What is the CRM is, probably, one of the most popular posts in any marketing blog. Although it is important understand what are we talking about when we said CRM. There are a lot of definitions, and it depends on whom you are talking with. In general, it is a enterprise strategy and philosophy on how to manage the customer relationship . It consists on get deep customer knowledge; offer the best customer service, built a strong brand customer experience while company get´s better results being more efficient.
A good and simple example, common to all of us could be the proximity neighborhood shops. Customer-company relationship is very good, owner´s shop has a 360º vision of us (customers), there is a strong relationship based in a partnership (we buy there as we get exactly what we need). Could be a silly example, but it is representative.
In order to have this kind of customer experience some companies decide to deploy a system that could manage the customer relationship in an automatic way. CRM systems have borned. Some manufactures as Act or goldmine start selling their solution.
But soon some other big companies as Siebel (now part of Oracle), Peoplesoft, JDEduard, … decide to compete in this market. In fact some of these solutions were leaders during a lot of years.
Automation phase was the next one. Some of automation tools were integrated into CRM systems as Sales force automation, marketing automation, contact management…All these solutions were built using client-server technology paradigm, so business and technology has change both.
Time flies and business face new challenges. Internet, new application and new players appear in the landscape. So classical CRM platforms new to be adapted to this new circumstances and integrated them. CRM platform received a new name: eCRM. Customer service was, is and will be the core of these systems, so need to be constantly looking for new way to take care of customers. If Internet is the new communication gateway, systems should be integrated.
As all of us well know, Internet is a synonymous of agility and speed. Customers start using their Internet connection very often for any kind of activities (work, hobbies, ecommerce). So they required new way to be connected more hours per day. Faster mobile internet connection was the kick off for new mobile devices, smartphones, and the famous APPs.. As in the last break event, CRM platform need to be adapted to this requirement. Business starts using the concept of mCRM. This is the time to connect with customers using their mobile devices, and change customer services in a 24X7 business model. This is an important change for all models.
“Companies needs to change their perspective, customer services is not a department it should be an attitude, working hours disappear with ecommerce, and need to be ensure all teams are prepare to operate in the globalization model”.
If we want to exist, we follow these new rules. Well, there is a new one, it is very important to cover: be social. Social CRM is the last version of the classic ones. Customer express their opinion anywere about anything, social network are key in this new game being the playground. Are we attending as we should this new forums (twitter, facebook,..)? There is a not tangible asset but very important companies could not leave: branding and customer experience. We, as service provider of product manufactures, are operating in a highly interconnected world, with good competitors, in a faster environment and with very informed customers (they have a lot of new resource and information).
“Customers are ready to start dealing with our competitor if are not happy with their experience”.
In fact, they will share how was their experience in social networks, and this is only one opportunity to react to this. Are we ready? Do we have the correct tools to serve customer as they want? There are a lot of really good platform as Salesforce, SugarCRM or Microsoft Dynamics. CRM is social and should take care of customer experience. This is the way we should run our business right now. We operate in a Omni channel model, with unknown competitors and customers and few chances to fix our errors. It is key to be sure our services and product is what customers are looking for. But not only the pure product or services, but also the way the get to it, the way they consume it and the experience they live and remember it. Taking care of the full end-to-end life cycle will be the key for the success. Let´s start working in this direction, and chance all required areas, teams and things in order to be ready for this.