10 Steps To CRM

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CRM is a management tool, which is ‘Customer Relationship Management’ and is a strategy for having a comprehensive and constructive interaction with customers as well as potential customers. It has to be a company wide strategy that will ensure that your customers are treated appropriately at all times. So how is this strategy implemented?

1. First of all you have to get an endorsement from senior management within the business. If you don’t have support from them, it is not going to happen and they need to support all the objectives that you set, the targets and the clearly defined goals for the project. If they do not support you, the system will simply not be successfully implemented!
2. Any CRM system is dependent on technological tools such as software so it is vital to choose all the software tools and applications that will ensure that you can easily achieve a good CRM system. It will take time to choose the right system, remember that all CRM systems vary; some can be easy to use, whereas others can be quite complex and take a great deal of staff training, so choose a system that suits your needs and which can be easily undertaken, unless you can provide high levels of technological training.
3. CRM will very probably require a culture shift within your organisation, simply because it is a radical strategy that will impact on staff within an organisation and they will have to acquire and develop new skills, so that they can deal with the new shift towards CRM. So staff need to be persuaded that it is a good thing!
4. Recognise that CRM is a long term goal. Although there are some CRM software tools on the market, it can take time to implement both the software and the culture change……
5. Whichever type of software you use, you will need to train staff in how to implement the system and more importantly why it is being done. Staff resistance to CRM is one of the main reasons for failure, so there has to be a rigorous training programme implemented into the philosophy behind CRM.
6. You need to analyse your customers. This can sound a little draconian, but it means that you need to take a close look at your customers so that you can understand them; if you don’t understand them you cannot look after them.
7. Think about all the different parts of your company that come into contact with your customer, no matter in what form. All these different departments need to be integrated; CRM is not just about sales, it is also about all the different ways that you reach your customer including marketing, advertising, technical support and even invoices and accounts.
8. Track and record interaction between your company and the customer so that you are aware of all the different ways in which your customer contacts you. This can highlight areas of contact that you may not even be aware of and will be useful in terms of building up a good profile of your customers.
9. Tread carefully with regard to acquiring customer data. When you choose the software and technological tools to help you implement CRM, be aware that the more sophisticated the programme, the more data it will collect about your customers and it is always better not to collect too much information!
10. Finally take it easy throughout the process it is important to take an incremental approach. Take it easy and do it right, rather than rushing in and trying to achieve too much too soon. In essence this is too important to rush, so try to work methodically and get it right first time!

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