In order to build relationships with clients, the customer service role has to encompass a series of services that corresponds to pre-sales, sales, and after sales care. Upselling of your products and services is also a part of these blanketed obligations. The core responsibility of the customer service agent lies at the front line. They are the chosen ones who are in direct contact with customers.

Nonetheless, the ability to build relationships with customers is the key to success for any form of business. The quality of customer service care and the experience that it brings about to potential and current customers are what make your clients come back for more.

Having people skills is a must in any sales or customer service organization. The way your company moves in order to adjust and adopt new communication methods and channels help set the tone for the essence of your customer’s experience. Apart from training, customer service agents should be empowered with tools that enable troubleshooting and decision making in the quickest and most efficient manner. This is where Client Relationship Management (CRM) tools come in. Because customers are the lifeblood of your organization, you need the right systems to handle all of their data.

The Importance of CRM Tools

Through CRM platforms and data applications, you can provide a seamless integration of all channels of communication that your company utilizes. These platforms are capable of sending and consolidating data in real time regardless of location. Analysis becomes easier; you can personalize communication, segment contacts and resolve any outstanding cases much more quickly to the benefit of your customers’ satisfaction.

Field-based company representatives benefit from CRM platforms because the processing times of inquiries, requests, and purchase orders are sped up-significantly. Tracking your orders becomes simpler, while managing customers becomes more tailored.

At the same time, the elements of communication between company representatives and customers correlates to your chosen CRM platform design. Although it does not have to be extremely sophisticated, the system should have the capacity to integrate multiple devices within a single access point.

Furthermore, CRM data tools and applications should be lightweight with lowered bandwidth use and fewer data storage requirements. This is because they increase accessibility and portability. User-friendly CRM platforms require less training, as well.

Types of CRM Platforms

Start-up business ventures, small businesses, and enterprise businesses all benefit from CRM tools. They create a process flow specific to various department levels. This helps in tracking business leads and converting leads into sales, which is what you want. It also enables a smooth transition of requests from one department to the other, making sales processes, work flow, follow-ups, and customer feedback less complex.

Mobile CRM

The most prominent theme of 2014 will be mobile CRM. Most companies equip employees with a mobile device that run on SMS and/or GPRS. The biggest benefit is that voice and data communications allow real time collaboration. It also gives your customers direct access to representatives, anytime, anywhere.

Social CRM

Social CRM conveys a more complex process flow, but one that is a standout in the CRM world. This type does not simply deal with accessibility that goes from point A or point B or business-to-business. Instead, it encompasses a larger audience and focuses more on content rather than a defined process flow. For example, Social CRM uses outlets such as forums, Twitter and Facebook to appeal to the more emotional side of customers.

Basic CRM is predictive in nature. Steps and processes can easily be determined, and cases can be treated independently. On the other hand, Social CRM, is highly unpredictable, and capabilities depend on the end user. These facets of Social CRM require content management geared toward customer relationship building to be fruitful.

With Social CRM being a new and evolving technology for customer experience management, out of the box solutions that feature new software and applications are now in demand. CRM tools that come with features that are intuitive and responsive may perhaps be the answer to this need.

Cloud-based CRM

Cloud-based CRM is a cost efficient alternative to standard platforms. These enable companies to save on data storage costs since they are taken care of for you. Accessibility to data is also increased because this platform is not device specific. With no more than Internet access, you can reach your client accounts. You don’t need any built-in software or applications to run it either.

There are even cloud-based CRM platforms that can be implemented free of charge for a limited number of users with a minimal storage capacity. This type of platform is ideal for start-up companies and small businesses. Larger companies with multiple remote offices can also find cloud-based CRM platforms more convenient to use.

Current CRM Trends

Today, intelligent CRM technologies allow access to various types of data in real time. Additionally, these trends specifically offer the following key features that enable a user-friendly experience within the following aspects:

  • Seamless integration of various communication channels both in the platform and network.
  • Faster and easier consolidation of data with real time analysis.
  • Increased data storage at a lower cost.
  • Enhanced productivity.
  • Real time online collaboration with customers and potential customers.
  • Decreased training requirements.
  • Online presence management.
  • Augmented personalized customer interaction.

With the expected progression and evolving technologies designed around multiple CRM platforms as well as its usability in various processes within and outside an organization, the line between customer service relations and marketing and the corresponding responsibilities are now blurred or even overlapping. This now poses the question of which department holds the responsibility for Social CRM? Moreover, is there a need to come up with an entirely new department to manage a company’s or a brand’s online presence in social media?

There is no question that traditional customer service programs, which analyze sales and customer actions for predictive results will also be crucial to marketing, sales and customer service. The new CRM platforms such as social and mobile CRM do not replace these methodologies, but they empower and add to their capabilities instead. In order to attain company prosperity, you need both client data, such as sales, along with feedback. So, how do you plan to update your CRM systems this year?