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Putting the Customer back into CRM

by Corie Kaftalovich

August 26, 2010

Show me the money!  Those famous words spoken by Jerry Maguire have transformed into the current business model for companies today. As long as profits are showing and wallets are growing, companies are quick to forget about the most important person contributing to their success- the customer.

Nowadays, businesses are looking to adopt a CRM system as a tool for achieving their success. However, the motive driving their adoption has shifted gears from being focused on the benefits for the customer to now being based upon the benefits that translate into monetary value. To name a few, these include simplified business processes, increased visibility, tighter sales cycles, and more profitable pipelines. Though these perks are valuable and achievable with a solid CRM system in place, companies are failing to recognize the main purpose of a CRM solution, which is to Manage Customer Relationships.

Business Management or Relationship Management?

The main issue at hand here is the fact that CRM is solely being looked upon as a business management tool instead of as a relationship management tool. Though the management functions of CRM systems are beneficial, not utilizing the features geared towards the customer results in not having anything to manage at all. I don’t even like using the word “manage” when referring to customers, but the main point I am getting at is that CRM systems offer a wealth of tools to organize and optimize client relationships and unfortunately, companies are neglecting to use them.

Creating Long-term Partnerships

Implementing a CRM system provides businesses with the opportunity to not only create relationships with customers, but to nurture them for the long-term. Moreover, these relationships, when optimized correctly, have the ability to flourish into mutually-beneficial partnerships. With the use of a CRM solution, companies can not only maintain consistent communication with customers, but as well can create targeted marketing and sales initiatives, which combine to create a powerful customer experience.

In doing so, the customer conceives that the company values their business and is putting forth the effort to keep them up-to-date, involved and satisfied.  With the customer’s loyalty and satisfaction increased, they feel inclined to recommend and refer others to that company. As well as know strengthening customer retention is a full-proof way of gaining more business and using a CRM system to do so is one of the most efficient and effective methods. 

Customers are a Businesses’ Best Resource

Apart from buying a company’s product or service, customers use it and can offer a wealth of feedback. Companies need to recognize the impact that knowing their customer’s wants and needs can have on shaping future product developments and improvements.

Establishing a resourceful partnership with the customer allows for companies to better tailor their offerings around what customers actually expect and desire, instead of developing a product/service that the company thinks the customer wants. The company can use the CRM system to accomplish this by administering questionnaires and surveys asking customers to provide their opinions and impressions through an email blast or a marketing campaign. The customer-generated improvements can have a multifold return on investment and will set the wheels of profit in motion at a faster rate than ever before.

Businesses that become so consumed with making profits are quick to disregard who the profits ultimately come from. With the help of a solid CRM system, companies can redefine their roadmap with the customer at the centre and from there, establish partnerships that are mutually-beneficial, transparent and for the long-term. By putting the customer back into CRM, the company is ultimately focusing on the future. 




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