CRM who? A little bit of background on What CRM is from good old wikipedia…
The generally accepted purpose of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is to enable organizations to better manage their customers through the introduction of reliable systems, processes and procedures for interacting with those customers.
In today’s competitive business environment, a successful CRM strategy cannot be implemented by simply installing and integrating a software package designed to support CRM processes. A holistic approach to CRM is vital for an effective and efficient CRM policy. This approach includes training of employees, a modification of business processes based on customers’ needs and an adoption of relevant IT-systems (including software and maybe hardware) and/or usage of IT-Services that enable the organization or company to follow its CRM strategy. CRM-Services can even replace the acquisition of additional hardware or CRM software-licences.
The term CRM is used to describe either the software or the whole business strategy (or lack of one) oriented on customer needs. The main misconception of CRM is that it is only software, instead of whole business strategy.
Major areas of CRM focus on service automated processes, personal information gathering and processing, and self-service. It attempts to integrate and automate the various customer serving processes within a company.
Miguel and I built a CRM from scratch in 6 weeks last year in November and December. Why re-invent the wheel you might ask? The answer is simple, to practise AJAX which was fairly new to us back then, we used a bit of AJAX to in our bespoke CRM application enabling smooth searches to track all communication with clients, companies and the odd support call we get now and then.
Anyhow, Sara has captured hundreds of our clients on site1(to be automated soon) and we used a little feature, coded by yours truly, called “Personalised Email” to mail everyone that has used the site in the past month or two, 340 names and their email addresses (if each one of them was a ml a can of cooldrink would be full) . Every email went out with personalised Messages to %name% %surname% to say thank you for using site1 and some other information. If you used site1 & received one the the messages from Sara it was the CRM hard at work 🙂
Believe it or not there are some well established companies who do the following, I’ve seen it with my own eyes:
- Enter cleints details into a giant 14000 row spreadsheet (yes 14000, they’re that big).
- Open a particular Word precessing document with a prewritten email.
- Tools > Mail Merge then find the client in this giant spreadsheet.
- Merge complete. Let us Ctrl-A(Select All), Ctrl-C(Copy) and then Ctrl-V(paste) this into our favourite email program.
- Click send.
- Go back to giant spreadsheet and make a note of the email that has been sent (Do NOT forget to save).
- Make a note in my diary to remind me to follow-up on this in X days.
Our CRM has automated this process and enables us to do more work in less time.
Off to Cape Dandelion. Forgot my camera here at the office last night but put it in my pocket just now.