The true value of managing customer relationships

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CRM, or customer relationship management, is a paramount focus for any business that wants to succeed today. After all, the world we live in has made the customer and their experience more important than ever before. Today’s consumer demands a curated, personalized experience. If you aren’t monitoring the entire customer lifecycle, how can you be certain that you’re delivering?

Having a solid, dependable strategy and software platform in place will ensure the future success of your business by allowing you to monitor and manage customer relationships more effectively. You will be able to integrate omnichannel solutions to improve the customer experience and buying journey across all channels and touchpoints, ensuring that you have better insights, customer relationships, and retention rates.

Using scalable, dedicated small business CRM solutions will allow your brand to have an affordable option to manage customer relationships when those enterprise solutions are too heavy-duty or cost-prohibitive to your company. Read on to learn more about CRM and what it does, the benefits of investing in a platform like NICE CXone, and more. If you’re going to give your audience the experience that they deserve, this is where you need to begin.

CRM defined

Customer relationship management, in this context, refers much more to the software that is used to manage those relationships and ensure that the customer experience is the best that it can be at every touchpoint throughout their journey. With the contact center solutions from NICE CXone, you can integrate a streamlined CRM system that will help you improve customer relations across all departments of your organization. This platform will collect and manage customer data and provide tracking of sales activities, customer interactions, and other data that can create valuable insights to help improve the customer experience.

CRM software can do several things. Studies have shown it to be quite successful, as it offers a glimpse of exactly what customers want and need in their buying journey. Modern software is all about creating integrated, streamlined operations and centering the focus around the customer, instead of the business, to help deliver a better experience.

These platforms can assist with several areas of your customer relationship management, providing you with tools and resources for things like:

  • Customer personalization
  • Social integration
  • Service tools
  • Mobile apps
  • Lead management

Studies have shown that 74% of those who use CRM software report that the enhanced access to customer data and other insights can shorten the sales cycle by as much as 8-14%. You’ll want to choose an integrated platform that offers a full 360-degree view of your customer’s journey and any touchpoints they may encounter along the way.

Being able to see the big picture and understand how important the right contact at the right point in the buying journey will be invaluable to your brand. You will be able to gather these insights and then use the powerful AI resources to automate tasks and create that ultra-personalized contact in half the time or less than if your staff was doing all the work.

What differentiates a small business CRM?

Although there is no cut-and-dry line as to where small business ends and enterprise begins, there are some clear differences in the types of solutions that they need for customer relationship management and other software that can enhance their tech stack. These systems tend to have simpler features and functions, and are popular because they offer small businesses exactly what they need and nothing more:

  • Stripped down functions. While the robust features of enterprise-level platforms might look pretty, small businesses might not need all the bells and whistles. As such, small business platforms will focus on features that centralize, improve, and support communication and customer service.
  • Easy setup. Small business platforms are much easier to implement and integrate than larger systems. These are generally cloud-based solutions that are scalable and can be adjusted to the specific needs of your brand.
  • More affordable pricing options. Again, enterprise-level programs might just be too prohibitive in this area. As the CRM market explodes, small business systems are generally going to be a lot more cost-effective. There are even some free or cheap options that have limited functions, although it’ll be worthwhile to invest in a solid CRM solution, no matter what the cost.
  • Focused on smaller teams. Although these systems could theoretically have as many users as you could possibly imagine, the best solutions for small business brands will be specifically designed for use by smaller teams and offer dedicated resources to that end.

The need for comprehensive, integrated CRM solutions

You have a business to run. You don’t have time to track a lot of information or go back and forth between a bunch of different software dashboards to gather insights and organize your business. Modern CRM platforms take care of everything, offering one comprehensive dashboard from where you can manage and monitor your customer service, sales, and other departments with easy navigation and plenty of capable integrations. These platforms can provide:

  • Cloud hosting services to offer infinite storage and scaling potential
  • Automation of tedious and repetitive tasks
  • Notifications of all customer interactions
  • Applications that can be customized to fit with existing software solutions
  • Integrations with other apps and programs for streamlined operations and customer relationship management

With all of these features, how can you afford not to invest in a proper CRM software solution? Still companies are asking whether they need this software, and the fact is that no business is going to survive much longer without it. Do chefs need good knives? Do IT professionals need top-of-the-line computers and software?

