The importance of customer relationship management, or CRM for short, has sunk in amongst almost every organization. It’s not just something you can quickly introduce; it’s a whole new way of working, a business philosophy. Realizing that change requires a number of competencies in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitude.
The time when sales and assignments just flew in is long gone. When you think about it, it’s quite amazing that it ever used to be that way. Then on the other hand, maybe not. Companies were already adding value in those heydays; they just weren’t as aware of it. People did what they did. Today, we’re spending a lot more time thinking about what customers need, and organizations are aware that that involves the need for certain competencies.
Customer focus must flow through your veins
CRM isn’t a project. It’s a business philosophy: something that flows through every employee’s veins. Central coordination is highly important when different departments have to work together; when they are jointly responsible for realizing the best possible customer experience. Because a customer’s experience is the result of multiple contact moments throughout their entire ‘customer journey’.
You can read and write with the customer
The only way to continuously keep a finger on the pulse is to measure and steer. Objectives and KPIs steer for results. Get to know your (potential) customer like they’re your best friend. The CRM system brings information together to formulate a solid customer image. Information can be gathered from sources such as web statistics, monitoring social media, customer panels and surveys. Speak your customer’s language, understand what drives them, and know exactly when you need to be there for them. Then translate what you know and measure into action. It’s an ongoing process.
Know and explore all facets of the playing field
Just knowing and being focused on your customer isn’t enough. Deploying the right supporting resources will help you realize your CRM objectives. Processes and tools that help employees meet customer needs. This goes beyond the implementation of a CRM software package; it’s about marketing campaigns, administrative processes, customer service, webcare. What does every employee need in order to let the customer-oriented juices flow, and to be able to read and write with the customer?