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Customer Relationship Management: What's the Best CRM Tool for Your Business?

Customer relationship management strategies can help your business understand how and why customers choose to spend their money with you. This understanding can translate into increased profits and customer loyalty when used wisely. The best CRM tools and strategies have both immediate and long-term benefits for your small business.

Building Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty can translate directly into profits. Loyal customers are likely to spread the word about your business through social media and similar channels. The best CRM tools make it easier to track the value of a customer's relationship with your company and reap the benefits of that relationship. This includes tracking points of contact, such as letters, the frequency of purchases, and the amount spent by each customer. Building customer loyalty through careful CRM and interactions can entice buyers to spend more and allow you to better target your marketing efforts. Targeted marketing increases customer retention and sales while avoiding unnecessary costs and wasted effort.

The Cutting Edge of Customer Relationship Management

CRM programs often incorporate Web-based CRM and offline software to track purchases and buying habits. The best Web-based CRM tools allow your business to track customer purchases and interactions from any location through an Internet connection. This enables your marketing team to draw from the same database of information no matter where your employees are located. The best CRM programs also rely heavily on tracking interactions, such as responses to emails or the use of coupons, to ensure customers receive marketing communications targeted directly at their interests. CRM options that work entirely through an online database can even be shared across departments in larger businesses or used alongside research from consultancies or outside organizations to further streamline operations.

The Cost and Potential Pitfalls of CRM

Online CRM highlights one of the major pitfalls of the overall concept. It’s not likely that customers are going to enjoy the thought of their actions being tracked by a company. In addition, insecure connections to databases could put sensitive customer information at risk, and steps should be taken to prevent this risk. The best CRM software also comes with hefty price tags. Rates of $50 per user or more are commonplace in the CRM market. The costs of installation and regular monitoring of the software should also be considered when using web-based or offline solutions. Administrator costs for such tools may include both the tracking of usage and the updating of software when new patches or versions arrive.

The Bottom Line

The best CRM tools can enhance your company's profitability and build better relationships with customers. Steps must be taken to preserve the integrity of stored customer information and customers should be aware that some information about their purchasing habits may be stored and provided to others in the company. This transparency, coupled with the effective use of the best CRM tools, can lead to greater profits and stronger long-term relationships with customers.

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