Technology, and especially the technology-enabled by the Internet, has had enormous repercussions for CRM (customer relationship management). In many cases, technology has helped streamline many CRM processes as well as cut the costs of CRM initiatives.
Instant Messengers and Chat Rooms
Instant messenger (IM) allows fast, instant text-based chat. Services such as Windows Live Messenger, Gtalk, and Jabber keep people around the world (and in the same room) connected. IM can also be an effective customer service channel.
When potential customers are on a Web site, they may have very quick questions or concerns that they need to have addressed before proceeding with an order. Sending an e-mail with these questions can mean a lengthy period before these questions are answered, and they may be loath to pick up a phone to have the queries answered. In instances such as these, an IM service can easily, quickly, and inexpensively solve these queries.
Managing Interaction Data
CRM software can be used to automate lead and sales processes and to collect customer information in a centralized place.
Organizations are large, and a customer may speak to any member of an organization, depending on the nature of the communication. It would be extremely frustrating for the customer to have to explain all previous dealings with the organization with each communication, and it can be extremely frustrating for an organization not to know who has spoken previously with a customer and what was dealt with.
Fortunately, there are many technology options that help record all this information in one place, whether it be related to potential, current, or past customers.
As well as enabling recording of data, most of these services can also schedule elements of the sales process and set reminders that were appropriate for follow-up action.
One of the most powerful features of interactions and transactions over the Internet is that everything is tracked and recorded in server logs, providing a wealth of data that can be analyzed to make business decisions.
Importantly for CRM, this means that the acquisition source of customers may be recorded and analyzed against sales data for customers from the source. This leads to a very accurate ROI (return on investment) calculation and indicates where CRM and marketing efforts should be focused.