What is CRM? | CloudCall

Never heard of CRM? Or perhaps it’s been mentioned and you’re not sure what it actually means. Have no fear, we’ve got you covered so next time you can dazzle your colleagues with your expert knowledge!

What is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. The key is in the name, it’s getting the most out of your relationship with customers – both on an individual level and as a means to understand the customers’ overall experience. When used effectively, the CRM system has the power to transform customer satisfaction. 

Customer experience is one of the cornerstones around which a successful business is built. It’s importance stems from the fact that without impressing new and existing customers, they will likely take their business elsewhere. What’s more, when customer experience is great, your customers will encourage others to use your business through word of mouth and positive reviews. All of this will ultimately affect your business’s bottom line. 

The term CRM system refers to a piece of software where customer contact information is stored and allows a business to manage interactions across multiple communication channels. CRM tools allow everyone in the business to have full access to all the information they need when interacting with customers. This could be salespeople speaking to prospects, customer service agents when dealing with customer enquiries or marketing teams setting up automated campaigns.  

Because of the wide variety of CRM systems available, it’s possible to find one which perfectly complements your unique business strategy. Some platforms have been designed as a one-size-fits-all solution for many industries, while others have been created to suit a specific industry. If you are investing in a CRM, it’s worth taking some time to think about what functionality you need before speaking to any suppliers.  

What functionally does a CRM provide?

Does my business need a CRM?

You’ll struggle to find a business which doesn’t view its customers as a vitally important asset. As businesses grow, managing the relationship with these customers can become increasingly complicated. With multiple team members across multiple departments, CRM systems allow everyone in the business to see all customer data. This can include their contact details, and any previous interactions they have had. This information can be used to ensure the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves, and the employee knows the full picture.  

Our recent whitepaper, Perfecting the art of conversation: how businesses are managing increased call volumes, has highlighted the importance of businesses having access to a single source of customer information.  

What are the benefits of using a CRM?

Keep track of your customers 

Every interaction, whether it’s a call, email or online enquiry is recorded and accessible to everyone. This allows all team members, throughout the customer’s entire journey, to have access to all the information they need. In today’s competitive marketplace, having this enriched data helps to make your customers feel valued and makes them feel like you understand their bespoke needs. 

Collaboration across the business 

Everyone in the business has the information to get their jobs done to the best of their ability, without having to constantly ask colleagues for help. This provides seamless interactions for remote teams and multi-national businesses, ultimately improving the quality and speed of service for customers.  

Improve Efficiencies  

Depending on your CRM, there are many features which are designed to save time throughout the day. These can be simple features like clicking on phone numbers to automatically dial them or setting up complex workflows which send a series of promotional emails to prospective customers.  

Targeted Communications 

Use customer and prospect engagements to ensure you are providing them with messaging that fits their industry or specific needs. Humans talk to humans and personalised messages cut through the noise. 

Improve management  

With everything stored in the CRM, managers can easily setup KPIs and track if their employees are carrying out processes correctly. For salespeople this could be monitoring the sales process, ensuring leads are being followed up correctly and in a timely manner. In a customer service function, management can use a CRM to keep track of open tickets and customer feedback scores. 

Sale pipeline management  

The CRM can easily be used to calculate sales forecasts, work out the total value of deals in the pipeline or calculate the number of deals closed within a specific timeframe. Sales teams can use this information to learn from the past and make improvements to their sales strategy. 

Improved customer relationships 

You can easily manage customer issues and complaints because all interactions to date are easy to access. This will ensure more customers walk away happy and impressed.

How much does a CRM cost?

CRMs can range in price, and the price can be calculated in different ways depending on the platform. Many CRMs charge per user, which could be a monthly subscription cost. It’s usually easy to add or remove users depending on your business’s growth. Some CRMs change based on the number of customer records you have stored in the system.  

It’s also common for CRMs to add charges for additional functionality. You should also look out for onetime fees for setup, installation and training. While costs can seem high, there is a lot of competition in the market which helps to keep prices low. There are even CRM providers which offer free versions of their software with limited functionality and storage size. 

Is it possible to get more out of your CRM?

CRM systems offer an out-of-the-box solution which can cater for a number of different business needs. Sometimes, this might not be enough, so many CRMs offer third party apps or integrations which enhance their solution. There are a host of integrations and add-ons which can provide email services, more detailed reporting, customer feedback surveys, advanced automation… the list goes on. In fact, some CRMs have such a well-developed ecosystem of add-ons that you’d struggle to not find what you are looking for. 

Getting the most out of a CRM system doesn’t just mean technology. We’re talking CRM culture. You may not have heard of CRM culture, so let’s break it down; We know that Culture can be thought of as behaviours and values that are shared among a group of people. When applied in the context of the CRM system, it simply means having the full team on board and using the CRM system to its full potential. 

CRM systems have the power to improve management efficiencies, produce higher performing customer service and increased profits. But if staff aren’t using it to its full potential, it becomes little more than a glorified address book.  

What should companies do if they want to make the most of their CRM? The answer is to look at the culture of the organisation and see if it’s promoting the use of the CRM or hindering it. Creating a CRM culture within an organisation ensures everyone wants to use the CRM as much as possible because they understand the value it can bring to their role, their teammates and the business as a whole. 

In summary

A CRM system is one of the most important pieces of business technology you can use. Any organization which interacts with customers on a regular basis can massively benefit from the power of a modern CRM system. It’s a great place to store data, but as we’ve covered in this article, it’s capable of so much more The core functionality of the system offers benefits that support most business functions including sales processes, marketing automation, customer service and operations. These functions can gather information on your customers, help manage workloads, personalize the customer experience and increase customer satisfaction

There are countless benefits of using a CRM tool, but perhaps the most important are the improvements to efficiency, increased collaboration and the ability to keep track of customers. Get the most out of a CRM platform by encouraging a positive CRM culture across the whole organization.  

Using a CRM system as a single platform to store customer interactions is a great way to reduce mix-ups. Duplicating information across systems or adding details to the wrong database can mean a loss of valuable customer conversations, making it difficult to resolve customer complaints and help with customer enquiries. 

A CRM platform is a great way of keeping track of customer account details, account history and for managing interactions with existing and potential customers. Tracking these interactions can help you understand your customers through their buying habits, queries, requests and even their complaints. 

The importance of customer experience is crucial to the growth and development of your brand. A great customer experience can build loyalty, that through word of mouth and positive reviews will lead to more customers, meaning more profit for your business. 

CloudCall makes business communications quicker and more powerful. Our leading cloud-based phone system fully integrates with CRM systems to make your life easier. Combining features like click-to-dial, call recording, SMS and screen popups together with the power of your CRM. You can view our extensive list of features if you want to learn more. Contact a member of our team to discover how CloudCall can grow your business with a seamless integration into your CRM.

Chris Coningsby

About Chris Coningsby

Chris is based at the CloudCall UK headquarters as a Marketing Assistant. His experience in the recruitment industry and first hand use of CloudCall has given him useful knowledge and insight. He is passionate about sharing that insight by creating valuable content.