CRM or Customer Relationship Management is becoming more prevalent in businesses, from large corporations representing well-known brands, to independent small business owners and start-up entrepreneurs. CRM uses proven methodologies and e-business technologies to help companies identify, select, acquire, develop, and retain profitable customers – building the lasting relationships that are key to long-term financial success.
So, if CRM is key to long-term financial success, let’s look at various ways in which it can be implemented with the help of technology. As this site mainly covers web and mobile technology, let’s review some CRM Software tools.
There are an array of cloud-based CRM software tools and they’re available via open-source or SaaS. Some of the better known CRM Software providers are SugarCRM, Salesforce and Zoho. Unless you have someone with the ability to setup an open source CRM tool on your web server, the SaaS option might be the best tool for you. When you look at Internet penetration in South Africa, you will find that only 25% of people have access to the web via computer or mobile. What about the other 75%? This is where CRM software (that includes SMS software) comes into play. Why? Because, in South Africa, there are as many SIM cards as there are human beings, if not more.
Like the iPad – which fills the gap between using your Laptop and your mobile phone – SMS achieves a similar goal when it comes to CRM. How exactly does SMS work in relation to CRM? To demonstrate this relationship, let’s draw a few examples from big and small South African companies:
Your Bank’s SMS alerts: Many South Africans earning a monthly salary are all too familiar with a specific financial service provider’s SMS alerts, informing them of an account deposit or payment received. Sometimes it happens late at night, sometimes in the early hours of the morning – but being notified that a payment’s been made to your account should put a smile on your face – no matter what time it is 🙂
Your ISP and capped ADSL: Most ADSL and mobile users in South Africa are on capped internet connections. Yes, we get emailed before our data runs out, but there are times when you just can’t get around to buying more data before you are unable to access the internet again. This would be the perfect opportunity to utilize 2-way SMS software. The way I see this working is: your ISP SMS’s you once you’ve run out of ‘Gigs’ and by simply replying, you auto-top-up your ADSL account, enabling you to continue surfing.
When you work offline but new business comes from an online source: Smart phones and the push notifications are nifty but your mobile data bill could skyrocket because of them. Most phones are not equipped with this functionality yet though and having to constantly check mail on your mobile without push notifications can prove to be time consuming. This is where integrating an SMS alert with web contact form comes in handy. I’ve been doing this since 2005: whenever someone completes an online contact form on www.idrive.co.za, the person responsible for responding to that new contact immediately gets alerted via SMS. The nature and reality of this specific business, is that most of the SMS recipients are instructing driving classes for most of the day and are away from computers. An SMS alert enables them to respond sooner to any query.
Web AddiCT(s); CRM Software powered by SMS: You, the person reading this blog, could be considered a customer and I wish to engage with you beyond the usual RSS, Facebook and Twitter updates – particularly during times that a competition is being run. At a time like this, the Bulk SMS WordPress plugin comes into play (going to nearly 5000 users). This can also be considered to be Customer Relationship Management.
If you are in search of SMS Software that can also be utilized as CRM software, have a look at the web-based, Bulk SMS app by Clickatell: Clickatell’s Communicator 2 is a SMS tool that allows you to send personalized, bulk SMS text messages and receive replies to your Communicator 2 Inbox.