Thursday, September 27, 2007

Improving Your Customer Relationship Management by Blogging

Before I address the following questions:

* What is a blog? and

* What can a blog do for my business?

let me pose a few "What if . . ." questions to you.

Keeping in mind that before your prospects and customers buy from you, they need to know you, like you, and trust you. In other words, they need to know, whether overtly or covertly, that they have a trusting and ongoing relationship with you. What better way to accomplish that goal than a blog?

Now, here are my What if . . . questions:

* What if less than two minutes after creating and publishing your blog, it were to be promoted to 10.000 prospects without any extra effort or cost on your part?

* What if every time someone clicks on a hyperlinked keyword that describes your hobbies; your occupation; your industry; or your favorite books, movies, music, or artist, your blog pops up?

* What if every time you leave a comment on someone else’s blog, you could leave a hyperlink to your website, blog, or email?

* What if someone enters your name or business name (completely or partially) into a major search engine, your website or blog pops up in their search results?

* What if every time you post content on your blog, it would bypass the spam filters and instantaneously appear on your subscribers’ desktop without any extra effort or cost on your part? ( - an excellent opportunity to get your sale, special message, or time-sensitive announcement into their hands, or actually in front of their eyes!)

* What if your satisfied customers had the opportunity to place their self-generated testimonies on your blog? (Although some might need encouragement, that’s all right. Make an incentive opportunity of it! Offer some incentive for their efforts.)

By now you should be beginning to see the powerful marketing potential a blog offers you. These are just some of the powerful customer relationship management features a blog offers you.

But wait!

There’s more!

What if you were to combine these powerful features with other online and offline efforts such as a blogathon, teleseminar, webinar, online articles, and others …?

Would that enhance your customer relationship management efforts?

I realize that successful marketing and sales are still a high touch entity, but when you combine high tech with high touch, you’re bound for success!!!

Now to answer the original questions, What is a blog? and What can a blog do for my business?:

A blog, short of web log, is an interactive web-based journal that encourages participation from viewers. It looks like and does everything a website does – and more! Entries, called posts, are published by date on the page according to your predetermined quantity and are archived in the margin according to your predetermined frequency. A blog served as an excellent supplement to your website and other marketing efforts.

A blog offers your business countless options, namely, a blog:

* gives your viewers, prospects, customers, or subscribers immediate access to you.

* helps to reduce your time spend distributing emails and other messages.

* improves your content delivery rates by 100%.

* improves your search engine rankings.

* publishes constantly fresh content.

* bypasses spam filters completely.

* improves your online visibility.

* Enhances your web presence.

* Generates more visitors.

* and more . . .

So, if you don’t already have a blog, I only have 1 question for you:

What are you waiting for? Don’t let this cutting-edge technology, this powerful marketing tool, pass you by. Online companies are popping up all over the internet offering you free blogs. My recommendation is that you grab one, or two – or more! Most, if not all, are extremely easy to create, but may be time-consuming, according to your already hectic schedule, to maintain.

If that’s the case in your situation, you might want to call in outside help. Consider the high school computer techie next door, or the college-age computer-major son or daughter of a friend who could always use a few extra bucks.

Or, if you don’t have either option available to you, or want to see samples first, I invite you to take a look at what I’m doing by going to:

www.MasterBlogBuilder.blogspot.com/

I leave you with this wish:

May you always be successful in looking for and using new and creative ways to maximize your earning potential.

Remember: When you maximize your potential, we all win! When you don’t, we all lose.

Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management and Marketing Consultant, known as The Master Blog Builder works with individuals, managers, and small business owners to help them maximize their personal and business potential. Reach him at http://www.MasterBlogBuilder.blogspot.com/

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Entirely Free MBA of Customer Relationship Management CRM

The non-profit Business Technology Open University - http://business-technology.us - offer a completely free MBA of Customer Relationship Management CRM. Its operations are supported by ads - content oriented - of companies, inside the texts of the lessons. However, Business Technology is totally independent and without any connection with any manufacturer or consultant.

This course MBA of Customer Relationship Management CRM teaches the foundations of the administration of companies on the relationship with its external world, with the use of the modern information technology CRM, and its goal is to give you a general vision on what is now the CRM level.

More and more in the next 5 years the companies will need a CRM Customer Relationship Management, that uses the new technologies (computers, Internet, communications, etc) in all types of relationships with the external world of the company.

The Course presents a general vision of each one of the angles of a CRM, the computer system that actuate in reciprocity directly with the customers through voice by phone (and recognition of the voice, if necessary) without human actions, for marketing, sales, several types of supports, accounts, etc. To be abbreviate, in any relationship with a customer or a potential customer, or suppliers, etc.

In recent research with IT Managers, 46% answered that the CRM is the number one in its lists of priorities for the period 2006/2007.

The CRMs principle is very clear, if a company takes care of its traditional assets with the use of a computer system as always happened, why not to use the computer system - less and less expensive and simultaneously more powerful - to take care of the great assets that are its customers, vendors, potential customers, etc., that is to say to take care of its external world?

