Customer Relationship Management software, in theory, is a godsend for companies everywhere. It offers many different capabilities in all areas of operation. It offers the capability to handle automated phone calls for customer service, generate marketing campaigns based on the stored information of customers, and streamline data entry processes so employees can spend less time inputting information into spreadsheets. Companies should be leaping at the opportunity to use this technology and cut back on other operating expenses, then, right?
CRM Software – Pitfalls and Confusion
As it stands, CRM software is subject to the same pitfalls and confusions that any disorganized department within the company would be, and these pitfalls cost money. Data gets inputted incorrectly or not at all, leading to inaccurate information; records of phone calls aren’t recorded properly, so customers may receive duplicate calls regarding a product or issue; inaccurate data on a person’s whereabouts leads to completely irrelevant marketing campaigns being generated for them. The issues are numerous. So why invest a bunch of money in this new software and then have to double back and input the data that CRM software misses? It’s understandable that many companies out there don’t want to use it just yet.
While there is hope on the horizon, it’s difficult to say how close or far away we are from a point where the software can be effectively utilized across the board from a technological standpoint. There are issues that need ironed out, for sure. But companies have a lot to figure out in the interim, as well – there are some key issues that they face to implementing said software.
First, using CRM company-wide can prevent a lot of issues where the topic of keeping complete records is concerned. If every department utilizes the same technology, it greatly reduces the number of gaps in the records that are likely to be left. Many companies already utilize a common operating system that is slightly specialized for each department, for example; those companies that purchase the license for the software would be able to utilize CRM in the same way, specializing the platform slightly for each department so that the tools better suit their needs.
Is CRM Software A Substitute For Good Communication?
Communication is also key. CRM software at its peak is definitely capable, but it’s not a substitute for good communication within a company by any means. If departments just rely on CRM doing what it does and don’t bother to communicate otherwise, it will just lead to more confusion and inefficiency, which hurts the bottom line. Especially where sales and marketing departments are concerned, good communication is absolutely crucial, and the best way this can take place with CRM in use is to allow employees the ability to update information as necessary. With customer service complaints, for example, this function could be extremely important – for an issue that requires follow-up, the original person who spoke with the customer may not be available. And how frustrating would it be if the next person to help the customer had no prior knowledge of the situation, and CRM hadn’t effectively recorded the information? The customer and the customer service rep are both unhappy and more time has to be spent gathering information again. Giving employees the ability to update the information lessens the chance of this happening greatly. Again, CRM can be a very efficient tool, but employees need to be able to act as a safeguard against inefficiency when necessary.
Data Flow in CRM
Data flow is also extremely vital – systems used by a company have to be able to communicate. Without the ability to translate the information received across different programs the company uses, CRM is significantly less useful. The technology has to be able to suit everyone in the company, from a sales representative to a top executive. After all, what good is it if the data a customer service rep needs is in the CRM database, but is unavailable to the program used to handle customer service issues? We end up with a situation like the one previously mentioned: frustrated customer, frustrated employee. Data flow and the ability to cross-communicate will make all the difference in the world for companies looking to use CRM to streamline their operations processes.