Whether it’s the ability to answer phone calls with your watch or paying for a tube journey with your smartphone, technology is constantly finding new ways of making our lives easier. While wearable tech and the Internet of Things are more popular in the consumer world, it’s a little less obvious when it comes to the enterprise. But, that’s not to say technology isn’t making strides in the enterprise space: helping individuals and teams to improve their day-to-day work, and building better relationships between businesses and their customers.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software manages and analyses customer interactions with the aim of improving business relationships. By compiling data and information across different channels, users are provided with a highly detailed look at clients and customers to better understand their needs.
And technology is weaved into software like this to improve users’ productivity and experience. Intelligent CRM tools use business process automation to accelerate the collection and compilation of information. By removing the manual aspect of completing certain tasks, users can focus more on the things a computer can’t do—communicating strategies with colleagues, building relationships with customers, and so on. When integrated into a high-powered document management application such as Microsoft’s SharePoint, all this customer data is located in a single, secure platform, providing fast and wide-reaching information access for optimal customer relationship management.
There are two key areas in which technology can maximise the management of customer and client relations: engagement and experience.
Improving engagement with customers
Centred around an account or company record, CRM software is all about making the client-seller relationship as strong as possible throughout the customer lifecycle—from a potential lead to a valued customer. This includes an automated level of managing contacts, documents, tasks, communication activity and cases, whether through a sales opportunity, service case or project. Capturing this information allows for automated nurturing of a customer relationship, without manual input or oversight from a user.
You may think that the process of ‘automated relations’ would seem, for the most part, a disconnected way of interacting with clients. However, business process automation in SharePoint CRM works alongside the user, streamlining processes that would otherwise require a number of steps and eat away at an individual’s time.
- Changes in customer status or sales opportunity are immediately flagged, notifying the user (or customer) through email so they can act accordingly.
- Logging communications activity can trigger a reminder to communicate with the customer again at a later date. Customers should, at a minimum, be contacted on a monthly basis—as soon as the CRM platform logs a conversation it can automate a ‘conversation task’ for the following month, linking back to the previous conversation for reference.
- Other repeating tasks, such as invoicing and follow-ups, can be automatically set for you to drive sales activity and build richer, more complete relationships with the customer.
Sales activity—that is, enticing a new potential lead or maintaining communication with a current customer—shouldn’t be confined to just a sales team. Every member of the business has an opportunity to help sell the business. Automated CRM processes entwine the user and system for more efficient and effective customer relations.
Regardless of your role, a CRM tool allows you to source records to immediately highlight the status of a relationship. This information is automatically filtered in order of most recent or most important for quicker access and more efficient driving of sales activity.
Multiple parts to a whole
Aside from features and functionality, for a CRM solution—or any software, for that matter—to be used optimally, user experience is critical. A CRM tool may have the most innovative features in the world, but if its users do not enjoy or appreciate using the software then user adoption will gradually fade, or cease completely. This is where Microsoft’s Office 365 platform leads its competitors.
A SharePoint CRM tool provides enterprise-grade document management out-of-the-box, but is also built within the shell of Office 365. This offers a sense of immediate familiarity for those that have previously used the platform—which, realistically, equates to the majority of users in today’s enterprise. Office 365 is Microsoft’s fastest ever growing product, with 70% of Fortune 500 companies purchasing Office 365 between 2014 and 2015, and the platform continues to grow. A CRM tool built in Office 365 and SharePoint Online not only provides huge additional ROI on your new email infrastructure, but it costs significantly less to deploy and develop, as well.
Building on the familiarity of tools such as OneDrive, SharePoint and Outlook, a SharePoint CRM tool can negate a sizable amount of customer training. Users are able to work with emails, files and attachments in a way that is already natural to them—and when combined with the power of automation software, you’re left to focus on maintaining and strengthening customer relationships without distraction.
Create more time for yourself
As today’s business climate continues to accelerate, time is of the essence. By investing in a SharePoint CRM tool that follows the framework of Office 365 brings the high levels of productivity found in Microsoft’s most popular platform into customer relations. Automated processes further reduce the need for manual input and maintenance, freeing up time for workers. With more free time (and less stress), focus can be shifted onto ‘real’ interaction with clients and customers.
For more information on how a SharePoint CRM tool can help you build better relationships, get in touch with ISAAC today.