In fact, it's a paradox that a company give absolute priority to its standard assets, managed by the computer system, and has never used the same computer system to take care of its other great assets that is its external world.

This open MBA of Customer Relationship Management CRM are only in English and by correspondence, with 2 to 5 lessons a week and they durations varies up to 5.5 months. In the total the Business Technology fre courses have 2,600 lessons and additionally more 11,000 complemental lessons, everything sent in e-mail attachments.

The pre-requirements for the registrations are one of the following:

- College/University graduated or in course to graduate, or

- Good job experience in the choiced MBA matter

and those registrations can be made individually or in groups of employees' of companies or Governments officers.

In the moment Business Technology already has 193,000 students from the entire World, and the projection for the end of this year is of more 400,000 students.

Publishing Guidelines: You may publish my article in your newsletter, on your website or in your print publication provided you include the resource box at the end. Notification would be appreciated but is not required.

S. Maurer is a 53-years old college graduated IT professional, with 30 years of experience in the computer & technology business. Now is the Correspondence Courses Director of the Abet Open University: http://mba-open-university.net/ and http://distance-learning-mba-online-mba-program-executive-jobs.net/.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Importance of CRM Customer Relationship Management

CRM Customer Relationship Management is one of the newest innovations in customer service today. CRM stands for customer relationship management and helps the management and customer service staffs cope with customer concerns and issues. CRM involves gathering a lot of data about the customer. The data is then used to facilitate customer service transactions by making the information needed to resolve the issue or concern readily available to those dealing with the customers. This results in more satisfied customers, a more profitable business and more resources available to the support staff. Furthermore, CRM Customer Relationship Management systems are a great help to the management in deciding on the future course of the company.

As mentioned, there is much data needed for the CRM system to work. These fields include the customer name, address, date of transactions, pending and finished transactions, issues and complaints, status of order, shipping and fulfillment dates, account information, demographic data and many more. This information is important in providing the customer the answer that he or she needs to resolve the issue without having to wait for a long time and without going to several departments. With just a few mouse clicks, a customer support representative for example can track the location of the customer’s package or order. This is infinitely better than the cumbersome process of tracking shipments previously. Furthermore, the customer service representative will also be able to see the previous concerns of the customer. This is a great help especially if the customer is calling about the same issue since he or she will not have to repeat the story all over again. This results in less time in resolving the issue, thus, higher productivity of the support staff.

CRM Customer Relationship Management systems are also important to the top management because it provides crucial data like customer satisfaction and efficiency of service by the frontline crews. A piece of customer relationship management software will also be able to generate the needed reports for product development or new concepts. Furthermore, this system will also be a great help for the top management in deciding the company’s future course of action, whether it involves phasing out one of the products on the shelves or making adjustments to one of the products sold.

The reports generated by CRM systems are also invaluable to your advertising and marketing planners, as they will be able to pinpoint which ideas works and which do not. Because of CRM systems, you will be able to release advertisements or plan marketing campaigns more in tune with your target market. This will also lead to more responses to your advertisement and a more effective marketing campaign.

Successful integration of a CRM Customer Relationship Management system in your company, however, might not be as easy as it seems. The following might give you an insight why CRM systems fail in some companies… Most companies fail to prepare for CRM systems. By this, I mean that most companies fail to integrate all the departments that need to share the information for it to be effective. Furthermore, CRM units scattered all over the company’s departments is often more effective than just making one big CRM department. This will ensure that each department will get the information and data that they need.

A CRM system will also help you a lot in expanding your business. As CRM systems are capable of handling enormous amounts of data, CRM systems will help you a lot in coping with the increased numbers of customers and data. With a CRM Customer Relationship Management system installed and properly utilized, you can be sure that all data is maximized and used to ensure that your business will be successful and your customers a lot more satisfied than before.

Steven Taylor is a Marketing Consultant to http://www.retronix.com/ - one of the most innovative and effective suppliers to the electronics & semiconductor industries. Services include BGA Rework and De-Bug Services.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Customer Relationship Management - Get To Know Your Customers

CRM computer applications are also known as front office applications. They are to there to assist businesses to handle customer's relationships and to promote functionality that enables a customer focused approach. The systems can support sales, service related departments, marketing and business operations. Information that is stored can not only help define customer profiles, but they can assist by targeting customer needs and the requirements of those potential customers that an organization wishes to attract. The systems can often pull together a group of “like” customer information for campaigns simply at the press of a button.

Much of the data can be collected from in-house systems such as order entry applications; however, information about customers from journals and publications can be of equal value e.g. “ABC Limited proposes new investment of €1,000,000 in widgets in the third quarter of this year”. Whatever the source the CRM system can store this for later use.

