Thursday, 26 February 2015

Improving Your Business Focus With a Customer Information System

A customer data management (CDM) solution can help organizations, both large and small, to manage their accounts, manage email marketing campaigns, and measure customer satisfaction. Efficiently managing customer data results in greater customer satisfaction, less time spent on administrative tasks, and more efficient marketing.

If companies are not currently using a customer information system then a paradigm shift in business and marketing strategy may be required. Customer information systems shift the focus from the product or service being sold to the requirements of the customer, which could result in a fundamental change in a business's culture.

Consider a simple example: a bed and breakfast establishment or small inn might offer a full cooked breakfast every morning, televisions in each suite, and brochures on local tourist attractions. However, a close look at their customers' analytics could reveal that their highest value customers are actually business travelers who have spent many hours on the road and actually prefer a lighter breakfast, possibly served earlier in the morning, before heading off to their meetings. These customers might also place more emphasis on free Wi-Fi and adequate, accessible power outlets in their rooms for charging electronic gadgets. This might seem like a no-brainer and clearly the example is oversimplified. The point is that any business, regardless of size, will achieve greater success when it is able to recognize its customers' needs and tailor its efforts toward meeting those needs, rather than continuing to offer the same products and search in vain for new customers to purchase them.

An efficient customer data management system can consolidate customer records, sales, leads, and marketing strategies. New sales opportunities become easily identifiable, marketing strategies are more effective and business plans can evolve to accommodate the available data, allowing for more accurate forward planning. Additionally, a well-maintained customer information system can help businesses identify their high-value customers and understand their needs and preferences. This might mean re-evaluating a company's product accordingly; to extend the example given above, if the bed and breakfast establishment continued to direct its marketing toward vacationing couples and focused on improving its hearty breakfast menus, then it would be wasting time and money.

Integrating a successful customer data management system with existing technology might be more cost effective for larger businesses, but it is important to small businesses also, improving the integration between sales and marketing activities. Using the ‘cloud' offers a virtual platform that all employees can readily access to get the customer information they need. Data can be centralized, ensuring that customers' buying history and individual details are kept up to date. Analytics help business owners and sales staff to understand customers' preferences and tailor their efforts to meet their customers' needs.

Efficient management of customer data involves integrating your system with current technology and ensuring that your employees are comfortable using it. To this end, the ideal customer information system should be user friendly and easily navigated. It should also be accessible to any authorized employee from anywhere that employee happens to be. For more information on how to incorporate CDM into your business planning visit

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