July 14 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

How SMEs can better manage customer relationships

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In an information age defined by an interconnected, always on the go mindset, it can be all too easy for small and medium enterprises (SME) not to keep on top of things and maintain a high level of transparency.

The way small businesses operate has changed, and, with the advent of big data, it is becoming increasingly hard to manage the sheer volume of information that is automatically captured.

To streamline operations and ensure that rapport with customers remain solid and mutually beneficial, it pays to invest in technology. The biggest game-changer over the last 20 or so years has been the evolution of customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

 

This asset – CRM – is a powerful, easy to use and intuitive way of supervising how organisations engage and nurture the relationship they have with their existing customers and also that of potential leads.

Writing in the Guardian recently, Nadia Finer, founder of smartli.co, a site “dedicated to sharing the smartest stuff for start-ups and small business”, says that more than ever before, CRM systems are the lifeblood of any organisation.

“CRM can help you grow your business and keep customers happy by keeping track of interactions and tasks, and giving you a clear view of your sales pipeline,” she highlighted.

“As your business grows, so will the amount of client data you and your team need to manage. Instead of relying on lots of different lists and spreadsheets, a CRM will keep all your client info in one easily accessible place. No more mistakes, missing files, omissions or unnecessary repetition.”

 

CRM also frees up time from laborious activities that prevent you from doing the things that matter most, such as driving innovation and engaging with stakeholders, the expert outlined in her piece for the newspaper.

For example, because any given day is full of endless conversations, tasks and activities, which comes on the back of pre-existing correspondence and efforts, there is a lot of data to contend with.

Without CRM, everything becomes more manual and ultimately more bureaucratic. This can lead to confusion, extensive paperwork, errors and duplication. This is cancelled out by smart technology. The possibilities are quite literally endless.

Sarah Parkin used to work as News Writer for LSBF.  Sarah is specialised in finance, technology and business news.

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