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If your business involves communication with customers, a CRM system (or customer relationship management system) is bound to be vital in reaching your goals. With the ability to manage all communications and details related to both existing and potential customers, there are loads of reasons why a CRM system is important for your business.

Learn about your customers

A CRM system will enable you to learn all about your customers, which is invaluable when it comes to knowing how to communicate with them in the future. For example, the system will record each customer’s purchase history, so you can spot patterns in what they buy and how often they make a purchase. You can use this information to decide which promotions or new product details to send to them, as you’ll know exactly what they’re interested in and how best to win more business from them.

In addition to this, you’ll be able to use your CRM system to see when a customer has opened an email from your company, and if they have clicked on any links. This will also assist in informing you about which communications are of interest to them and will help you to target these efficiently in the future.

Keep detailed customer records

CRM systems have the functionality to store all details about a customer, including any communication that they have had with you. This can really help with customer service, as if someone calls and relays information or an issue to someone, and then calls again further down the line and speaks to a different employee, all of their details will be on hand so they won’t need to repeat themselves. This will prevent the customer from getting frustrated and will save time and money as the call will be shorter, freeing up time for the employee to move onto something else.

Streamline your business processes

Due to being able to organise customer details effectively, you’ll find that there are a number of processes that can be streamlined by your CRM system, saving valuable time and money. For example, many admin tasks can be automated so that no-one in your workforce has to spend time doing them, and this can work across a number of areas, including marketing, data, and analytics.

Perhaps one of the best processes to streamline is the sales process, as this is potentially what brings in the most money. A CRM system has the capability to organise customers by conversion probability, so that time isn’t wasted on unsuccessful calls, and priority can be given to those who are most likely to make a purchase. It can also send prompts to employees about when follow-up calls need to be made so that those all-important leads aren’t left to go cold, and different types of calls can be assigned to the most relevant member of your team too, making for a completely efficient process.

Create better in-house communication

Sometimes it can be that different departments within a business are a little bit disjointed, and communication may not flow as well as you’d like it to. This can result in incorrect information being passed on, or details being changed between teams, which could then lead to mistakes and issues that impact on customers and profitability. By using a CRM system, you can ensure that every member of your workforce has access to the same information at all times, so nothing will get lost during communications between each other. This means that different teams can access the details that are relevant to them and can use these to drive groups of customers towards sales and will have access to everything from emails and phone call notes to appointments added to calendars.

Improve data and reporting

Accurate data and reporting are key within a business, as these factors are what you can use to understand your customers and find out what will encourage them to make a purchase. As all details are saved within a CRM from across the company, the system can analyse all of your data as a whole and can create reports which are easy to digest and include the information that is important to you and the department that you work in.

Now that you know how important a CRM system is for your business, it’s time to start looking at how you can implement one into your own company and start getting excited about all of the benefits associated with this.

Management Software Display

Every good business knows that the key to achieving growth is through the speed and quality with which your customer service delivers, especially when you own a membership-based organisation.

It’s important to listen to your members and hear from them directly what exactly it is they are looking for. Luckily, we live in an era where technology is so intertwined with our day-to-day lives, making it easier, more than ever, to get in touch with your members, and hear their answers firsthand. It’s no exaggeration to say that they key to succeeding as a business is literally right in the palm of your hands.

You know for a fact that organising member subscriptions and scheduling events can be tiring. All of these are part of membership management and it can really take up all your time, making it difficult, sometimes even impossible, to attend to other core operations. But that’s precisely what modern technology is for—making life more efficient and convenient for you.

Here’s how integrating management software can help you grow your business:

Easy Onboarding

Onboarding is, naturally, a crucial step in ensuring that you won’t go out of business. However, onboarding can be a troublesome task, given that there’s just so much to do – reaching out to people, convincing them of the rewards and bonuses that your business can offer, showing them around the system, and so on and so forth. 

So if you are looking for ways to make onboarding a little less stressful software like this is the way forward. With good technology, it only takes a few clicks to set up an account for your new members, giving them an interactive platform where they can easily review their perks and benefits, and be updated on any rewards and gift programs, promos and discounts, and other happenings in your business.

