Since CRM technology came into existence back in the 1980s, its use has multiplied over the years, covering all types of industries and reaching millions of users. Having a CRM solution has become “essential” for any expanding business or one that wants to preserve a competitive edge in the existing market.
The CRM concept has evolved in line with technology. The reasons and goals that led many companies to acquire CRM systems in the 1980s and 1990s differ to a great extent from the main purpose we assign to this technology today.
During what we might call the first era of CRM, the reason that led many companies to acquire this technology was based on their “Operational Efficiency”. In other words, they were seeking to use CRM as a way to simplify, streamline and automate, as far as possible, processes and daily tasks with low added value that were time-consuming to employees. In this way, they could dedicate more time to much more useful tasks aimed at business growth and sustainability.
In this period, the main CRM indicator that was bearing fruit was ROI (Return on Investment). The increase in profitability thanks to the use of CRM solutions could be explained by a number of factors such as: reduced sales cycles and the increase in commercial revenue, reduced marketing costs, or increased efficiency in resolving complaints or incidents, to name a few examples.
Over the years, it became clear that after a profound change in all large and medium-sized enterprises, which had gained in efficiency thanks to the use of CRM technologies, there was something that had not been studied, something that had not changed. This was nothing less than the way in which companies understood the needs of their customers.
For years, businesses had focussed on improving efficiency but they had forgotten about their customers, their level of satisfaction throughout the purchasing process, and they had overlooked the need to analyse the degree of customer loyalty to the brand.
On the basis of that idea, a new CRM generation has arisen. A new stage in the evolution of this technology based on reformulating business processes in all departments. The goal: Improve our understanding of the needs and desires of customers and offer a closer and more customised service throughout the business process (pre-sales, sales and after-sales).
With this, we shall ensure greater customer satisfaction with the services offered and ultimately improved customer loyalty, realised in new purchases in the future.
To reformulate this new CRM generation, 5 important premises were considered:
1. Define what we want the “customer experience” with the brand to be like and then design a CRM strategy accordingly.
Companies must begin by understanding the needs of each type of customer and design a commercial process for each target customer in the CRM system in line with their needs. E.g. it is not the same to sell to other companies (B2B) than to sell directly to end users (B2C).
2. Reduce waiting times during a purchase process and provide the greatest number of channels of communication and sales with the company.
The rise of the Internet and the speed of response it offers have generated a feeling of impatience in users. They are now far more reluctant to have to wait to buy a product/service they want or receive answers to questions from any of the multiple channels of communication that a company can place at the service of their customers (email, telephone contact, RRSS, chat, web forms…). For this reason, the new generation CRM systems must be able to process and record purchase requests and information generated from any of these channels of contact automatically or as quickly as possible in order to ensure customer satisfaction with the service received.
3. Use CRM to customise offers as much as possible
We live in a globalised and competitive world where companies of all sizes must make major efforts to customise what they offer customers. This includes:
- Targeting every customer profile using the most appropriate channel of communication.
- Adapting the messages of marketing campaigns to their needs and desires (based, for example, on the purchase history that we have previously recorded in our CRM system or web-based marketing or products/services campaigns that have attracted their attention on previous occasions).
- Designing a commercial offer in accordance with the tastes of customers, their budgets or regular buying habits.
- Facilitating a customer service/after sales service using the channel of communication most commonly used by each customer.
4. Promote the integration and communication of the CRM system with third party systems capable of providing more information on customers in real-time.
The older CRM software was complicated and difficult to integrate with other key business applications whose information could provide great value to the customer base. These ancient systems did not allow the customisation of the interface, of the fields, or of other CRM functions to adapt them to the needs of each company.
On the other hand, the new generation CRM solutions incorporate “web services” and APIs to accelerate and facilitate the integration and data traffic between various business applications and include customisation and workflow creation features without the need to enter new code.
5. Ensure that employees are the major fans of this technology.
New CRM technology does not overlook the users of the application. The success of a CRM solution also depends on them because the correct implementation of a CRM system will provide maximum information on our customers, it will help us to communicate with and coordinate departments, and, make work easier for all the members of the organisation. With this in view, CRM solutions are becoming more user-friendly, with cleaner and more intuitive interfaces; providing users with greater autonomy and comfort in the daily use of the tool. This ensures their satisfaction and, in turn, the voluntary adoption of the CRM solution by employees who find in this technology the assistance they need for their day-to-day work.
As we have seen in this article, there are many changes in the concepts governing CRM technology that have given rise to substantial changes in the marketing, sales and customer service processes that are currently being implemented. If you would like to know how a CRM solution can help all your departments to achieve this new customer-focused business vision, please contact Intelligence Partner, we will be happy to advise you without obligation.