The Customer

Marketing organisations whether they have large or small budgets are looking for the greatest return on investment (ROI). This means for every pound, dollar or Euro spent, a greater return is expected, with extra sales and prosperity for the company. As Michael E Porter describes in his “5 Forces”, the power of the “buyer” can be extremely strong. One way a company can stay ahead of its competitors is by the application of CRM methodology. Those suppliers who can target and pinpoint the true requirements of customers and can communicate in a positive fashion are the ones with the higher opportunity of closing a sale.

Business – Get More!

CRM is also commonly referred to as “Business Intelligence”. The detailed collation of data is extremely important but equally the ability to analyse and translate that data is of equivalent importance. The “business” has to have a strategic objective of where it wants to target its sales and services. The CRM data can then assist in the capability of achieving the end objectives. CRM is not just an Information Technology “add on”, applied in the right way; it can become a way of business life.

The investment in implementing a CRM system need not be expensive. Indeed on a limited budget and with some moderate skills in either excel or access applications, a company can easily start building up a CRM database. There are applications available online, many of which are priced at reasonable levels. Ensure that if you use one of these online services that they are of a reputable standing, the last thing you want is for your information to disappear overnight!

Customers Data

Many customers want to be assured that their information is kept secure and not distributed around to third party suppliers. The worst thing that can happen is for a loyal account to discover that their business data is being shared outside of their supplier’s organization without their consent. This will not only put the business at risk but could also seriously affect the credibility of a company in the market place, thus affecting its ability to trade with any new sales leads.

CRM Marketing

Marketing, with the right level of CRM intelligence can get some seriously good returns. Marketing can take base data collected in the system and incorporate this into more advanced statistical analysis applications, thus detecting trends and elements of the selling market place. CRM can make use of predictive analytics; this has been commonly used by the major search engines with their “pay per click” advertising. One can see examples of these on major search engines such as Yahoo and Google.

Conclusion

CRM can offer organizations a real competitive advantage over its rivals if applied in the correct way. The systems can store data from local sources and also acquire input from external sources. A company can start a CRM type system and methodology on a low budget simply by using some basic applications that are usually found on every basic personal computer (and even if they are not on the PC, they can be downloaded free from open source providers). The way forward is customer analysis, marketing plans and execution of sales. If you’re not doing it, your competitor might just be!

Nigel Penhearow is a Business Operations Director for a major blue chip company based in the UK. He is a member of various Institutional bodies and has given various speeches in the UK and the USA on business analytics, key performance measurement and best business practice. More information can be found on his website http://www.operations-director.com/

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

CRM 101 - The Basics of Customer Relationship Management

What is CRM?
CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, can be defined as a software program, business strategy, or internet system that helps a business manage and organize its customer database. This includes contacting customers more efficiently, keeping leads hot, aiding in workplace effectiveness, and generally improving customer service and business relationships.

How Does CRM work?
Essentially, CRM works by allowing a representative or agent to access detailed customer information quickly and efficiently while the client is on the line. This means less hassle for the client and a quicker transaction.

For example, say a client contacts a company representative about possibly purchasing the company's product. With CRM, the representative would be able to see if the client had bought anything previously, and if so, what their name is, their age, how long they've used the company, what products they've bought before, how often they buy the product, and much more. This would then allow the representative to suggest and recommend the product or service option that best suits the customer in a timely manner.

Who does CRM benefit?
The beauty of CRM is that is benefits both the customer and the business or service provider. Customers receive a higher level of customer service because their needs are met and anticipated, allowing them to relax through transactions that are often much quicker than they're used to.

The business benefits via improved sales, higher customer confidence and satisfaction, and a more effective work environment. With CRM, a small business or large corporations can know what its customer wants; thus it can provide the service or product the client wants, keeping them as a repeat customer and gaining greater sales volumes.

What are some CRM applications?
CRM applications are created around the same idea as a spreadsheet, where values can be filled in and tabulated to quantify, analyze, and interpret data. A CRM application can both collect and analyze information simultaneously. This means faster, better applications and better ease of use. Clients can download, share or install these programs at their leisure via sites like Salesforce.com.

What is online CRM?
Online CRM is where a business uses an online system to manage its CRM. Straightforward and easy, online CRM is an option often taken by smaller businesses as it allows any representative to access a client's information immediately, without hours of tedious training. A example of an online CRM system might be a 24-hour call center.

What is web based CRM?
Web based CRM is where a business uses real-time updates that are integrated with their existing CRM system. This allows new information to be accessed immediately without any time lapse. It is different from a software-based Customer Relationship Management program in that it allows for live, as-it-happens updates. Thus customer information is always fresh and current.

How do CRM systems help businesses?
CRM systems help businesses by improving customer service and relationships, generating quality leads, monitoring accounts more effectively, always keeping data fresh and ready so leads don’t grow cold, allowing mobile CRM (orders through a mobile device), and managing sales.

Salesforce.com is the world's first on-demand application service and a giant in the field of CRM. With over 24,000 customers, over 500,000 subscribers, and a 97% customer satisfaction rate, Salesforce.com continues to lead their field. To find out more about them, please visit http://www.salesforce.com/.

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