Streamlined Reporting and Analytics

Another thing most subscription-based businesses face is the challenge of reporting and managing analytics. At times, this leaves you with an additional cost just to get consistent status reports.

With a management software, preparing and assessing these reports will no longer be a problem. They are designed to handle big data and can quickly and accurately sort through numerous reports and analytics. You can rest easy knowing that the information you get is not only as precise as possible, but also easily readable and interpreted even if you’re not an analytics expert.

Organised Database

Stemming from the previous point, you would also want to keep your database updated and add, edit and delete entries as often as necessary. Now, you can always choose the traditional way of updating a database, but there is a high chance for human error and it can be a very time-consuming process.

What you need is a good management software that lets you add, edit and delete entries accurately and with ease. This software should automate most of your business processes without jeopardising its quality.

Efficient Communication

A management software program should also ease your communication process, as this is crucial to sustaining your business. We’re not only talking about communication within the business, but also with your members.

The tools you use should be accessible to everyone that needs to be on-board, but still secure enough that no crucial information is compromised. Additionally, they should be efficient and ensure you are connected and reachable by your audience at all times, something that is particularly important for the modern organisation.

Seth Godin posted a blog “The complaining customer doesn’t want a refund” and it reminded me of a lesson I learnt many years ago.

Back in the mists of time when I was doing a stint in a sales office when one of the reps received a call from a disgruntled customer. The rep, while raising his eyes to the roof, tried some platitudes but this was a serious complaint. The rep decided he’d had a enough and transferred the call to the area manager (sitting in the same office as it happened). What a difference. He was only in the phone for a couple of minutes with the customer. Hanging up he grabbed his jacket and drove the 100 or so miles to visit the customer. He arrived back a few hours later, not only with an appeased customer but with an order for mush more than the original one. We also used the feedback to put in place procedures so that wouldn’t happen again.

Customers who complain are likely to value what you offer – those that don’t just walk. The complaining customer can become your best advocate.

 

A desk in an office.Image via Wikipedia

2011 has been a difficult year for arts organisations. Early this year 206 organisations found out they had had their applications for funding rejected by the Arts Council.

The impact of these funding cuts will depend to some extent on the size of the arts organisation you work in. If you are a larger organisation, you may have other sources of revenue and therefore be able to withstand the worst of harsh cuts. If you are a smaller organisation or have been heavily or entirely dependent on Arts Council funding you may suddenly find yourself in the position of trying to find a viable way forward.

So now is the time the way you deal with your customers becomes incredibly important. It’s the one thing that can make the difference between your future security or disappearing off the arts scene forever. You need to explore how you currently manage your customer relationships – do you have a reliable customer relationship management system that can give you the information you need on customers and patrons at the click of a button? Do you know what marketing campaigns you are running and if they are working? Do you have good mailing lists that you can quickly target if you need to promote an event (and bring sales in)? If the answer is no then now is definitely the time to invest more in your customer relationship marketing (CRM) system.

It might seem counterintuitive to invest in a software system when you are facing funding cuts. But that’s exactly the reason you need to do it now. If there is a chance your sources of revenue are going to dry up then you need new ways to bring money into your organisation. And that money comes from customers. If you aren’t talking and marketing to them effectively then you are missing out on the chance to sell to them. A good customer relationship management tool will allow you to:

  • control communication with your customers at both an individual and campaign level
  • pull all your lists and databases together in one place
  • update information for everyone in one place
  • manage memberships, collect donations, produce targeted mail shots and email newsletter
  • take bookings and sell merchandise.

Start by looking for a CRM system that integrates with your existing website, this will give you customers a simple way to interact with you and easily make purchases. Masque is designed specifically to work with your website to provide a seamless experience from sending a letter to a customer to them purchasing their ticket.

If you’d like to know more about CRM systems for your arts organisation call Masque Arts on +44 (0)20 7100 6010 or email us for further information.

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