The Importance of Data Analytics and CRM for Improving Customer Experience
Ensuring an exceptional experience in all customer interactions has become a priority for organizations. This need has been fueled by rising customer expectations and increased competition which have amplified the importance of ensuring a good experience at all points of contact with a company.
Personalization has now assumed a key role throughout the customer journey, and companies should make personalization a major goal for the future. But this is only possible with good customer knowledge, that is, with a good method of collecting and sharing data.
What is a CRM platform?
CRM platforms store information about the activities and touchpoints of current and potential customers. Such information includes emails, website visits, phone calls, and other interactions. CRM platforms allow you to anticipate needs and wants, optimize profitability, increase sales, and customize campaigns to attract new customers.
The role of CRM in differentiating the consumer experience
Companies need to enhance their approach with new strategies, technologies, and processes that tailor the experience to each person's needs and journey.
It is necessary to aggregate, through digital tools, all the information about the customers (attributes, behaviors, interactions). All this information helps companies understand behavior patterns and helps guide the organization on what is truly important to each customer.
Creating a differentiated experience depends on recommendations for the best method, channel, and time to interact with each person. These recommendations will only be correct if they are made based on data. The goal is for companies to achieve full consistency and transparency, prioritizing a seamless experience for the stages of the journey that the customer values most.
For this to be possible, there needs to be a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that gathers, records and allows the visualization of all customer interactions and activities across all of a company's channels (digital, telephone, and face-to-face). Using CRM also makes it possible to anticipate customer needs and optimize each contact, instantly choosing personalized actions based on each one's profile and making communication seamless across channels, without ever losing context. The result will be more personal experiences and a consistent service.
What is the impact of using CRM platforms in mitigating organizational problems?
A good CRM platform, in addition to the impact it has on delivering a great experience, has implications across almost all marketing, sales, and customer support processes. Several common problems can be highlighted where CRM will have a positive impact:
- Customer dissatisfaction - often caused by poor service due to the teams' difficulty in accessing relevant information about the customer.
- Poorly structured and inefficient marketing and sales processes.
- Ineffective leads follow-up - due to the difficulty in identifying and managing the challenges of each potential customer.
- Inaccurate or non-existent data - i.e. insufficient, or outdated marketing, sales, and support data, and indicators that often lead to wrong strategy definitions and decision-making.
- Low agility and productivity of teams - due to the existence of manual tasks with no added value.
The purchase of a CRM alone does not solve these issues, but it is a key element of the improvement process. Solving these problems must be thought through more comprehensively, by working on processes, teams, and with technology.
What are the benefits of using a good CRM?
A CRM organizes information and makes it accessible in real-time, speeding up and simplifying processes. It also helps organizations eliminate obsolete processes and manual effort, so that employees can focus on higher value-added tasks and the business can grow.
A good CRM allows you:
1. To get a global view of the business – enables the centralization of information and its availability for all teams, at any time and on different devices, which contributes to more agile decision-making.
2. 2. To track performance in real-time – A CRM gives a realistic and accurate view of performance. It makes it possible to evaluate specific indicators (no. of leads, no. of prospects, sales volume, conversion rates ...) at any time as it allows you to view updated dashboards customized to the needs of each organization.
3. To improve the customer experience – all the customer's interactions with the organization are recorded which allows for the improvement of the service provided in all channels.
4. To increase productivity – allows you to increase productivity in a sustained way as it improves communication, creates more efficient processes (automates), and centralizes information about customers.
5. To improve team management – team management is made easier due to the availability of indicators for analysis. CRM platforms also allow improvement actions to be defined based on data. Thus, teams become more aligned and motivated.
6. To improve leads tracking – allows you to track the buying journey of prospects, providing visibility into what stage of the marketing and sales funnel a person is in.
7. To increase sales – better tracking of the buying journey and indicators, higher customer satisfaction, and better decision-making will result in increased sales.
How to select the most suitable CRM for your organization?
There are many CRM options available on the market, so it is necessary to properly evaluate the different alternatives before moving forward with the purchase.
First, it is necessary to define how it will be used in the daily routine of each team, and to establish the selection criteria, such as budget and essential resources. After the survey of all the functionalities that the CRM will have to respond to, it is necessary to evaluate the solutions available on the market. After the software that does not meet the minimum requirements has been eliminated, two to three solutions are chosen and moved to the testing phase. The testing phase allows us to evaluate if the available functionalities meet the needs of the various teams and if they are user-friendly. Ultimately, the best solution is selected.
Most CRMs available on the market have several subscription plans, tailored to the needs and size of each business. These plans usually vary according to the number of modules selected (marketing, sales, customer service, ...), the number of users, and other more specific criteria.
How to implement a CRM?
The process of implementing a CRM platform should be managed as a project. Time must be spent on implementation, involving the various teams in order to ensure the quality of the data, the organization of the information, and the structure of the sales pipeline, so that it is not necessary to spend a lot of time later on correcting errors. The goal is that the CRM platform will make the teams' day-to-day life easier and optimize processes - not the other way around.
Investing time and resources in this initial CRM design and implementation phase will save future time in correcting data or process errors.
The first step is to plan the implementation phases, defining a time frame for each step:
- Prepare the data and select the respective properties (contacts, companies, deals, etc.).
- Initial setup of the platform.
- Import the data into the platform.
- Link the platform to the website, social media, ERP, or other tools.
- Define processes, flows, and templates, and implement them in the platform.
- Create dashboards for marketing, sales, customer service, and others.
- Train teams.
- Monitor implementation, evaluating evolution of the level of use of each functionality.
These are the macro steps of implementation, but for each specific case, it will be necessary to define a detailed plan. This is the only way to ensure that we make the best use of all the available features. It is important to emphasize that all data (contacts, companies, deals, or others) must be ‘cleaned’ before being imported, and standards must be created to ensure the quality of the information available in the CRM over time.
Another best practice is to design and simplify processes before they are automated. In other words, before creating workflows, funnels, or other automatisms, one should always ensure that they have already been analyzed and optimized before their implementation in the CRM.
The challenge and results
A seamless experience throughout the customer journey requires good data and good alignment and collaboration between marketing, sales, customer support, and operations. CRMs are a key contributor to this process. With the increased visibility provided by technology, and with capable, customer-focused teams, it is possible to increase the level of personalization and respond to customer requests at the very first contact. The challenge for companies will be to select the right technologies to help employees deliver exceptional service.
The gains that can be expected from a good CRM system implementation are increased sales, increased team productivity, and a shortened buying cycle.
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