Customer Relationship Management

CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system integrates marketing initiatives, customer information, and business operations to deliver an optimal customer experience while uncovering revenue generating opportunities for the business. The integration of data that is normally stored in and viewed by separate divisions into a single access point within a business provides a holistic view of all customer interactions with the business. Information in this format provides several advantages, including:

  • The discovery of customer preferences – Knowing customer preferences as revealed by previous purchases can open conversations regarding related and add-on purchases.
  • Increased efficiency in marketing efforts – This same knowledge can help target the customers that will be most receptive to marketing campaigns for new and/or related products.
  • The aggregation of customer information in a single location in real time – This allows for customer service personnel to provide fast responses to inquiries regarding backorders, shipping, exchanges/returns, etc.
  • Improved customer retention – Positive experiences in terms of purchasing, tailored marketing, and customer service will keep customers coming back time and time again.

Empowering your personnel with the ability to view integrated customer data on a single screen can take your business to the next level in terms of sales, marketing, and customer service.

Here are the three different aspects of CRM systems.

Analytical – Analytical Customer Relationship Management describes the primary function of all CRM systems, which is to gather what can be disparate points of customer data, integrate it, and then use the information to make faster and more informed decisions and responses relating to sales, marketing, and customer service.

Collaborative – Collaborative Customer Relationship Manage systems integrate customer data with the objective of enabling different departments within a company to communicate with each other while viewing the same sets of information. This aspect of CRM is a critical element in the optimization of the system for enterprise-sized businesses.

Operational – Operational Customer Relationship Manage systems are those that are focused on automating customer contact processes. An example would be a phone system that prompts callers through a menu of services. Another example would be data mining customer information to determine the best opportunities for marketing leads, sales prospects etc.

 

Featured News

  • SEO has Changed Completely – Has your Strategy?

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    Prior to Google’s rollout of the Panda and Penguin updates and the introduction of Hummingbird, which completely replaced the old algorithm, there were basically two types of SEO campaigns; black hat schemes that used manipulative practices to trick the search engine and quickly move web pages up to high rankings on the results pages and legitimate practices that were designed along the lines of Google’s search parameters. In this environment, black hat techniques often achieved results bordering on the immediate, much to the frustration of the companies that were playing within the rules, as well as Google, the company that was trying to enforce those rules.

     

    Backed with increasing sophistication in detecting black hat techniques, the Penguin and Panda updates attacked spammy links and content in a big way, essentially rendering both practices as obsolete. The re-tooling of the algorithm brought about by Hummingbird was the next significant step in leveling the SEO playing field. The result of these three steps is two-fold; it has become incredibly difficult for black hat techniques to deliver results, and the listings that rank the highest in search results now do so because they answer questions rather than containing a high percentage of keywords that match the search term.

    In addition to the modifications in how Google determines which web pages are surfaced, the new SEO paradigm includes the following changes:

     

           Successful SEO strategies will increasingly look like branding initiatives – Google has always wanted to surface quality content and now has the tools to deliver this objective. The emphasis on content that adds value for readers requires published materials to be informative and provide solutions which, rather that pitching products, tends to build trust and credibility over time. These are generally the same objectives of branding initiatives.

           Links are valuable, but not in the way they used to be – Within the Google algorithm, the number of links to a page has essentially been replaced by the quality of the originating site. Inbound links from authority sites as well as from social media platforms (aka social signals) now matter more than the sheer number of inbound links.

           Keyword research is dead, replaced by market research – Content that answers questions and solves problems is what Google is looking for now, meaning that companies that can publish  material that serves as a resource will see an increasing number of their web pages listed at the top of search results. Of course, this requires an understanding of what is being asked by potential customers, hence the need for market research.

     

    The SEO universe has undergone some drastic changes. To ensure continued success with your SEO endeavors, assess your current strategy to determine whether drastic changes are needed there as well.            

  • Search Engine Optimization: Are you being seen as a Trusted Resource or an Intrusion

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    Back in the days when Madison Avenue reigned supreme, intrusive advertising was the way in which companies communicated with their existing and potential customers. These one way conversations were generally designed in one of two ways; as branding pieces that showed how a product could enhance the life of the person who bought the product or as overt attempts at making a sale. In this paradigm the company would develop a campaign, often through the use of focus groups, and then communicate the messaging through traditional media channels. After receiving the messaging via advertisements on TV, radio, or print, consumers either made purchases or they didn’t and, regardless of the decision, rarely provided feedback to the sponsoring company.

     

    Today, intrusive one-way advertising through traditional channels is waning, as evidenced by ever skimpier daily newspapers and magazines, as well as a growing number of devices (ex. DVRs) and subscription services, such as premium TV channels, that allow consumers to either filter advertisements out or avoid them completely. In this changing landscape, when consumers seek information on product/services, they now head to the internet where they can use search engines to go from the beginning to the end of the buying cycle.

    In this process, the value of intrusive advertising is greatly diminished, as consumers first seek content that serves as the foundation of their research and get progressively more specific with their inquiries as they move through the buying cycle. It is during this process in which an SEO campaign that has been created with materials designed to deliver informative content can start building trust with potential customers. This type of content can have four different purposes:

     

    The provision of general information – This type of content may address the product category in total with description of what the products do, buying the right size, and how to make comparisons that may help with the final purchasing decision.

      Assisting with comparisons in greater detail – This type of content would include information that describes an efficient way to compare energy consumption between similar refrigerators, for example.

     “How to” information – Content pieces that provide instructions on how to operate the product can be done in written form, but are often more powerful when offered in a video format.

      End of buying cycle information – This content answers questions about specific issues, such as detailed information on features and/or warranty coverage, which are commonly posed just before a purchase.

     

    A consumer who views these content pieces will have a solid foundation of resources and knowledge on which to base a purchase. Additionally, by creating content that specific targets end of buying cycle issues, you can attract consumers who are just about to pull their credit cards out to make a purchase.    

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