Every business has customers, in whatever form that takes, and improving relationships with them should be a key goal for every company. So, should customer relationship management be a job? Let’s consider the options to help you decide what direction your CRM strategy should take, from hiring a dedicated manager to investing in CRM technology - or both.
What is customer relationship management?
Customer relationship management is a method used by businesses to improve customer service and the customer journey. This is often done with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, which tracks and holds all information about existing customers as well as new ones. This can be everything from basic contact information to purchase history, demographic data and contact records.
Keeping all of this important information in one place helps businesses to improve the customer experience through easier data analysis, faster responses and access to more customer information.
Of course, customer relationship management covers a broader scope than just a CRM system. It can also refer to a more holistic process of building customer relationships, rather than the software that facilitates this.
What is CRM software?
A customer relationship management system is an asset for businesses of all sizes. This type of software is used by 91% of companies with more than 11 employees, but it’s just as important for small businesses as well. No matter what size your company, the average ROI from CRM solutions is .71 for every dollar spent.
Benefits of CRM
An effective CRM platform has a wealth of benefits. It helps your support agents and sales teams to manage crucial customer information, including:
- Customer interactions, from phone calls to social media messages and everything in between.
- Sales prospects, lead generation and current customer information.
- Sales pipelines.
- Marketing campaigns.
A CRM can integrate seamlessly into your business processes, using all of this data to achieve a variety of tasks. This has many benefits, some of which are outlined below.
Improved customer satisfaction
A CRM should help you to understand when customers need help, and allow you to respond quickly and efficiently to queries and complaints. You can use the CRM data collected to anticipate customer problems, respond to them quickly and improve your overall customer satisfaction - which in turn, can improve customer loyalty.
A CRM usually includes marketing automation which can greatly decrease the amount of time your team spends on manual tasks - meaning more time spent on improving your customer relationships.
Become more proactive
CRM data enables both your customer support and sales teams to become more proactive. Customer service agents can immediately see all of the relevant data on an easy-to-use dashboard - so if they can see at a glance that a specific customer makes a complaint every time they place an order, for example, they can reach out to the customer before they get in touch to ask whether everything’s okay. This sort of proactive approach can improve customer satisfaction by making them feel more valued.
Increase your revenue
CRM data can offer you a wealth of information about a customer’s purchasing history which arms your marketing teams with the tools to cross-and upsell to them. By analysing what they’ve bought in the past, you can predict what they’re likely to purchase in the future, allowing you to tailor offers, discounts and even ‘other customers also bought’ emails to them.
What does a customer relationship manager do?
Although we haven’t listed all of the benefits of a CRM system, it’s clear to see that they store a large amount of data, enabling teams to carry out their functions more efficiently and effectively.
So what function does the job of a customer relationship manager serve? Often part of the sales team, a customer relationship manager maintains connections with key clients or customers. They create a positive brand image and ensure important clients are kept happy.
They usually have a fairly broad job scope, which of course varies between companies, but it could include:
- Building relationships with key clients.
- Creating plans to address the business needs of clients.
- Act as a point of contact between their company and their client.
- Resolve and/or escalate any complaints.
- Work with the sales team to upsell and cross-sell products.
- Ensure their company and their client sticks to the contract.
- Set sales targets.
- Work with internal teams to determine how they can better meet the customer’s needs.
A customer relationship manager is required to juggle a lot of different duties at once, and they must be able to seamlessly move between the needs of their employer and the client. It’s important that they have good organisational skills, and can communicate well with a variety of different people.
What solution is best?
Customer relationship managers are wonderful, but it’s a lot of work for one person, and a lot of information to keep on top of. Sometimes the best solution, depending on your business needs, is to hire someone to work as a CRM and also invest in CRM software.
That way, your customer relationship manager can effectively communicate with their clients, whilst keeping everything organised in one central place. Because most CRM systems are cloud-based, it means that they can access the data they need from anywhere - and if they’re on holiday or off sick, their cover can also access the data easily. And because the CRM system presents everything in an easy-to-understand dashboard, there shouldn’t be any handover issues or information that gets lost in the process.
The CRM system will also make it easier for your manager to collaborate with other teams. You can integrate your CRM software with communication tools like Slack, meaning that the manager saves time as all the data they need is right in the same place as their conversations.
So, should customer relationship management be a job?
It’s not really a question of whether it should be a job, as it already is. It’s more a question of whether it should be a job that slots into your company structure. Companies can certainly benefit from a customer relationship manager - but they’ll benefit even more from that strategic hire alongside a comprehensive CRM system.