Introduction to customer relationship management (CRM)
The client is generally the main source of income for enterprises. However, as business is changing, in particularly as a result of the integration of new technologies in client-enterprise relations, competition is becoming increasingly stiffer, and clients may therefore chose their suppleirs or change them with a simple click. Client's criteria of choise are, in particular, financial criteria, responsiveness of the enterprise, but also purely affective criteria (need for recognition, need to be heard, etc.) In an increasingly competitive world, enterprises who wish to increase their profits therefore have several alternatives:
- Increase the margin for each client,
- Increase the number of clients,
- Increase the life cycle of the client, i.e. increase client loyalty.
New technologies allow enterprises to better know their clientele and to gain their loyalty by using pertinent information in such a manner as to better gage their needs and therefore better respond to them.
It has been found that turning a client into a loyal client costs five times less than recruiting new clients. For that reason, a large number of enterprises design their strategy around services proposed to their clients.
What is CRM?
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) intends to provide technological solutions which make it possible to strengthen the communication between the company and its clients in order to improve the relationship with the clientele through automization of the different components of the client relationship:
- Pre-sales: Refers to marketing, consisting in studying the market, i.e. the needs of clients and identifying prospects. Analyzing the client information collected allow the enterprise to revise its product selection to more closely match expectations. Enterprise Marketing Automation (EMA) consists in automating marketing campaigns.
- Sales: Sales forces automation (SFA), consists in providing piloting tools to businesses to assist them in their prospecting measures (contact management, sales meeting management, relaunch management, but also assistance with the preparation of business proposals, etc).
- Client service management: clients loved to feel known to and acknowledged by the enterprise and can not stand having to recount, upon every contact, the history of its relationship with the enterprise.
- After-sales, consisting in providing assistance to the client, in particular through the implementation of call centers (also Help Desk or Hot-Line) and the online provision of technical support information.
The purpose of CRM is improved proximity to clients to respond to their needs and turn them into loyal customers. A CRM project therefore includes providing each sector of the company with access to the information system to get to know the client better and provide him with products and services which meet his expectations in the best possible way.
Integration of CRM in the company
Implementation of CRM solutions in an enterprise not only consists in ad-hoc installation of software, but rather in modifying the organization of the enterprise as a whole, which involves the necessary implementation of a behavioral change project. As a matter of fact, implementation of a CRM strategy requires structural, competitive, and behavioral changes.