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Customer Relationship Management: The Success Factor

Over the past 10 years customer relationship management (CRM) has gone through a major evolution as businesses realize the value of a strong program and the impact it can have on the bottom line. Technology has also helped the world of CRM. This trend is expected to continue and be a major factor in the industry over the next ten years. According to CRM Magazine’s recent article “The Next 15 years of CRM,” to succeed in CRM, companies will have to depend on a business mix of people, processes and technology. Their success breakdown is as follows:

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  • 50 percent depends on people
  • 30 percent depends on process
  • 20 percent depends on technology

As technology improvements, including mobile and social media access, continue to gain importance, a major factor still remains the talent and skill set of the customer service agent. Suppliers that have a strong emphasis on hiring, training and retaining high-performance agents will best be able to create and maintain successful CRM programs for their clients.

Successful CRM agents need to be trained in a diverse set of skills including:

  • Customer sensitivity
  • Up-selling
  • Compliance & regulatory training
  • Brand emersion
  • Quality assurance
  • Information gathering
  • Multi-channel operation

Another example is cited in a recent book by Emily Yellin titled “Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us.” She discusses how companies that focus on CRM are enjoying a loyal and satisfied customer base. This equates to increased revenue, even during difficult economic times. “The attitude of companies for the longest time (about CRM) has been to see it as a cost,” explains Yellin. “The effects of that maybe have not been recognized until the last couple of years (as) customer service can be a leading indicator of the financial health of a company.”

As the country’s leading companies start to emerge from the economic downturn, emphasis on maintaining strong customer relationships will be a leading indicator of which of these organizations will not only survive but flourish.

Hope you enjoyed this month's Dialogue.

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