Customer management is one of the essential points for a successful business.
Customer management is more than just listing customer information.
By collecting and analyzing various information, it means strategic information management for marketing tailored to each customer.
This time, we will introduce the types of customer management systems represented by “CRM”, the merits of introducing the systems, and the methods for utilizing them in marketing.
table of contents
- 1. What is customer management?
- 2. Advantages and disadvantages of managing customers in Excel
- 3. Types of customer management systems
- 4. Purpose and benefits of introducing a customer management system
- 5. How to use customer information for marketing
- 6. How to choose a customer management system that suits your company
- 7. Expand business opportunities by introducing a customer management system
What is customer management?
Customer management is managing customer information. As has been the case with most companies, customer management today goes beyond just recording customer names and purchase history. Let’s take a concrete look.
● Purpose of customer management
By collecting and managing information in customer management, you can manage the relationship with the customer itself and build a good relationship. To build a good relationship with customers, it is necessary to take detailed measures tailored to each customer based on customer management information and make proposals after understanding potential requests. If customer satisfaction improves, you will be able to build good long-term relationships.
● Contents of customer management
Customer management collects a lot of information about that customer. For example, record details such as customer attributes, purchase history, marketing activity reactions, inquiries and support details, participation records in exhibitions and seminars, and profitability. You can deepen customer analysis by recording the details of negotiations, complaint handling, and maintenance records that were previously only known to the person in charge or sales staff.
● Customer type
Customer management includes not only existing customers who already have transactions but also prospective customers who are aiming for new transactions in the future. For existing customers, it is important to analyze customer information so far, provide products and services that meet their needs, increase customer satisfaction, and build good relationships.
On the other hand, it is common to approach prospective customers according to the direction and degree of interest of the other party. Because existing and prospective customers have different natures of the information they need, different customer targets have different approaches. Therefore, we need a system that can manage each customer’s information.
Just as it doesn’t make sense to recommend women’s clothing to men because it’s a new product, the same approach to all customers doesn’t help. Optimal services and approaches tailored to individual customers based on customer management will lead to improved customer satisfaction and sales.
Advantages and disadvantages of managing customers in Excel
There is also a customer management method using Excel. Let’s know the advantages and disadvantages of managing customers with Excel without using a dedicated system.
Many companies use Microsoft products such as Excel and Word in their regular business. Therefore, there is no initial cost or running cost for customer management.
Also, because it is used by many companies, many people can or have used Excel, and one of the merits is that there is less time and effort to learn new operation methods for customer management.
Excel is a useful tool, but it also has its disadvantages for managing customers.
Since Excel is easy to delete and edit, it is easy to make operational mistakes such as accidentally discarding data, and if you accidentally discard a file, it cannot be repaired.
There are also security concerns. For example, you can restrict access to a file, but if you copy the file itself, you can always take it out.
In addition, Excel cannot be updated at the same time, so it is not suitable for simultaneous management by multiple people. If you have a lot of people in your company who use customer management files, you should check that the files are not being used every time.
Types of customer management systems
Customer management systems generally include “CRM (Customer Relationship Management System)” and “SFA (Sales Support System)”. CRM manages customer information, and SFA manages and supports sales behavior.
● CRM (Customer Relationship Management System)
CRM is an abbreviation of “Customer Relationship Management” and is translated as “Customer Relationship Management System” in Japanese. It is a system that records and manages customer attributes, past marketing, purchase history, support, etc., and makes it possible to respond to each customer.
CRM collects all information about customers in one database, records and manages it. By sharing that data and considering the appropriate response to customers, it is possible to make proposals tailored to each customer. By doing so, you can expect to improve the customer’s evaluation and image of your company, increase the number of prospective customers to customers, and lead to further cross-selling of customers.
● SFA (Sales Support System)
SFA is an abbreviation of “Sales Force Automation” and refers to “Sales Force Automation”. It is a system for sales to support sales behavior to record customer information and use that data for efficient marketing to improve sales efficiency and increase sales. Record all customer and prospect inquiries and complaints, phone and internet interactions, and more.
CRM and SFA are both intended to record customer information and exchanges in a database and use it to increase sales, whether it is managed by the entire company or for the sales department. It is very different.
