Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is gaining strong momentum in the global business arena. According to the latest enterprise software forecast from Gartner, CRM will have a global market revenue of $36.5 billion this 2017. The same report also shows that CRM has a 15.1% CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) from 2012 to 2017, outpacing all enterprise software categories.
According to IPC, a pioneering cloud and data center services provider, these figures reflect the aggressiveness of today’s businesses in terms of boosting customer engagement. However, the company cautions that despite the increase of global CRM adoption, some businesses struggle in reaping benefits from the technology.
“Some companies approach CRM simply as a software that needs to be implemented to track sales leads and opportunities. While this is not incorrect, it doesn’t capture the true benefits and advantages that a robust CRM system can provide for a business. Executives need to realize that CRM cuts across all business facets and processes at every customer touchpoint. It cultivates long-term relationships with customers by placing them first, and the rest, including technology, second,” said Niño Valmonte, Director for Marketing & Digital Innovation of IPC.
Forrester and Customer Think surveyed 414 business and technology decision makers who had been recently involved in CRM projects. The results show an interesting insight into how businesses use CRM:
- Nearly two-fifths (38%) of respondents stated that their problems were the result of people issues such as slow user adoption, inadequate attention paid to change management and training, and difficulties in aligning the organizational culture with new ways of working
- One-third (33%) of respondents faced problems because of poor or insufficient definition of business requirements, inadequate business process designs, and the need to customize solutions to fit unique organizational requirements.
- One-third (33%) of respondents had challenges related to CRM strategy, such as a lack of clearly defined objectives, a lack of organizational readiness, and insufficient solution governance practices.
It’s all about the customer
According to IPC, these issues can be remedied with a change in mindset, placing the customer in the prime center of the whole business process. This means taking a careful look into the current processes of the company and assessing which ones contribute to optimal customer satisfaction, making significant adjustments as needed, and involving all business units–not just the customer-facing employees.
Offered today by several providers as a program or application, CRM helps shape the way businesses and its customers interact with each other. Through CRM, data on customer behavior and feedback can be stored in a single database and then analyzed to yield insights. By getting to know their customers better, businesses are able to build stronger relationships with their clients.
But it’s not that easy. Making the shift from being product-focused to customer-focused involves the company’s entire operations — from management to customer service. In order to successfully bring companies closer to its customers, insights gathered from CRM projects must not be simply recorded but actually used to affect change in the organization’s processes.
For instance, if your CRM project revealed that customers are dissatisfied with the turnaround time of resolution of reported issues, not only the customer service department needs to step up. Management can set strict timelines, IT can develop a more user-friendly interface to accept complaints, and HR can improve training for customer service representatives.
“CRM must align with company culture and form the basis of business processes and strategies. Once it is integrated as a business philosophy, everyone in the company subscribes to the notion of putting the customer at the heart of the business. This philosophy then influences every decision that is made,” said Valmonte. Additionally, by applying it as a core philosophy, CRM can be used to test, learn, and understand behavior to determine what inspires a customer to acquire or stay committed to a specific company.
The focus to switch to a customer-centric approach comes in a pivotal moment where many business and IT leaders see the customer experience as a sustainable source of competitive differentiation brought by consumers demanding more service. “Those organizations who take steps to restructure and reorganize their CRM architecture will be best-placed to take advantage of the social and technological trends that are moving ever closer to the heart of the customer’s interaction with their brands, products and services,” explained Valmonte.
A provider of integrated IT services to businesses and institutions in the Philippines, IPC is a Silver Consulting partner of the world’s #1 CRM platform Salesforce, as part of its mission to empower organizations to achieve their business goals through customer-centric professional services, and value-driven cloud and managed data solutions.
IPC is also the only authorized training delivery partner of Salesforce University in the Philippines.
For more information about how CRM can help your company, visit ipc.ph/salesforce.