Customer relations is one of the most important aspects of a business in the global marketplace. Even on a local scale, the difference between wooing local customers and having them go to the guy next door is one of how customers feel you have brought any problems to a successful resolution. That said, the idea of spending money to achieve this goal has its own set of business contradictions. One of them is how to quantify the return on investment of a customer relation management system (CRM).
The question of why a business owner should think about having a measureable value to determine their investment in CRM is a very important one. The reason is that while CRM systems can be relatively low cost over the long term, spending money with no measureable value over a period of years will lead to second guessing as time goes on. Quantifying the value of a CRM system makes accounting sense and common business sense.
But wait. If there is a noticeable and sustained increase in sales and customer satisfaction after integrating the CRM however you choose to measure it, then is tracking the value of the system on a dollar basis really necessary? Do you place a dollar value on each customer? Do you rank your customers on the basis of how much dollar business they do with you or how often they make a purchase?
Conflicts with CRM and Real World Customer Relations
A CRM will act as a great organizer for your business and your customer support team. It will track, store and manage all of the data for each of your customers and integrate with your accounting system so that complete information about each customer is immediately available to the customer service representative. This provides a history that can be immediately researched, and problems that recur can be noticed and appropriately handled.
But like the questions above, the system will end up doing exactly the opposite of what customer service is about – serving the individual customer. There should not be a value placed on each customer which will determine the quality or level of customer service they receive. This is done to some degree when it comes to technical support, but that is a different function than customer service. Being able to distinguish between the two will help you make a better decision about purchasing a CRM system.
Nothing that has been previously stated is intended to discourage a business owner from purchasing a CRM system. It has great value in what it does best and has the added advantage of systematizing the most important information about a customer’s interaction with the company. In most cases, integrating a CRM system with a business has many positive results both on the company’s bottom line and on the reputation of the business from a customer’s perspective.
What has been discussed here is that despite the advantages, a CRM system can actually harm customer relations if the purpose of the system is to reduce each customer to a calculated value. Certainly returning and loyal customers will be more appreciated by the business as well as those who make large purchases on a periodic basis. Using the CRM for all customers is intended to treat all customers on an equal basis. Quantifying the customer experience is important, but not losing sight of why they are customers to begin with is ultimately the most important criteria when it comes to consider the purchase and implementation of a CRM system.