CRM or customer relationship management software is considered essential for any modern business that strives to deliver better services to its customers. Earlier a CRM essentially meant a contact management system that helps organize the contact details of customers. But more modern CRMs have become a complete business tool that offers all sales, marketing and customer management solutions to organizations along with managing contacts.
As Big Data is emerging as the next big thing in the IT world there are discussions on utilizing the massive information received through emails, reports, phone calls, social media updates, meeting etc. to enhance the performance of CRM. Knowledge management (KM) is going to be curial for businesses in the near future.
Big data, knowledge management and CRM
Big data has literally left organizations struggling with the enormous flow of information.
Analyzing and understanding accumulated data can offer useful insight to the organization in apprehending market trends, customer behavior etc. It is curial for the following reasons:
- Helps with decision making
- Helps enterprises in becoming learning organizations
- Creates informed workforce and thus improves productivity
- Attracts innovation at every level of operation
- Inspires cultural transformation and stimulates collaboration
- Helps in learning customer experience through an integrated environment
- Improves services and quality
Knowledge management can help leverage competitive advantage and enhance productivity. It is like offering to mean to the volume of data collected from various sources. It is about processing, analyzing and interpreting data to make it usable.
Earlier though CRM and knowledge management were regarded as two different disciplines – independent of each other. Although more often than not they both used the same database there was no conscious effort to integrate the two. But they both were working towards the same goal; i.e. to improve business performance and efficiency.
The time has now come that CRM app and KM start seeing in the same direction. Harnessing knowledge has become more important for CRM solutions to offer complete business solutions in a competitive environment.
How knowledge management applies to CRM
CRM solution looks into both the customer side and organizational side of the business. It works as a tool to help improve the organization-customer relationships.
Knowledge management offers detailed insight into a problem and helps find the right solution. It offers a reusable solution to an issue so that every time the problem repeats the remedy is already available. CRM strategists have found this extremely crucial for the performance of the software. According to industry estimation, a third of the high cost of a call center is due to the effort put forth in finding the right resolution to offer to the customer. These efforts can be optimized when knowledge management is deeply integrated into the CRM system.
KM is essentially a tool that is when embedded into the CRM system offers metrics to the customer support system. Many companies still haven’t understood the importance of integrating KM with CRM systems. But this can help organizations resolve complex problems more easily. When the customer support representatives have access to the complete library of solutions it becomes much easier for them to resolve customer woes. It can help improve the rate of first call resolution and impact the profitability of your contact center.
The insight received through knowledge management can also be applied in developing a self-help guide that will let customers resolve many of their queries by themselves and obviously lower the pressure on your call center.
Enterprises implementing KM are actually disseminating improved knowledge among employees. Knowledgeable employees lead to enhanced productivity, efficiency and therefore, profit. Knowledge management can be applied to:
- Product designing: Understanding the requirements of customers and designing products accordingly.
- Manufacturing: Understanding market trends and manufacturing products with the latest features.
- Marketing: The information gathered helps analyze customer behavior. Offers insight on individual customers and helps anticipate changes.
- Sales: With the help of insight on customer requirements sales representatives can build customized services for individual clients.
In the modern competitive scenario when customer retention has become imperative for businesses to continue enjoying competitive advantage CRM has moved to the forefront as an essential business tool. It is employed in fostering a stronger customer-company relationship. In order to achieve a higher and better customer satisfaction rate one, therefore, needs to make knowledge an integral part of their CRM strategy.
Author bio: Paul Anderson is currently associated with Corelynx Inc., also a California-based company. For over five years he is offering CRM solutions to a wide market vertical. During this period he has observed what works and what doesn’t work for companies. He brings in his wealth of experience on CRM customization and solutions to his writings on webs and blogs. He is an avid reader and enthusiast blogger and engaged with many online communities. He also loves outdoor sports and often goes fly fishing with fellow enthusiasts.