Making CRM Pay Off

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What's in it for me? That is the age-old question every customer asks. As users of CRM processes and technologies, you are customers, too. So what's in it--CRM, that is--for you? What's in it for companies using CRM is profit. It's satisfied customers, reduced costs, and increased sales that translate into return on investment, and more--or at least it should be. The caveat is, of course, that achieving "What's in it for me?" from a CRM initiative isn't automatic. Like any worthwhile endeavor, it takes a great deal of planning and effort to get real results from CRM. This month we examine four key strategies for ensuring results from a CRM initiative: planning for ROI; delighting customers; transforming call centers into profit centers; and using data to boost revenue. Organizations will no longer a take leap of faith on the proposed effectiveness of CRM. Today vendors must demonstrate the expected return on their customers' investments. In "Prove It" (page 28), News Editor Martin Schneider explains how vendors are helping their clients prepare for and prove ROI before, during, and after a CRM implementation. Customers in general have ever-increasing expectations. Keeping up with those expectations and ensuring customers are satisfied keep businesses profitable, but means understanding what customers really want. In "The Bottom Line: Keep Customers Happy" (page 32) Senior Editor Lisa Picarille discusses how companies can give customers what they want when they want it, and still be profitable doing it. One way to keep customers happy without busting the bottom line is by using CRM to turn call centers into profit centers. There are few things more difficult than measuring return on call center investments, but in "Delivering on Its Promise" (page 38), Senior Editor David Myron reveals the hottest strategies for profiting from customer satisfaction--and sales--in the contact center. Even data can help boost CRM results. Organizations collect reams of information on their customers, and in "The 10 Best Things to Do With Your Data" (page 44), journalist Jason Compton offers tactics for transforming that data to bottom-line dollars. What's in it for companies that apply these four strategies to their CRM plans? Real results. And for CRM leaders whose company management is asking "What's in it for me?", real results are the bottom line.
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