What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

Customer service and building relationships for small to mid-sized companies doesn’t end when a customer rings up and leaves the store or clicks “purchase” on your website or ordering app.

Especially with ecommerce, an organization’s sales representatives need to be able to immediately answer, or find an answer quickly, to on the spot questions from consumers who haven’t received their products in a specified timeframe or vendors that haven’t been paid. Customer service agents also need to be organized so that three representatives don’t reach out to the same customer or supplier because there’s no log of whether a call has been placed.

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help ensure that problems are easily solved, consumers are kept happy and your business’s reputation remains intact. Simply defined, CRM is a technology-driven management process through which a business administers its relationships, spanning the customer lifecycle to ensure that everything from marketing and sales to digital commerce, fulfillment and customer service interactions remain smooth and intact.

Companies with good CRM systems can notate a customer phone interaction as closed or satisfied, or requiring research and/or a callback. Since the CRM process helps companies communicate through all departments, a customer service representative, for instance, can work with the shipping and fulfillment department to track when or if merchandise was sent to the customer, and the delivery date range. It may turn out that the customer’s order was inadvertently not shipped or is in transit. The chain of communication is documented.

With CRM documentation, a sales or support staffer can immediately call the customer back to discuss a situation and steps being taken to resolve issues. The agent can take notes on the call, which are then placed into the centralized data system. This way, if the customer calls again and speaks with a different support team member, that agent will know the customer’s previous concerns. This personal touch helps a company support its customers professionally and efficiently.

Without a CRM system, the process of investigating a matter by tracking the shipping chain and communicating with various departments, can take days or weeks, instead of a same-day resolution possible with CRM documentation.

If a business lacks a CRM system that shows which service agent spoke to the customer at which time, multiple members of a sales or support team may call the same customer asking the same questions, annoying the customer and making your company appear incompetent.

The tracking systems through CRM can positively manage relationships with vendors and suppliers, letting them know where their money is and the status of their products within the pipeline, at all times.

Popular CRM software includes Salesforce, Zoho and Freshdesk. Companies of varying sizes utilize these platforms to track, manage and tie together their multiple departments.

Retail stores, particularly small and midsized independent shops, can also benefit from software that can help them organize their store, track sales and inventory and build customer loyalty. The NRS point of sale (POS) system combines durable checkout equipment with merchant software tools via its touch screen interface. It helps the store owner very similarly to how CRM software helps companies be organized. The NRS POS helps the store owner identify what’s selling best and when to restock. Users log in so that the store owner always knows who is/was on shift. The retailer receives a daily email summary of their sales and can receive notifications when inventory runs low. The POS’ “Customer Tab” premium feature lets the store owner refund in credit and offer gift rewards. “Loyalty Clubs” premium feature allows the merchant to create “Buy X, Get X Free” promotions and the POS tracks customers’ progress. The “Employee Time Clock” premium feature simplified payroll with easy-to-decipher reporting on when employees clocked in and out.

NRS is the leading provider of POS systems for small to mid-sized convenience, grocery, tobacco, liquor, hardware and as station c-stores across the USA. The company is renowned for its integrity, transparency and commitment to helping its clients grow their businesses.

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