As businesses grow, their list of customers grows with them. What started out as a short list of neighborhood friends may now be a large database of clients spanning several states – all with different backgrounds, personalities, and preferences.
Managing such a database is a complex task, made much more difficult by the increasing need to make businesses more customer-centric. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms were thus created in order to record collected data about people’s backgrounds, personalities, buying habits, and preferences, as a means of understanding the customer.
Businesses should remember, however, that a CRM platform is not an end in itself. Collecting information for the sake of information is not very useful if it is not integrated with other aspects of a business. In other words, the knowledge gained from a CRM platform can only go so far as it is applied.
Examples of how CRM platforms are put into good use include its integration with the product design and marketing. Through CRM, products can be molded to give customers what they want, and advertising campaigns can be created to speak directly to a company’s target market.
Few companies, however, realize that their CRM platform can also be integrated with their communications platform, which is where company representatives regularly interact with customers through customer service. Regular interaction with a customer without the information provided by a CRM can spell disaster. In fact, 6 out of 10 customers feel that when they call a company’s help desk, their needs are not resolved.
In this light, we provide you with the top 3 reasons why your CRM and communications platforms must work together in order to improve your business:
1. You will generate sales more efficiently.
With a functioning CRM platform, your sales agents will be fully equipped with all the information they need to meet their sales targets. Knowing key information such as the customer’s job, income, product preferences, and spending habits will make the sales pitch much more likely to succeed.
In addition, a CRM platform benefits follow-up calls as well. Studies show that 8 out of 10 sales calls require as much as 5 follow-ups to close the deal. However, around half of sales agents fail to make the necessary follow-ups, primarily due to giving up too early or forgetting about the call altogether. What the CRM platform brings to the table is more information. With it, agents will be able to much more easily track which customers have been contacted so that they never miss a follow-up. Agents will also be able to check on the results of the initial calls and plan the next calls accordingly, taking into consideration the background information of the clients.
Apart from the improved information, a CRM platform also allows sales agents to utilize its vast automated resources. Research shows that a sales agent will have to make 8 dials per hour just to set a single appointment. With such a limited set of hours in a day, this can be a source of inefficiency. As such, the automation brought by a CRM platform to increase appointments per hour will be a welcome addition to any sales agent.
2. Your customer service will be better.
When customers call your customer service hotline due to problems with your products, they expect to receive quick and effective service. A communications platform that is disjoint from the wealth of information of a CRM platform cannot be expected, however, to deliver this type of service.
Research shows that 2 out of 5 customers expect that a customer service representative should know their history of product issues, and that 4 out of 5 customers become extremely dissatisfied when their representatives do not have access to their account information.
With an integrated system, representatives are given much more information about the customer, such as the history of product issues experienced and the solutions that worked in the past, in order to serve the customer better. Having more information on-hand about the customer also makes things much easier. For example, when parts are needed to be delivered, the representative can just confirm if the address on record is correct instead of constantly having to ask about it. As a result, customer service will be quicker and more effective, for the benefit of all parties.
3. You will save on costs.
Communications platforms are cost centers for most companies, so a decrease in expenses is always welcome as long as it does not hamper the quality of service it provides.
Research shows that 20% of customers experience being rerouted from one representative to another without any resolution to their problem. Apart from the customer dissatisfaction this brings, this constant rerouting also clogs communication channels and takes up the time of other representatives. As a result, the cost of addressing one customer’s issue spans not just one representative, but a whole set of representatives through their countless rerouting.
The root of this problem is the lack of access to information to help the customer as most information is not centralized. But with a CRM platform, any information collected by a customer service representative is recorded in the system and shared to all other representatives. What this means is that other representatives can address the concerns of any customer just by looking at their history through the CRM, saving time and resources for all.
In addition, a CRM platform’s vast automated resources allow a company to offer advanced interactive voice response (IVR) solutions. These systems allow customers to access information about their accounts such as billing and order status without the need for an agent’s assistance. With more than half of customers preferring this option rather than calling a representative, cost savings in the long run are very possible.
Integrating your CRM and communications platforms may be difficult at first, but if properly managed and applied, the benefits you reap in the long run can more than make up for it, and help your business achieve success.