Customer relationship management (CRM) is a widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support.
Customer relationship management describes a company-wide business strategy including customer-interface departments as well as other departments. Measuring and valuing customer relationships is critical to implementing this strategy.
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system may bring a set of advantages for the company implementing it:
Successful implementation, use and support of CRM systems can provide a significant advantage to the user, but often there are obstacles that obstruct the user from using the system to its full potential. In resume, CRM systems shall be simple and intuitive, in order to have higher adoption and usage rates, particularly by end-users. Some of those challenges briefly resumed:
Tools and workflows can be complex, especially for large businesses. Previously, CRM software tools were simpler and focused on monitoring and recording interactions and communications with customers. Software solutions then expanded to embrace other features and, as they got more and more complex, the barriers to adoption also increased.
One of the largest challenges that CRM systems face is poor usability. With a difficult interface for a user to navigate, implementation can be fragmented or not entirely complete. An intuitive design can prove most effective in developing the content and layout of a customer relationship management system.
Often, poor usability can lead to implementations that are fragmented — isolated initiatives by individual departments to address their own needs. Systems that start disunited usually stay that way: siloed thinking and decision processes frequently lead to separate and incompatible systems, and dysfunctional processes. A fragmented implementation can negate any financial benefit associated with a customer relationship management system, as companies choose not to use all the associated features factored when justifying the investment. Instead, it is important that support for the CRM system is companywide.
Building and maintaining a strong business reputation has become increasingly challenging. The outcome of internal fragmentation that is observed and commented upon by customers is now visible to the rest of the world in the era of the social customer; in the past, only employees or partners were aware of it. Addressing the fragmentation requires a shift in philosophy and mindset in an organization so that everyone considers the impact to the customer of policy, decisions and actions. Companies now consider the possibility of brand loyalty and persistence of its users to purchase updates, upgrades and future editions of software.
A large challenge faced by developers and users is found in striking a balance between ease of use in the CRM interface and suitable and acceptable security measures and features. Corporations investing in CRM software do so expecting a relative ease of use while also requiring that customer and other sensitive data remain secure. This balance can be difficult, as many believe that improvements in security come at the expense of system usability.
We at ON Open tend to use vtiger community edition as our choice CRM tool. It has a large set of features, it’s fully customizable, very user-friendly and it’s free and open-source. So we can implement it on our customers own servers, so they have full and exclusive control over their strategic data. This is something of greater importance these days.
Nevertheless, we gladly implement other brands or products if our customers choose so. Our only commitment is to assist our customers in order to choose the tools they see better fitted and help them taking the most out of such tools.
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