CRM, useful for the entire organization
The use of Customer Relationship Management software is not limited to sellers. The CRM system provides opportunities for marketers, office staff and customer services alike. That’s why it’s important for there to be a broad foundation of support for the CRM philosophy and the software within the organization, so that fragmentation of important customer data can be avoided.
CRM for marketers
The CRM system can improve marketers' insight into various groups of customers and their needs and characteristics. It can help marketers create segments in (virtual) address databases. CRM can also provide insight into questions from (potential) customers and produce input for the generation and adjustment of website content.
CRM for sellers
It’s now common knowledge that sellers and field staff can use the CRM system to retrieve the information they need to prepare for appointments and customer visits. But that information doesn't just come from past conversations between the seller and the (potential) customer. The marketing department and office staff also provide input to the CRM system, which is directly visible to the seller.
CRM for office staff
Office staff should also be familiar with the CRM system. Not just to understand the customer better, but also to be able to supply other departments with more information. Customer contact still often takes place (partially) via office staff and customer services. That means these departments are also in a position to supply the CRM system with valuable input.
CRM for accounting
It might not be the first department that’ll make use of the CRM system, but it, too, can benefit from the information gathered. For example, a customer may have contacted customer services regarding a product that was delivered. Perhaps the product didn't meet the customer's expectations, and it has been decided that a member of field staff will visit the customer in order to find a solution to the complaint. It is possible that due to this complaint, the customer hasn't completed payment yet. It could easily be worthwhile for the accounts department to check the CRM system to see if any appointments have been scheduled with this customer. Sometimes the best thing for the customer relationship is to be patient and leave a note for the field staff in the CRM system. “I see the invoice hasn’t been paid yet and this complaint is still open. Could you give me some feedback on the status of the complaint following the appointment?” This strategy might not suit every organization, but in some cases it can be highly beneficial. For example, for organizations with few clients who are nonetheless very large and important. It would be a shame to lose or frustrate a major client as a result of lacking internal communication. Internal communication about such matters is one of CRM’s many uses. E.g., leaving a note for a colleague in administration, who can take immediate action based on the field staff's input.
Pete is a member of the field staff, and is conducting his regular visit to customer X. Customer X informs Pete that the most recent invoice is incorrect, since Pete is the obvious point of contact in that moment. Pete makes a note of the details in the CRM system and indicates that action from the accounts department is needed. The accounts department receives a notice of Pete's message and takes action. Customer X receives a corrected invoice without any unnecessary payment reminders being sent out, and without needing an extra contact moment with the organization. Customer X has a pleasant experience with the organization, despite his initial frustration over the invoice mistake.
The importance of broad support for CRM
The need for a broad basis of support for the use of Customer Relationship Management software is clear: the various users of the CRM system each possess their own knowledge of the customer. Contact with the customer doesn't just take place through different channels; it also takes place via different people within the organization. The customer might get in contact with field staff one time and office staff another. The CRM system gives organizations a golden opportunity to collect this information in a simple, powerful way, and to make it available to every person engaged in customer contact.