By: Hailey Valdez
1st place winner in the Wheelhouse Scholarship Essay Contest
Customer Relationship Management software, or CRM for short, is technology small businesses can utilize in order to store and manage all relationships with potential and current customers all in one place and more efficiently than ever. There are many key benefits to this including increased organization, customer support, automation, and easier team collaboration.
First, a small business implementing the use of CRM software will keep the company organized from day one. These systems allow the storage of important digital files and customer information, eliminating the need for spreadsheets or physical filing systems. Not only will the ease of digital storage benefit the company but accessing the files will not be a difficult task either; any employee that has authorization will be able to view the information needed to carry out their roles with a few clicks on their computer. Storing this information online also tends to make it more accurate due to technology catching and correcting errors which may cause issues down the line if not caught in time.
Overall, the organization that a CRM provides will help the company drastically as they build their network and gain more information to store.
Second, having a solid customer support system is crucial to a small business’s reputation and growth. One of the benefits of CRM is it makes customer support the strongest it could be by analyzing data from current customers, noticing patterns where room for improvement exists, and finding potential leads. Tracking customers’ moves reveals customer response to the company’s strategies and their needs that are not being met. From there, a business has all information needed to improve and develop better client relationships and improve the internal customer service functions where it is necessary. That being said, timely and effective communication is easier to provide, making customers happy as they experience superior, personalized service and take note of the efforts made to provide satisfaction. This level of interaction helps in many facets of the company; not only are current customers pleased, but they are more likely to become long-term customers and refer the business to others. So, it is evident that small business utilization of a CRM also boosts customer experience strategy by tracking their needs and supporting adequate customer service.
Third, CRM software has the capability to automate many tasks that businesses need to carry out regularly. These tasks can be repetitive and time-consuming, like generating monthly reports or pulling customer invoices for the accounting team to bill. However, the addition of a CRM for small business can eliminate these tedious tasks from the employee’s hands by programming processes to pull all information needed automatically. This type of automation not only eases the workload by eliminating a time-consuming piece but also will lessen the chance of human error in the pulling of information. With reports, invoices, emails, updates/follow-ups, and whatever else a company may use to function being automated, efficiency is increased in every possible way.
Since so many processes can be automated, this can help keep costs lower since extra employees will not be needed to complete these tasks, which is especially critical for a small business attempting to keep overhead costs low. To summarize, CRM software benefits small businesses in the way that it automates many time-consuming processes, has an overall efficient procedure that does not require an additional employee to carry it out, and keeps costs lower.
Lastly, a CRM system encourages a team-centered dynamic by storing information for multiple departments. For example, since data regarding marketing trends and financial information is stored in this single system, teams can collaborate to assess what the information means and how the company can use it to its benefit. Teams can work together to gain a basic understanding of what their department data means and carry it into the implementation of new ideas, tactics, or strategies the company can use to improve or continue the trend that is recorded.
Adding on to the example given earlier, if the finance team notices a spike in revenue, access to marketing materials will reveal that a special sale or targeted advertising was done to trigger this. From there, the marketing team and finance team can work together to make these tactics a part of the permanent strategy or even come together to improve them. Basically, CRM allows room for teamwork by storing many departments’ data in one spot, making it easy to collaborate and compare data to analyze its effects.
In conclusion, the utilization of CRM software in a small business setting is nothing but beneficial. Although it does cost money, it will quickly pay off as it improves function and minimizes difficulty in many facets of the business. If a small business rolls out a CRM system, they will quickly notice changes in team collaboration as it becomes easier than ever, automates processes that would take hours prior to implementation, build the possibility of strong client relations as it makes communication easier and quicker, and improve organization overall. Small businesses using CRMs will only assist in improving overall employee performance and interactions with current and potential customers.