How to improve CRM processes at no extra cost

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How to improve CRM processes at no extra cost

Forty per cent of companies are focused on generating effective customer relationship management (CRM) strategies in order to increase their competitiveness when the economy recovers, according to Gartner.

The analyst firm acknowledged that IT budgets are being cut, but said that companies can improve their CRM processes without spending more money.

"Many organisations have large investments in call centres, web sites, marketing systems and sales force automation," said the report.

"With these pieces in place, companies can wrap effective strategies around these tools and generate real success from a customer standpoint."

Gartner warned that companies failing to invest in CRM will find themselves at least a year behind their rivals when the slump lifts.

The report also urged businesses to improve customer communications by harnessing social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

"Gartner advises companies to set up accounts on the various web sites, and learn what they do and don't do, and how users interact," the report said.

Another suggestion is to use analytics tools. "Many companies have more information than they know what to do with, and now have the opportunity to put this to good use studying attrition models, looking at the next-most-likely-to-buy models, and figuring out channel usage patterns," said Gartner.

But the report warned companies to bear in mind that customer behaviour may change when the economy improves.

Finally, Gartner advised firms to study customer processes with a view to creating greater business efficiencies.

"Process is often an overlooked part of CRM, and in many cases all that CRM technologies have done is taken out old broken processes and made them run more efficiently," concluded the report.

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