating procedures and protocols.
The Latest CRM Innovations
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The main goal of CRM is to get a better understanding of customer behaviors in order to provide them with personalized suggestions about products and services that best suit their needs. The most efficient means of doing this is through data collection and analytics. AI allows for data automation and synchronization on a level that humans simply cannot achieve. It's capable of sifting through massive amounts of customer information and interpreting the data so it can be used instantly by sales and service staff to provide the best possible experience.Data automation and data synchronization makes through the use of AI means organizations are able to paint a more accurate picture of who is most likely to become a customer. Predicting customer behavior based on collected data also allows companies to personalize marketing actions and avoid invasive techniques like paid ads and cold calling. The result is an increase in the number of qualified leads generated which ultimately results in more sales and higher revenues.
Social media may not be at the top of a small business owner's priorities when it comes to marketing, sales, and customer service but it should be. In fact, it is crucial to providing exceptional customer experiences. From engaging prospects and current customers to resolving customer service issues, it's key to developing long-lasting customer service relationships.
Social CRM enables businesses to communicate with their customers on the social channels they prefer to use. By monitoring their social media accounts, businesses gain deeper insights into customer opinions of the company, brand, and products and services. This data provides actionable insights into how best to engage and delight customers throughout their buyer's journey.
Augmented Reality (AR) and IoT
In the past, sales teams and customer service reps relied upon body language and tone of voice to interpret a customer's state of mind. Customers had to reach out to the company to initiate a conversation and ask for help with an issue or problem they faced. Both AR and the IoT have become essential components of CRM and these technologies drive predictive analysis of customer's emotions and help to resolve problems before they arise.These days, customers are more likely to use self-service options like researching solutions online or referring to a company's FAQ, which can lead to frustration if the answers aren't readily available. AR and IoT use the CRM data to show customers how to resolve their issues in real time and without the frustration. What's more, it can help marketers learn how to use their operating software to better perform marketing tasks and reach customers at the right time and place.
Application Programming Interface
Application programming interface (API) ensures integration with different applications and services across a company's sales, marketing, and customer service departments. It is, if you will, an information middleman that facilitates the exchange of information from one application to another. The shared data can then be analyzed and used to provide a more seamless experience for the customer.
One example of the way this technology is being used is within social media marketing. Customer's profile information, activities, and interactions are easily tracked and collected to create a personalized experience. For marketers, it's also a huge time saver. Instead of logging into each social media account to make posts, interact with customers, and check messages, all social media accounts can be viewed and updated in one interface.