We need to stop talking about CRM

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2 minute read

For nearly twenty years businesses have been talking about CRM – Customer Relationship Management. Once viewed as the pinnacle of sales and marketing operations, CRM tools and methodologies promised to help us sell more by collecting and analysing every interaction with our clients.

CRM was hugely helpful. Our marketing team collated and scored leads, escalating the qualified ones to the sales department for action. The sales team would also periodically trawl the CRM system, looking for cross-sell and up-sell opportunities within the existing customer base.

By better knowing our customers and their preferences, the more effective we became at selling to them. And this is the main problem with CRM.

 

A sales and marketing tool

Because of this focus on sales and marketing potential, CRM has become the preserve of these two functions. For many organisations this data exists in a silo, limiting its potential value to the business.

In recent years there have been efforts to link data collected by the customer service department into the CRM systems – but again the focus remains squarely on how that information can be translated into sales. Although every business exists to make money, this relentless focus on sales is (possibly) a mistake.

 

Service before sales

The statistics are clear. Customers value service over anything your business can offer – including lower prices. But get service wrong, and you could lose a third of customers immediately.

In fact, research suggests that investing in service-driven technologies and processes will yield better results. PricewaterhouseCoopers found that customers will pay up to a 16% price premium on products and services and become more loyal to a brand that demonstrates excellent customer service.

The conversation needs to shift from customer relationship management to customer service management.

 

Not just a customer service issue

CRM started with the lofty ideal of making businesses customer-centric, but for various reasons, this vision was never properly realised. In the face of demands for greater quality of service, however, businesses must be not only customer-centric but customer service-centric.

This means treating every customer-related activity as a service activity. It also means using technology to link data sets so that you can build up a true picture of every client and their preferences. Obviously, this sounds like CRM, but customer service management extends beyond sales and marketing – beyond customer service too.

CSM encourages the whole organization to approach every activity by asking the question, “How will this improve the service we offer our customers?” But rather than making a best guess, a CSM platform allows you to collate and query your data to get real answers – and to build automation and workflows to take advantage of those insights.

In future, internal conversations need to shift from “How do we manage our customers?” to “How do we better serve our customers?”. Because it is from this starting point that your business is prepared to meet the changing demands of customers present and future.

Contact the Crossfuze team today to learn more about ServiceNow CSM and how it could help your business improve customer retention and profitability.

 

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