Customer Experience (CX) has been a buzzword across the modern business landscape for a while. However, few companies have latched on to the true value that enhanced CX can offer, and even fewer have a working CX strategy that retains customer loyalty, while positively contributing towards bottom line growth. Top CRM companies powering the customer service/CX markets are now fully aware of the urgency that their clients present, which mainly focuses on delighting customers at every interaction, while staying one step ahead of fierce competition.
As a result, CRM services in Australia have also been recalibrated to serve fast-paced organisations that need to be nimble in the wake of an aggressive business environment. With multiple competitors now vying for the same customer’s attention, businesses need to adapt – and fast. Smaller businesses have it even harder, as larger and established players dominate the lion’s share of the market. So how is the small business owner with its boutique brand able to distinguish itself from all the noise?
Specialising in technology services outsourcing, EFutures has learned a few things when it comes to small businesses as well as CRMs. Combined, the two present massive potential to bring disruption in the way daily operations are carried out, while staying aligned to business objectives. Additionally, the element of customisation further enhances scope, thereby giving small business owners the leverage, they need to improve CX, and subsequent to that, customer retention and turnover.
In this article, we touch base on the basics of CRMs, as well as the advantages it can bring to small businesses. We’ve also included a guide on how to build your very own custom small business CRM. Read on to know more!
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system stores and profiles customer data, while offering sales and service teams the insights they need to fulfil customer inquiries. Customer data is obtained from multiple communication channels, which includes phone calls, emails, support tickets, social media and any other customer touchpoint that is operated by a business.
As a result, omnichannel CRM solutions are highly popular, with leading CRM vendors positioning their SaaS platforms for accommodating data via a variety of different communication channels. All this data is collated into one centralised database and console, so teams can access a single, unified customer record. This eliminates the need to use multiple applications, thereby enabling customer data integration that is free from silos.
Additionally, CRM services may also be part of overarching Unified Communications (UC) solutions, which offer all-round communication by combining a variety of tools such as VoIP and video conferencing.
With a custom CRM for your small business, you can now focus only on the features your teams need the most, to help them maximise their productivity. In turn, there is no need to accommodate the excess in functionality that off-the-shelf CRM software brings, as only necessary capabilities will be built into your custom software. This also enables your organisation to eliminate any clutter from user interfaces, thereby improving user concentration on the part of each team member that interacts with your custom small business CRM system.
A custom small business CRM can be scaled with greater attention to end objectives, as the software is completely proprietary to begin with. Once again, the power to add only the most necessary of features helps attain sharp goal alignment across all your customer-oriented business units, as well as any other departments that need to interact with all or part of your CRM system.
Custom software development always requires a set budget as well as a substantial timeframe in order to deliver. Likewise, a custom small business CRM will also need sufficient planning to determine feasibility. While custom small business CRM development shall incur a preset budget as well as time, it can offer significant ROI in the long run.
Additionally, a custom CRM shall be more viable for small businesses that are operating across vertical markets, as off-the-shelf CRMs may lack the capabilities needed in order to render these platforms usable.
Whether you are outsourcing CRM software development or managing an in-house team, the following steps will enable any small business team to pinpoint which features are essential for achieving key goals.
Additionally, adhering to these custom software best practices will also keep development workflows on track, and deliver projects without delay.
Gather relevant team members to conduct a business assessment surrounding your current CRM platform (if you have one) or if not, any processes that are followed for the purpose of serving customers. Spark a productive discussion by asking questions that revolve around:
As your teams deliver their feedback, collate all these findings into a brief. Going forward, this brief will serve as the primary source of reference for software development teams that are tasked with developing your custom CRM.
As a business leader or product owner, you need to constantly monitor and supervise your teams to ensure all tasks are progressing as expected. Meeting with your team regularly is often an understated yet highly effective means to stay updated on what’s happening on the daily, while helping teams’ recourse and recalibrate in the event of scope creep or simply when there’s a peak in customer demand.
Additionally, allowing teams to focus on bite-sized goals as opposed to larger deliverables can substantially reduce both time to market, as well as errors during the testing phase.
While smaller goals are bound to be easier to achieve for your software development teams, it is also valuable to focus on the features and user interface of your final software with the same perspective. In other words, emphasising on only the most essential of features for an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is not only easier on your software development team, but is also easier on your end user.
Upon initial usage, feedback generated can be used to improve the MVP, which encourages the incorporation of only the very capabilities that users genuinely seek.
Software development is an ongoing endeavour, and your custom small business CRM also needs to be tested, fixed and patched as needed, in order to keep it running smoothly. This ensures a system that is not only reliable, but versatile enough to adapt at scale.
Thanks to scalable technologies and software outsourcing, custom small business CRM solutions aren’t an unreachable prospect anymore. With smaller businesses facing tough challenges surrounding market relevance and competition with larger players, owners need to think about how to distinguish one’s brand from the rest – and do it fast.
A custom small business CRM solution isn’t just a worthwhile investment for the long-term, it’s also a valuable foundation for revolving business operations around a system that is only tailored to the needs of your business, and nobody else’s. Although this alone can be a major driver for forgoing off-the-shelf solutions, other factors such as scalability, cost savings and even reduced UI clutter can encourage small businesses to take the leap towards custom CRM software.