If you’re planning on sticking around, you absolutely need a CRM and not just any software that you can find. You need to find a dynamic, customizable CRM platform that can be integrated with the rest of your technology stack for total business management from the top down.

Enter the modern CRM. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits.

The benefits of modern CRM platforms

Investing in a modern CRM software solution like NICE CXone allows you to reap several benefits. Customer relationship management is essential, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t feel like you’re also getting something extra out of it. The CXone CRM platform includes features for your small business like:

  • Open cloud platform for scalable sizing and easy access to plenty of storage and data without a huge investment in technology or hosting solutions. You’ll be able to improve your customer service and contact center overall while also saving money and making managing customer relationships easy.
  • Improved productivity in all employees. From the customer service agents to the sales staff, a proper CRM platform can enhance the performance of all of your team members by giving them access to integrated digital technology and omnichannel solutions that streamline their workflows.
  • Increased insights and visibility. Customer analytics are more important than ever before, and they are going to shape the way that you do everything. When you have a robust CRM solution to track your data and insights, you will get all of the information that you need and more. You can also collaborate and share information between departments.
  • Greater agility and adaptability in the face of change. Today, businesses have realized the need for adaptability and flexibility more than ever before. By integrating technology that utilizes AI and digital innovations, you will be ready to grow, change, and even make lateral moves at the right moment.
  • Tools to offer a well-rounded customer experience while enhancing and extending the role of your human agents. The CRM platform should integrate service tools and resources for self-service and comprehensive direct service from your agents. Digital technology is all about revolutionizing not just the customer experience, but the agent experience overall.
  • Omnichannel routing to ensure that customers are routed to the appropriate agent or help source at the appropriate time, based on their query as well as their current place in the buying journey.
  • Integrated tools for customer service, sales, marketing, workforce management, and other solutions that will improve your tech stack and help you build your brand in more ways than one. You will be able to automate tedious tasks, streamline data and analytics, and so much more.
  • Tools and insights to help you understand and support your customers in the best way possible, while also creating better processes for your agents and teams. These insights will make sure that you’re setting your business up for success from the start.
  • Better lead nurturing and management with the lead generation and management tools included in the platform, along with the invaluable customer data insights that are offered with the analytics of the software.
  • NICE CXone will help you maximize your resources and automate tasks to save time and effort, as well as valuable resources. Omnichannel routing and other administrative features ensure that you can develop best practices and streamline your operations to improve your cost savings and overall operations. This all leads to improved profits and less waste in all areas of your business.

In addition to these perks, a small business CRM can facilitate the analysis of buying patterns and other customer data, more efficient follow-up, and superior customer service. It also gives you the chance to have a proper marketing strategy and integrated communication that is responsive and accessible for customers. Finally, it helps create a set of standardized processes and procedures, ensuring that everyone is on the same page, duplicate tasks are eliminated, and information is shared across all departments for a total customer experience from start to finish.

And of course, let’s look at the single biggest benefit (in terms of dollars) for those who choose the right CRM software:

Best-in-class CRM software has proven to pay back as much as $8.71 for every single dollar your brand spends. That means you’re making a return on your investment of 774%.

What kind of investment can you make in your business that gives you that great of a return without requiring an extended period for integration and profit-building? When you do it right, integrating a proper CRM solution is going to change the future of your business.

The customer-centric approach

In the past, businesses wanted to put the customer first. This is great and essential, but there’s another place that the customer needs to be: center stage. It might have made sense in the past to put your brand at the core of your customer service and sales efforts, reaching out to audiences and drawing them back into your business. Today, however, the modern consumer wants your entire world to revolve around them—with proper CRM tools and practices, it can.