Originally, SFA was an independent system, but now CRM incorporates the functions of SFA and is often regarded as a part of CRM.
Purpose and benefits of introducing a customer management system
By introducing a customer management system, miscellaneous customer information can be organized and centrally managed. Let’s take a closer look at the specific benefits that it brings.
● Turn prospective customers into customers and lead to the acquisition of new customers
By analyzing customer information, you can take a step-by-step approach. For example, if we can propose products and services tailored to each prospective customer, we will be more likely to be able to attract them as new customers.
Also, not only existing customers but also customers who used to have transactions but are now out of contact may be re-accepted by optimized marketing.
● Improvement of in-house products and services
By grasping the complaint history so far based on the customer management system, efficient marketing can be performed without repeating similar failures. To that end, it is important to manage not only successful cases and successful negotiations but also past lost orders within the system. That way, if you’ve had a similar customer failure experience in the past, you can use that factor to make another suggestion. If you fully understand the needs of customers and improve your products and services, you will improve customer satisfaction and increase sales.
● Streamlining operations and reducing advertising costs
You can provide only the information you need, without unnecessary marketing that is ineffective. By introducing the system, it is possible to predict the sales from each customer, relocate the personnel based on it, and make a purchase forecast, which leads to the efficiency of the business.
It also eliminates the need for uniform advertisements such as e-mail newsletters and direct mail. If you can target your sales activities, you can reduce unnecessary costs by approaching only profitable prospects and spending money.
How to use customer information for marketing
To utilize it for marketing, it is not the end once the system is introduced. How can you manage your customers even more effectively?
● Centralization of data
First, let’s manage the data in one place. If the information is stored separately, the customer’s request cannot be seen. By registering all customer data in the customer management system, you can not only analyze based on various information but also narrow down or search only what you are looking for from a huge amount of information. If you are a customer, record business negotiations, attachments, emails and inquiries, sales activity history, message memos, etc. Also, if you are a prospective customer, registering Web access history, email opening history, approach content, presentation content so far, etc. will be useful for the next approach.
Furthermore, if you put all the information together and make it possible to edit the data on the Web, you can access it from your PC or smartphone on the go. It is important to keep your data up-to-date by constantly editing and updating.
By sharing customer information, you can take over the relationship even if the person in charge changes, reducing the risk of dissatisfaction with the customer.
● Understanding customer reactions
From the customer’s reaction to marketing and the transaction records so far, you can judge whether the customer’s request is properly met. If you are aware of your customer’s needs, make suggestions that are in line with your needs, and if your customers are dissatisfied, consider changing or interrupting your approach early. Judging from the complaint history and the content of past exchanges, it is important to continue optimal marketing without missing the timing.
● Offline marketing
Customer management can also be used to manage registrants and attendees, even when marketing offline, such as holding exhibitions and seminars. Many people gather at exhibitions and seminars, but costs are incurred accordingly. Proper customer management is essential to achieving maximum results in a short period.
Of particular importance is the behavior of prospective customers who are expected to increase sales. Record and analyze the behavior of your prospects as much as possible, and register the information for future approaches.
How to choose a customer management system that suits your company
When introducing a customer management system, it is not possible to obtain the expected effect if the system is selected for no purpose. So how do you choose the right customer management system for your company?
● Identify necessary functions
The first thing to do is identify the features you need. Let’s confirm in advance what you want to achieve by introducing customer management and what you should manage with the customer management system for that purpose. If you extract and understand your company’s issues in advance, the required functions will be clarified.
● Check how to take over the system
Check-in advance on how to take over the system. Before the introduction, decide “how to migrate” and “who will migrate when”, and if cooperation with an external system occurs, check the cooperation method in advance. is needed. Some systems cannot be linked, so make sure that the system is compatible.
Expand business opportunities by introducing a customer management system
If you only manage customer data, you can do it in Excel, but customer management is a system for recording all interactions with customers and building good relationships.
However, the introduction of the system does not improve the problem or increase sales.
How to approach customers and improve their effectiveness by using the collected and analyzed information depends on the utilization and operation methods of the company.
Cooperation with other departments as well as the sales department is indispensable for customer management, but if you introduce a customer management system, you can realize it smoothly.
Develop your business significantly by deploying and leveraging a customer management system that suits your goals.
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