Customer Relationship Management Software To The Rescue!
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is concerned with storing and reviewing customer data. It can range from the simple (eg an address book of customers), through to general (eg a customer address book and links to customer history) and on to complex (eg full reporting of customer ordering habits, analysis of financial data and integration with social media communication).
How a business handles the storing and editing of a customer's data and how they interact with their customers, such as through email and social media, is acknowledged as CRM and since each business is unique, there can be markedly different approaches to how CRM systems are employed even if the CRM software being used by different businesses is the same.
So what are the key benefits of CRM software and how can it help a business handle the requirements of its customers?
A single resource of customer information
Having your customer data in more than one location isn't the best approach to handling this vital resource. A single location, with controlled access for your staff is by far the most sensible and efficient approach. Obviously, security protocols can be used which limit the amount of information each member of staff / team has access to but ideally, everyone who needs access to customer data within your business should be drawing from a single point of origin.
A single resource of communication history
Just as the benefits of having one location for client information are obvious, having a single place to record customer interactions is equally obvious. Internally, communication regarding specific customers can be stored and accessed from this point as well as external communication history - a complete historical dialogue, referencing a single customer, all in one place. All emails, text messages, phone calls as well as overviews of written communication or copies of scanned letters, all stored together for rapid and accurate reference.
Improved speed and accuracy of data entry
If your business would make frequent use of a CRM, then having a clear route for how customer data flows into your software is both logical and efficient. A business can get by with storing customer data all over the place but it's such a poor way to manage how staff spend their time. Pointless repetition of data entry is to be avoided; standardising how customer information is recorded is to be encouraged. Data shouldn't be copied from one location to another, instead, it should reside in the minimum number of locations as necessary. This is exactly the sort of service Flare Software can offer, where time consuming data entry is kept to a minimum ... so we save you time, money effort and headaches!
Tracking customer communication
How often does a customer require some form of communication? Should a particular customer be included in all email campaigns or do they require something more selective? How about reminders of when to contact a client? A CRM can manage all of this, taking much of the inefficient drudgery out of the workplace.
Do you ever need to group your customers into geographic area? What about sale history? Do you ever want to contact all customers who purchased from you 6 months ago or perhaps those who started an order with you but then didn't see it through? Organising your clients into carefully selected groups is an ideal use of a CRM system. It allows you to make very selective sales campaigns, targeting only the very best leads which have the greatest likelihood of a successful sale.
If you've read this far, you should be pretty much in favour of CRMs within businesses however, in case you're still on the fence, how about reporting? A decent CRM works hand in hand with a Sales Dashboard and allows you to see exactly what your customer are spending, what their goals are, when you last contacted them and on and on. It highlights your important clients, the ones you really don't want to lose, just as much as it shows which customers can perhaps be removed because they have become unprofitable or, perhaps, were never profitable in the first place.
Maintain software continuity
Why spend your most valuable asset (the time of your employees) in the fruitless task of learning to use new software every couple of years? Why lose all the skills and experience gained using the old system only to replace it with new, hard-won knowledge for a new system? Why not get your CRM software right the first time by purchasing a system which can grow with your business - maintaining its core features so that your staff aren't caught in a seemingly endless loop of retraining? Flare Software create CRM solutions that are ready for the future by their very nature of being expandable - your business grows and so our software grows with it.
Off the shelf is only good for the average business
The problem is, I've never seen an average business. Not ever. Yes bespoke CRM software is usually more expensive to get running off the ground but let's be clear here, it will save you time and money not just long term but right from the start because only YOU know your business and so YOU should be a key player in the development of your CRM. So, if you're not an average business, never buy an off the shelf CRM. Never. It might make you happy for a few days or even weeks but once its shortfalls come to light, you'll realise that shaping your business to fit the software is completely the wrong way of managing your company. We only create bespoke, never generic - we start almost completely from scratch with each client and so each client gets a CRM which is tailored to their needs.
How can Flare Software help?
We use the FileMaker software suite produced by Claris (a subsidiary of Apple) to create beautifully coded and completely functional CRM software that is form fitting for you and your business. At Flare Software, we design CRM software solutions based upon your needs and then apply that to decades of experience writing software for businesses all over the UK and abroad.
A CRM should be a cornucopia of useful information - the only issue you should have is determining how that information can benefit your business. As software developers, at Flare Software we create bespoke solutions based upon the needs of our clients and this is equally true when it comes to a CRM. Nothing off the shelf, no generic software - it's all tailored to suit the very individual needs of the customer in question.
We talk with our clients and build the project based upon their expectations and our expertise. We have hundreds of hours of experience working with some great people, delivering a first rate service and exceptional products and we're absolutely certain that we can help your business prosper and thrive, so, if you want to see how Flare Software can help you, please get in touch for a free consultation - you won't regret it.