The increased advancement of web technologies and the development of social services have a significant impact not only on the life of our customers but also on the business environment and on everything we do to attract new customers. That’s why our demands to the new business solutions have changed. When it comes to customer management, we speak of such things as the lack of training. We want these new business solutions to have intuitive interface. We do not want to spend too much time on learning. We want to implement a new technology right here and now. Our demands apply to the CRM systems as well. And as for the CRM systems, the situation is even more complicated here.
The apparent simplicity of the CRM attracts the most nontraditional users to this relatively new technology. Over the past few years, web designers and web developers have become interested in the customer management systems. These nontraditional users compare CRM and such social networks as Facebook. But can a CRM system be as simple as Twitter? It is essential to understand here that the simplicity of the system is not the only factor influencing on the rapid turnover or on the efficient sales. The question of simplicity is totally out of place. Only when your company uses the most complex devices and procedures, it can boast of the most complex information system. And this information system is nothing else but an electronic version of your company.
Let's try to figure out why exactly the nontraditional users want to simplify the customer management system. The first and the most obvious problem here is the concept substitution. Any software product with a list of contacts and customers can be called a CRM system today. At least, that’s what many users think. As a result, the concepts of a simple interface and software development are transformed into the concept of system’s simplicity. However, such approach suggests the developers to cut certain functions, to disable seemingly unnecessary tools. Can you imagine a simple accounting program with three functions? This program will be very inexpensive and easy to learn. But will you be able to make any use of this program?
The situation is complicated by the lack of any industry standards. In other words, the relatively new customer management system can be classified as electronic contact managers or phonebooks. They may have 3 to 4 functions and they may be as inexpensive as you can only imagine. At the same time, the Oracle Siebel CRM systems are usually incredibly expensive. And the heart of the problem is far beyond the IT-related problems. As you may know, the first software products were created because someone wanted to improve the efficiency of work. In order to solve this problem, the information system was created. Each and every system had specific goals. As for the CRM systems, their main purpose is to eliminate the necessity to involve more human recourses into your business processes. That’s why these systems are so complex and multi-functional.
Jack Ross is an expert in customer management (the Spanish term is gestion de clientes) and CRM systems and works for one of the biggest CRM companies in Europe.