So What exactly is CRM?
CRM stands for "Customer Relationship Management " which is is more than just an IT project or a tool.
It is a strategy that requires a shift in the organisational culture and a transition process towards "customer-centricity".
I can't remember where I read that "CRM is a business methodology and strategy that has many objectives, and means different things to different organisations, each one of them would have its own objectives from CRM."But I could not agree more with the above statement.
This is the whole objective of understanding CRM, although it is hard to explain CRM in one article, I can give you a hint:
I can't remember where I read that "CRM is a business methodology and strategy that has many objectives, and means different things to different organisations, each one of them would have its own objectives from CRM."
But I can not agree more with the above statement.
Generally, those objectives may include:
Better knowledge of your customers and their buying habits
Enhancing customers' interactions with the organisation
Tracking all customers' communications and trends
Creating more value for customers and keeping their loyalty
Real-time information sharing and collaboration organisation-wide
Managing the internal supply chain
Enhancing customer services to achieve better satisfaction rates
Better targeting and campaigning
Many organisations say that they are customer centric, or customer focused, some even promote slogans like"The customer is king" or the famous clichè: "The customer is always right" but only a few have the capacity to be truly customer focused and to translate that into total customer satisfaction. Only a few actually listen to their customers and take appropriate action!
CRM is not a software application!
There is a general misconception about CRM that it is a software application , part of it is because of the marketing might of the software companies who produce CRM tools and applications " Which are great – but not sufficient for CRM to achieve its objectives."
The other part is because of the tricks played by the sales partners and reps of these software companies in different markets trying to sell as many as possible of their products without properly educating the customers.
I have witnessed many cases where the demo sessions or product presentations convinced prospect customers that the implementation of a CRM tool is all they need to have better customer relations!
Needless to mention that all of those resellers offer training as part of their CRM implementation deal. This training is normally about their specific applications' menus and options " how to do this" and " how to do that" without really asking customers the fundamental question of WHY? each project including CRM implementation must have SMART objectives , but those resellers are not interested! Most of them do not bother about why their customers need CRM.
Putting myself in the shoes of the customer / business manager, I will have to put aside my IT background for a while and analyse the situation from this prospective:
As a business person I am not interested in the features and all the nice endless options and beautiful interfaces of the application itself, nor am I interested to know how it works or how it was designed using XYZ layers with state of the art technology I better leave that to our IT department to deal with.
However, I would really like to know more about CRM by getting:
1.Conceptual education to cover the understanding of CRM methodology and strategy, making sure that everyone in my organisation understands his or her role in becoming customer-centric and in enhancing the customer’s experience with us.
2.Training and advice on managing the change organisation-wide In other words: we need an answer to the following question that should be asked by every employee in my organisation: "How would I do my job differently as a result of CRM?" and "what's in it for me?"
Whose responsibility is it to provide such education and awareness?
Successful customer relationships require a very skilled and highly motivated workforce in the whole organisation not just those who have direct access to customers. We need to turn every piece of information that we know about our customers and every little interaction with any of them into an enjoyable experience, this involves customers, suppliers, partners, and employees with an ultimate goal to optimise customer and partner satisfaction, revenue, and business efficiency by building the strongest possible relationships.
There is an old Egyptian saying that goes: "One hand can not clap!" this is the CRM truth , it will not work without everybody's involvement in changing the organisational culture into a truly customer centric culture.