CRM is critical to customer retention

Read time 2min 50sec

In our global, extremely competitive business environment, holding onto your customers has never been more critical, says Ashley Ellington, MD, Softline Enterprise.

Many businesses spend a lot of time and money on finding new customers - an extremely important goal if you're trying to grow your business. But what are you doing to keep the customers you already have?

It is much cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Customer retention should, therefore, be a focus of the entire company, Ellington says. "If you keep your customers happy, they will not only buy more from you but it will also cost you less to sell and market to them."

A business wanting to effectively run a relationship marketing programme needs to find a CRM solution that offers a full spectrum of information relating to its customer base. A CRM solution which enables the company to track the lifecycle of a customer is core to relationship marketing.

At a high level, CRM is designed to improve customer satisfaction by enabling a business to better understand its customers, their habits and their needs. Data gathered from CRM tools is also analysed by business owners to identify levels of customer satisfaction, buying patterns, the success (or lack thereof) of a particular marketing or sales promotion with customers, and more.

A successful CRM solution integrates marketing, sales and customer service functions, making it easy for everyone inside the company to work together and share critical information. "It also empowers customers to do business with you in the way they choose to, while increasing your staff's awareness of the customer's needs," says Ellington.

Any company that has customers, prospects or competitors needs a good CRM solution because without it you're just guessing. "Before you implement a CRM solution, make sure everyone in your organisation has bought into the idea," Ellington says. There is no point to a CRM system that only 20% of your staff is using.

"CRM is a customer-centric business strategy which is aimed at maximising profits, revenue and customer satisfaction," says Ellington. Technologies that support this goal include the capture, storage and analysis of customer information, while functions that support this business purpose include sales, marketing and customer service. If the supporting technology is not integrated as part of a company's overall customer strategy, the business will fail to maximise its CRM function, Ellington warns.

"CRM was originally developed to assist companies with their customer relationships," says Ellington. "It has evolved into a software solution that provides a 360-degree customer view via consolidation of information from sales, marketing, customer service and support."

Today, CRM needs to be part of and integrated into the rest of the business. More broadly, it is aimed at helping users resolve customer questions, issues and requests, quickly, while also capitalising on new selling opportunities. Further to this, Ellington says, CRM helps extend customer service delivery through 24/7 self-service solutions, reducing the time and resources it takes to support and service customers.

Softline Enterprise

Softline Enterprise is a leading supplier of business management solutions, delivering performance and web capability that is essential for success in today's competitive business environment. Addressing finance, construction, distribution, manufacturing, services, retail requirements, CRM and e-business, the product offering also supports and consolidates activity across expanding business needs. Available on a wide range of operating systems and compatible with a host of industry leading databases, it gives mid-range and larger organisations the reliability and scalability required to keep ahead of competitors.

Softline Enterprise products are supported through a network of accredited partners which bring together the individual product and service components to deliver a complete and tailored solution.

Softline Enterprise products include:

Sage 1000 - a new, single business management software application designed to span operations across mid-sized businesses, integrating front office CRM and back office ERP systems. By sharing information between functional areas, businesses can enjoy greater efficiency, experience fewer errors from re-keying of data, and increase service levels by making it easier to give accurate, timely information from across the business to customers.

Sage Line 500 - offering all the advantages of a traditional ERP solution, Sage Line 500 provides tight financial control with full visibility of costs and powerful reporting tools. In addition, it includes an evaluation of market trends to assist customers to make informed strategic decisions. The product also manages cash flow through close budget control and efficient purchase requisitioning and supports international business with multi-language, multi-currency, multi-company features. It includes vertical solutions such as manufacturing, construction and retail.

Sage SalesLogix - an affordable, fully scaleable and powerful CRM solution that is easily customised for medium-sized and divisions of large corporate businesses. Sage SalesLogix is designed to integrate seamlessly with other business software and back office applications, providing businesses with a holistic view of each customer.

Sage X3 Enterprise - Sage X3 Enterprise covers all of the planning, operational and administrative functional areas required by mid-sized business, all integrated into a single enterprise solution. All functional areas are managed via one common database - updated on a real-time basis - ensuring data integrity and accuracy while enabling all departments to share information efficiently.

Editorial contacts
Watt CommunicationsTracey(011) 425
Ashley Ellington
MD of Softline Enterprise.

Ashley Ellington is MD of Softline Enterprise.

Have your say
a few seconds ago
Be the first to comment