When you have a robust CRM that is focused on integrating and streamlining all of your data from multiple channels, you will be better able to track all of your customers and figure out how best to lead them on the customer journey that they demand. This focus on customers is not only what they demand, but it’s what will set your brand up for success.

Omnichannel is a new buzzword that’s making its rounds in light of the new focus on customer service and providing the best customer experience. Omnichannel simply refers to using all available channels to reach your audience, whether for marketing, sales, or service, wherever they are. It means routing them into the right avenues and contact channels if they need assistance and guiding them on their journey by offering multiple touchpoints throughout various online mediums.

Omnichannel customer experience and relationship management means including the following in your strategy:

  • Your website
  • Social media
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Postal Mail
  • Directory listings
  • Third-party vendors or partners
  • Related sites or forums online that are relevant to your brand or industry

Ultimately, if there’s a place where you can find customers, you need to include that in your CRM and marketing strategies. Instead of putting your business at the center of things and trying to figure out how you can draw people in, you need to put the customer in the center and find out how you can get to them. Part of that comes in integrating the right small business CRM solution.

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Features to look for in a small business CRM

No two CRM solutions are the same. However, that’s the beauty of them and that’s one of the first things that you’ll want to look for in your search for the ideal platform. With CXone from NICE , we can guarantee that you’ll get a customized, scalable solution that fits the exact needs of your small business. Plus, it will offer features like:

  • Easy integration, often with same-day or next-day setup, thanks to cloud hosting and virtual solutions. CXone is designed to be scalable but still ready to go out of the box, with just a few clicks and customizations to get your platform right where it needs to be.
  • Third-party integrations to streamline as much of your business as possible, from CRM to sales and marketing, and everything in between. If you’re investing in an improved tech stack, why not integrate and combine what you can to avoid having multiple systems to keep up with? With this platform, you get it all in one.
  • Cloud-based hosting and data storage that opens up the possibilities for better software solutions even when you are on a budget. Plus, you’ll have access to your business CRM from anywhere, at any time, so long as you have an Internet connection.
  • Robust customer analytics and data insights. These tools will make it easier for you to grow and scale your business while also ensuring that your customer experience is on point. When you utilize analytics, your CRM platform will show what it’s made of by helping you improve your bottom line.
  • Mobile accessibility is a handy option to have, and especially if you’ve got a team that is working remotely or always on the go. Your CRM should have a native mobile app or website that provides you with all the same data and valuable information that you can get from your desktop in the office, giving you true and total control.
  • Security features, including advanced SSL technology and other protections to ensure that your data is protected at all times. Software integrity is paramount and with hackers at an all-time high, it’s important to protect your business and your customers from potential data breaches. The CXone platform includes integrated, robust security to give you the peace of mind that you deserve.

Take your small business growth further with NICE CXone

The NICE CXone platform is designed specifically to provide small businesses with the scalable, customizable, integrated solution that they need. Today’s consumer demands a very specific, very connected experience and the best way to do that is to anticipate their needs. With a proper CRM solution like NICE CXone, you’ll be able to better understand your customers and provide them with everything that they need, even before they realize they might need it.

This seamless, customer-focused experience is exactly what today’s consumer demands. It is not just about helping improve your brand or keeping up with trends—it's about giving people what they want and need. That can only be done when you have a solid strategy for managing customer relations, and that can only happen with the right CRM solution for small businesses.

If you’re ready to take your customer relationship management to the next level and streamline your technology stack to include CRM tools, contact us to discuss your needs. We can help you improve your customer experience and brand reputation with a versatile, customizable, robust CRM platform that offers everything that you need and more. CXone from NICE is leading the technology revolution for small businesses and contact centers, from a brand that is committed to helping others succeed. Contact us now to learn more or get started.