CRM systems are software packages that help a business focus on its customers by understanding their requirements, serving them appropriately, and providing additional services that will lead to customer delight. CRM software packages have been implemented in customer-facing organizations around the world and provide superior value for those companies that use them.
The key business value that organizations derive from a CRM system is the ability to provide a great customer experience at all touch points. This article will focus on customer experience as a main value that any company can get by implementing an efficient CRM system.
What Is Customer Experience?
Customer experience is the impression that is left on the minds of the customers as a result of their interaction with an organization's employee, brand, Web site, customer applications, office space, point of sale (PoS), or any other touch point. Great customer experiences are built around feelings, spaces, and thousands of other factors. Providing a superior customer experience should be the ultimate goal of any CRM system.
The basic foundation for building a great customer experience can be summed up in three words: extract, engage, and entice. I call this the "3E Model for Better Customer Experience."
There is a saying that "Your CRM is only as good as your data." The "extract" part of the customer experience equation tells us that obtaining important customer information is the first step toward providing world-class customer experience.
To "engage" customers with personalized services requires a deep understanding of the customer's profile. Customers will be "enticed," or naturally attracted, when they are approached with the right offer at the right time at the right place.
Extracting Relevant Details
CRM systems allow businesses to extract relevant information from the customer. They should capture basic or core customer information, like account and contact details. Account details vary from basic profile information to industry focus, credit profile, and service history, while contact details range from basic contact profile to contact preferences and the contact's influence in decision making.
The secret to achieving great customer experience is to try to collect all possible information about the customer, even information that may be considered trivial, like a customer's preference to stay only on the ground floor of a hotel, a preference toward a specific car brand during rentals, etc. Today's CRM systems come with built-in business intelligence (BI) systems, which can leverage even trivial information to build patterns and create knowledge out of the information.
The Power of Engagement
Engaging a customer with valuable product information and promotions will reap benefits in the short and long run. Here's how it works:
- In the "extract" stage, organizations have potentially received a huge amount of customer information, which will be crunched by the BI systems to arrive at personalized offers.
- CRM systems should present this information to a service rep or sales rep at the right moment to engage a customer during service calls or other customer meetings.
- Customer engagement performed in an accurate and focused manner can lead to exponential sales growth.
- Customer engagement should lead to the involvement of the customer and evolve into a conversation rather than a monologue by the service rep or sales rep.
- Engagement leads to a greater level of interest from both parties, the sales/service rep and the customer.
- Service/sales reps might not have previously had specific insight into the customer or product and can use this new information to get a clear picture on how to close a particular sale.
- The customer will be interested in the new offer or personalized feel of the offering, which he otherwise would have not known about.
Once you've engaged customers with personalized offers, it's time to entice them. Key to achieving this final step in the process are the following concepts:
- Customers are attracted to new offers when they are approached at the right time and place.
- Customers should feel that the offer presented to them will be of value and essential to them at this point in time.
- Customers will naturally feel delighted when the offer purchased brings them value.
Ultimately this model of extract, engage, and entice will help enterprises achieve greater business value by enhancing customer experience. Focusing on each step at a time will help organizations channel their resources and achieve the maximum benefit from their CRM systems.
Vijay Muthupalaniappan is an associate consultant with Infosys Ltd. He has worked as a business analyst and CRM consultant in a large CRM transformation program for a U.S.-based legal publishing company and Australia-based telecom company. He can be reached at Vijay_m02@infosys.com.