With the advancement of technology, your customers can now engage you through various mediums. Whether that be through email, social media or in person – it’s extremely important to have a system in place to handle the influx of dialogue between you and your customers.
What tools are you using to help you engage with your customers?
Are you still relying on silo systems where information does not flow across? While many companies are using this method as a means to handle customer engagement, it’s not the most effective. Let’s talk about a new way – the converged way.
But before we get into that, picture this:
You purchase a water purifier from a well-known company but after few days of use, you realize that the purification process doesn’t work smoothly. You email the support team and they promise to send a technician to your home to fix the issue.
It’s been days and the technician still hasn’t arrived to fix the purifier. On the other hand, a sales agent from the company calls you trying to cross-sell. Shocked – you realize that the sales agent has no clue about your complaint that still hasn’t been resolved. You are forced to repeat the problem to him over the telephone. The sales agent gives you the contact information for support and you’re back at square one.
Gradually, your loyalty ends and you switch over to another vendor.
What if the company gave you prompt service? Or better yet, what if the sales agent had complete knowledge about your support ticket?
You probably would’ve still been loyal to the company.
Bid adieu to Customer Service. Say Hello to Customer Engagement.
In today’s hyper-competitive world, simply knowing your customers and ‘satisfying’ them in a standard way is no longer enough. Customers (and that includes you too) demand an exceptional experience at every stage of the buying journey. This begins with marketing, the customer’s first introduction to the company, moves on to sales when they become customers, and then support, when they use the product/service.
Businesses have to treat all customers as VIP throughout all the touchpoints in order to win them over and most importantly retain them.
But the present disparate solutions don’t allow you to do that because they provide a constricted view of customers to each department. Although information gets recorded, it never flows through to the systems of other teams. And that’s precisely where the emotional connection fails to get built between the customer and the company.
The concept of converged CRM
Renowned CRM vendors have understood the difficulties and challenges of working in a siloed application landscape and hence have pioneered the concept of a ‘converged CRM’ solution. As evident from the name, these CRMs ‘bring all things together’ under ONE umbrella.
In a stark contrast to the plain-vanilla CRMs that solely focus on post-sales customer relationship management and compel businesses to manage other processes through different applications, converged CRM manages Sales, Marketing and Customer Service collectively from its own parent platform. Not just this, it also includes Business Process Management, Workflow Automation, Invoicing, Social Integration, Project Management, Reports & Analytics, Quotes/invoicing, Document Management and Collaboration tools.
How does this create value?
You don’t have to invest on discrete or best of breed systems which have to be cobbled together. You don’t have to spend time to troubleshoot system integration, incur the annual upgrade issues and string together data siloes.
Instead, you run multi-channel marketing campaigns, manage sales pipeline, do lead nurturing, close deals, share documents, automate business processes and respond to customer cases from a single platform. Converged CRM enables you to manage all your customer activities from within one place, and make the most of the data while interacting with customers and prospects at different touchpoints.
And this is precisely where you score the goal!
Whether your customer has visited your website, subscribed to your newsletter, spoken to a sales agent or submitted a support ticket – you are aware of all the experiences, encompassing Sales, Marketing and Service departments, involving any customer-facing product, process or personnel of the company.
You are able to cut across inconsistent departmental views, gain 360-degree view of customers, present a consistent face across all customer-facing departments and channels and offer an engaging experience throughout the journey.
Converged CRMs empowers you to engage with customers in one or more ways. Whether it’s through email, social media or a phone call – your customers can choose how they want to interact with your business. Unlike other businesses who grapple tracking these channels, converged CRMs simplify this job for you by aggregating all messages into a centralized repository. You can access all interactions from one source point, analyze them to gain meaningful insights and make more personalized engagement with the customers.
Even your agents have the same information available to them from within the converged CRM. They’re on the same page and can easily coordinate and collaborate with each other.
This results in an open, honest and trustworthy environment where your company provides a consistent customer experience across the entire customer journey that increases customer satisfaction, builds trust and boosts loyalty.
Today when every company is offering prompt service – you need something extra that sets you apart from the crowd. And this comes with proactive support. You need to offer the candy even when your customer hasn’t expected it. Or else, let your customer slip into the hands of your competitor.
But while it is impossible to do this manually, converged CRMs ensures that you do the trick time and again. Through the CRM, you acquire a comprehensive view of the customer and a history of past interactions. With this, you can anticipate their underlying needs and proactively serve them when they least expect it. Be it sales, marketing or support – all your customer-facing employees focus on customers expressed requirements and implied needs. They solve the immediate problems and also address any underlying issues.
While most businesses are aware of the importance of Customer Engagement, very few take the necessary steps towards it. Many of these businesses are still on the wayside.
Ensure that you don’t commit the same blunder. Make it your goal to put your customers first and create an engaging customer experience that keeps customers coming back again and again. And the best way to do it is to implement a converged CRM solution that empowers you to seamlessly engage with customers at all touchpoints.
Hi Manash, while I agree to the points you make I have a question: What differentiates a ‘converged CRM’ from what was so far named a ‘CRM Suite’?
Hi Thomas, IMHO, the primary difference is the DNA for such platforms. Is the platform build ground up keeping all the different departments in mind or developed to solve specific functionalities with an option to integrate with 3rd party applications to augment additional functionalities.
Converged CRM concept is what offers a complete package across departments and builds a very seamless handshake between your Sales, Marketing, Service and Billing departments without having to add any other 3rd party application.
ah, the fun of terminology 😉 – I would name this a suite, like SAP, Siebel, and others offered already back in the early days of the century. We at SAP certainly had the same thought in mind.
But then be aware that there nearly always will be a need to add third party applications to any given platform or suite. There is no one-and-for-all solution and never will be.
Can we ever come out of terminology game 😉 MSP->ASP->Cloud->SaaS… the list goes on.
We do understand the need for 3rd party productivity apps and for that reason we have a very healthy App Store which offers integration to tools like Zapier, Docusign, Twilio, Quickbooks to all the way to a full blown call center solution.
Manash, you can believe me that I am not interested in playing terminology games but as a consultant and analyst have an interest in understanding new terms coined by vendors. 😉
How about you give me a briefing on ConvergeHub? Am intrigued. I am always interested in CRM systems for SMBs. Maybe there is a possible cooperation?