CRM: What small business owners need to know before taking the plunge

01-thumbsup-28nov2016

CRM: What small business owners need to know before taking the plunge

If you’re small business owner, chances are that cloud CRM advertisements are now stalking you online. Yes. CRM is the latest application based technology to become accessible to small businesses. And yes— it is tempting. We all want to streamline our processes, manage better customer relations, tap into loyalty and drive more conversions.

But is CRM alone going to deliver these results? Here’s what small business owners need to know:

 

  1. GET YOUR INTERACTIONS IN ORDER FIRST
    Yes; CRM helps you drive more conversions. But these conversions actualize only through interactions: calls, chats, emails and social media channels. So, it’s a good idea to sort out these channels before implementing your CRM.
    If your customer interactions are taking place only through emails, then a robust CRM system can be a standalone system. But remember, people will want one-on-one interactions at some stage. A New Voice survey states that 75% of consumers prefer calling as an effective means of response. In another survey 61% consumers choose phone calls as their preferred help mode. So the failsafe phone call isn’t going anywhere. Is there anything technology can do to help on this front?
    Luckily, there is. It’s not just CRM that got affordable for small businesses: contact center tools are also cheaper and more accessible thanks to the Internet.
    Here’s what you should do: Subscribe to a PBX or contact center application with easy to set-up IVR and efficient call routing. You’ll get a professional front, efficiently multitask staff, handle maximum calls and ensure your customer isn’t kept waiting. Most solutions easily integrate with any CRM package and some even come with basic CRM inbuilt.
  2. CRM NEEDS TRAINING
    CRM demands training. You cannot implement CRM without trained staff. Solutions like Salesforce now require certified staff. But even the less complicated software have steep learning curves. Reluctance to implement CRM is cited as the No.1 reason for its failing.

Here’s what you should do: If you cant afford the time or resources to train your staff, consider contact center solutions with built-in CRM basics. Without any special training, a good contact center solution will let you record better, train easily and still achieve improved customer service and sales— independent of attrition rates. In-built basic CRM features will let you postpone your standalone CRM purchase for later.

 

  1. TAP INTO YOUR EXISTING CRM EXPERTISE
    CRM stand for customer relationship management. As a small business owner, chances are you’re already an expert. According to the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer: 81% consumers think small business delivers better service than big businesses. After all, many small business owners and staff know their customer personally. And they’ve built (or are building) their business on fantastic relationships developed over years. Remember it’s human interactions that drive customer loyalties, sales and better service.

Here’s what you should do: No doubt CRM is the future. At some point, going CRM savvy will be great for growth and planning.  But first, consider using technology to transfer and streamline the expertise you have. Streamline your staff to interact with your customer better using contact center solutions built especially for small businesses. Once this is on track, add CRM later as the next logical step.
Ideally, a contact center solution with inbuilt CRM is the best first step for a small business to improve their customer relations. In case you can’t get this, you’ll need to purchase separate contact center and CRM solutions. If you cant budget for both, read our article on how to choose right here.  In the mean time keep the faith; companies that are focusing on small businesses have only just begun. Start off those partnerships, great transformations are in the offing.