e-business software management software
CRM software solutions

Business solutions for small business
Beyond ordinary accounting software
business software solutions

CRM Software Solutions

business accounting software
CRM Topics
CRM Software Review
CRM Software Features
The Hidden Truth about CRM
CRM Web Resources

The Hidden Truth about CRM

The following article gives a general perspective on CRM software.
At the very end of this article, Intellisoft gives its view on how ManageMore™ CRM solutions fits in this realm.


The Basics
The Pitfalls of CRM
Misusing the Benefits of CRM
CRM - The ManageMore Way




The Basics

How do customers use CRM applications?
In many ways, CRM is an updated version of the sales force automation (SFA) strategies that were popular in then 1990's. But CRM takes things a step further. The software that links the back office to the front office, the technology needed to make the call center easy-to-use and able to track customer information, while at the same time boosting revenue by increasing customer loyalty; this is all part of CRM. By using CRM software, one can provide easy access to up-to-date customer data for its sales team, technicians and customer call centers.

For example, a sales rep can benefit from CRM by accessing a customer’s sales history, prior conversations, special needs, and complaints lodged in real-time, without ever having formerly spoken to the customer. This can help the sales rep to trim the time spent listening to customer complaints, help finalize a sale, or perhaps offer other services to the customer. With CRM technology, one hopes to provide better service, sell more goods or services, and form a tighter bond with the customer.

However, more sophisticated CRM applications attempt to go well beyond better customer service techniques by providing solutions such as linking the customer to a web site for reviewing his/her own sales history online.  Many other CRM systems attempt to act as sort of a "super salesman" by analyzing customer buying habits, collecting information, and enabling a company to make further offers of service or products.

Who supports and maintains CRM applications?
Because CRM is an overall business strategy that often includes several technologies, maintenance can sometimes come from several departments, such as IT or Web site producers and designers.  The more sophisticated CRM implementations will require periodic customization, such as software linking the field sales force to a web site.  One must always consider the TCO involved in CRM packages and the practical benefits that it ultimately provides.

Why haven’t all companies jumped on the CRM bandwagon?
Although many independent researchers predict that the CRM market will grow at a dramatic rate over the next few years, few companies are very far along the path to CRM nirvana. Because true CRM programs call for a difficult reassessment and possible reorganization of a company, it can be a challenge that many companies don’t want to tackle as a high priority.


The Pitfalls of CRM

As software vendors and consultants sell CRM software to businesses; companies are struggling to implement these complex systems they peddle.  Today, Most Fortune 500 companies are involved in some sort of CRM project, experts say, and many multimillion dollar initiatives have quietly stalled or failed as executives search for business benefits and salespeople shy away from technology they say won't help them. 

In one example, a large telecommunications company rolled out a major CRM application to more than 1000 sales reps in late 1999, at a cost of $10,000 per user, only to find a year later that fewer than 100 were using the system, according to one CRM consultant.

Part of the reason that CRM packages crash land is because of companies who jump into CRM projects looking for a quick fix, and another reason is because management does a poor job in selling the importance of CRM to those who are supposed to use it. 

Another sad reality is that many companies, in pursuit of CRM nirvana, end up grossly overpaying vendors because of CRM software hype.  Many of the advanced sales/marketing features presented by high-end CRM packages sound revolutionary and make big promises of ROI.  However, many experts on the subject echo a warning that, in spite of their popularity, most CRM projects don't result in measurable benefits.

Those who have botched ambitious CRM initiatives shouldn't throw in the towel, however.  The fight for customer loyalty is on, and a well thought out CRM strategy can boost a company's stature, professionalism and revenue.


Misusing the Benefits of CRM

When deciding upon a CRM solution, one must get past all the hype and truly understand the key benefits of CRM.  Customer loyalty does not stem from clever strategies to collect every conceivable piece of data from customers and then cross-sell them something they don't want.

In fact, the very concept of customer relationship management is misguided. Companies shouldn't try to manage loyal customers; long-standing relationships arise from trust gained over many transactions, and they are sustained by customers' belief that the company wishes to keep them around rather than drive them away.

CRM is manipulation in too many cases. Companies are acting on information of customers against their interests—calling them at home at night, bombarding them with mailings from vendors and its affiliates, etc.  Loyalty means listening to your customer and creating mutual satisfaction. 

Customer loyalty seems like a quaint notion, especially in the Internet age, when customers can search out lower prices and defect to competitors with a mouse-click.  Yet research has found that in the faceless online market, customers yearn for trustworthiness more than ever.  Give it to them and they're yours forever.

CRM is not altogether awful, in our view. It's just that, too often, the standard CRM practices lead to vexation or worse from customers, not loyalty. Not many people enjoy being inundated with telephone calls and having their mailboxes stuffed with useless promotions. There is a good and virtuous use of CRM, however. One of the best things you can do with CRM technology is find out who the valuable customers are—those who are staying, not just any customer willing to accept your offer to switch from a competitor. Once companies know who their best customers are, the real work begins—convincing them to stay forevermore.

Dell Computer, for instance, uses CRM data to determine which customers have the greatest hardware needs and then provides extra value to that select group, in the form of free Web portals.  The company rejects common practices such as selling customer lists to outside vendors. Instead, Dell has set up Premier Pages for thousands of its best customers. These customized, secure websites allow customers to check on order status, arrange delivery dates and troubleshoot problems through Dell's help desk.


CRM - The ManageMore Way

By not losing sight of what makes CRM truly important, Intellisoft has diligently created a powerful customer care data view that encompasses the most important facets of a customer's history with your company.  Through the use of data centralization, any member in your organization can quickly view a customer's service histories, purchase habits, email exchanges, prior conversations or complaints, and sales volume activity. 

ManageMore's objective with CRM is to provide instant information that will allow you to understand your customer better, track things more efficiently and look more professional in front of the customer.  Another goal of our CRM package is to ease customer service down a level: from phone to email and from email to webpage FAQ's.  By making it easy to send and receive email messages from customers, you can ultimately keep down calls to a customer service call center.

Products like our EMail Pro™ can also help in the CRM experience.  By offering the ability to run email campaigns, enewsletters, product alerts, etc. directly to your loyal customers, one can see an increase in sales and customer retention.

Other products like our Task Complete™ module also contribute in our objective of CRM loyalty.  By assigning tasks for customer call backs, to do's, and customer complaint resolutions, one can rest assured that a busy work day is not to blame for forgetting the needs of your most important customers.

Intellisoft wants to ensure you that our CRM solutions don't lose sight of the fundamental power in customer contact.  CRM must be used to help each customer feel special and ManageMore™ can accomplish this whether you have 100 customers or 100,000 customers.  Always remember... Every time a customer talks to you they want to feel like they're your only customer.


©Copyright Intellisoft Solutions Inc.  All rights reserved.
Legal Notices | Privacy Statement | Business Management Software | Site Map
Affiliate Sites   Business Web Resources