Customer relationship management or CRM has been around since the 1980’s. The concept is pretty clear. And the benefits to your business should seem obvious by now. There’s an age old saying that goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Lately though, it seems like businesses are trying this new trick of trying to fix CRM. Fix it? CRM is a staple for businesses. It does not need fixing.
Some sources are claiming a newer customer maintaining tool, CXM (Customer Experience Management) will take over for CRM, making it obsolete. I, however, think they are wrong. Businesses simply cannot operate without CRM. The customer experience might be important but it doesn’t make the customer relationship disappear or unnecessary.
CRM software builds a customer base by deepening the relationship between business owners or management and customers. One of its focuses is on customer service; addressing concerns if they happen to reconcile the situation and making the overall business encounter pleasant leading to word of mouth referrals and good reviews. CXM was founded on the idea that if businesses are created preemptively trying to prevent any customer problems, the overall experience would be better and CRM wouldn’t be needed at all. However, as a business owner you will have thousands of customers and each one is going to have very different needs. It is impossible to predict every situation that could go wrong.
CXM was created on the concept that previous marketing strategies were going wrong. It’s intended to combine major focuses of customers, products and sales. By definition, marketing the whole customer experience seems to make sense but what some businesses are missing out on is the concept that focusing on the experience includes CRM. CXM might be a big part of the future but it’s not ready yet, especially since many businesses don’t understand the full aspect of it. They have made it into a competition of CRM or CXM when in fact, they aren’t meant to compete but instead work side by side. Call centers are notorious right now for using software and databases to define and predict their customers. Rather than realizing the customers are individuals, everything is about numbers to this type of business. They think they can use a formula to predict what the customer is going to need. Many attempt to save money on CRM training by skipping that step since the computer has figured everything out for them. But this leads them to bad reviews and a bad reputation because they leave out the personal piece.
Handling customers from the outside still presents a lot of opportunities and it’s definitely something to keep in mind but building those relationships from the inside is a key to success and it will always remain that way. CXM seems all powerful right now because it is new and different but don’t get caught up in the hype. CRM concepts are built on a strong foundation of growing your business. A good CRM helps you find your best potential customers so you can grow your business. CRM has continued to adapt with the business world and will always be there for owners to rely on. Keep a strong focus on these relationships to keep long term customers.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.