• April 1, 2015
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

The 4 Core Components of CRM

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To bolster customer relationships, organizations have generally focused on three key components of a business: people, processes, and technology. However, it's time to add knowledge to the list.

Many industry experts have taken knowledge for granted, because it's one of the implied values of a CRM system. A decent CRM system can capture customers' and prospects' contact information and track their interactions with the company. All of this is knowledge, but it's time to give knowledge the recognition it deserves and make it one of the essential components of a successful CRM strategy. After all, a CRM system is only as good as its data.

Those who know this also understand that not all data is valuable, and some is even harmful to businesses. Published reports have indicated that about 20 percent of any organization's data becomes obsolete each year, due to employees entering the wrong data and customer life changes that aren't reflected in their profiles (such as a new home address, a name change due to marriage or divorce, death, etc.). So, if your organization does nothing to preserve the accuracy of its data in two years, nearly half (40 percent) of it will be inaccurate.

Another reason to focus on knowledge as an essential component of CRM is that data is constantly flooding your company. Customers are more digitally connected than ever before. They're still connecting with companies on traditional channels (such as the phone and email), but they're also reaching out via emerging channels, such as the Web, social media, and mobile devices. (Our cover story, "Text Takes Precedence as a Customer Service Preference," by Leonard Klie, bears out the latter trend.) As a result, organizations are capturing a lot more customer data than before, so much that they are inundated and overwhelmed by it. Compounding the problem, not all of this data is valuable. This requires organizations to take a measured approach to data analysis to ensure they are analyzing and taking action on the most relevant data.

Perhaps there is no better proof of this than the recent developments in analytics. According to the feature story "Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics Peek into the Future," by Maria Minsker, the right knowledge can help organizations make the best business decisions for short- and long-term success. Maria writes, "Increasingly, businesses are not only looking for solutions to help them analyze the massive amount of data their customers are continually producing, but also to assist them in making predictions based on the available information, and transform those predictions into triggers for the right course of action." Read more about these developments in this feature story.

Clearly, organizations cannot afford to use obsolete or irrelevant data. To preserve and protect their valuable data, organizations must turn to their data scientists, IT professionals, and security experts for help in selecting and implementing the best data cleansing, knowledge management, data mining, analytics, master data management, data security, and data backup solutions. These efforts will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.

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