Customer Relationship Management in Small Business

Successful business organizations use different strategies to empower, mentor, and guide their workers to meet the needs of the targeted customers. Skilled managers apply evidence-based techniques and strategies to improve the experiences of their employees. The outstanding objective of such initiatives is to drive organizational performance. The concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is one of the approaches many leaders consider to address the expectations of their respective customers. The purpose of this paper is to give a detailed analysis of CRM and how small businesses employ it to become more competitive.

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Customer Relationship Management and its Role

For many decades, firms and businesses have been applying diverse models to identify and meet their customers’ demands. Such initiatives empower different individuals and encourage them to become loyal customers. Today, business organizations have been focusing on a superior approach to improve the nature of customer interactions and solve emerging problems. This practice has triggered the development of the CRM model.

Wynn, Turner, Banik, and Duckworth (2016) define “customer relationship management (CRM)” as a set of technologies, procedures, and strategies that business firms apply to analyze their customers’ needs and identify evidence-based initiatives that can result in increased sales. The emergence and development of modern technologies have led to the development of CRM software to gather customer information and support every decision-making process.

Programmers have managed to introduce superior functions that record adequate data from customers who use social media platforms, mobile phones, and emails. Any point of interaction between customers and marketers is monitored to improve relationships. With the continuous use of CRM, managers can track customers’ experiences while at the same time monitoring organizational productivity and performance.

There are unique roles of CRM that many leaders of small and large businesses take seriously. The first one is that the concept helps firms increase their revenues and sales. This is possible since the model guides both leaders and marketers to gather adequate information from their customers and monitor their purchasing trends. The second role is that it makes it possible for entrepreneurs and managers to have a clear understanding of the nature of the targeted customers and their unique expectations (Raab, Ajami, & Goddard, 2016).

This knowledge ensures that more companies implement personalized or appropriate marketing strategies. The third role of CRM is to guide investors and businesspeople to create the right messages and themes depending on the targeted buyers. This understanding will result in effective target marketing (Tuzunkan, 2018). Another important function of CRM is to monitor and improve the level of customer experience. When companies use this concept, it becomes possible to resolve emerging challenges and boost the level of satisfaction.

Small Businesses Using Formalised CRM Systems: Competitive Advantages

A customer with an emotional attachment to a given brand or product will have an increased chance of purchasing it. Such an individual will also be ready to define and defend his or her behaviors and decisions. Leaders of small and emerging businesses understand that buyers can dictate the quantities of sales and revenues made. These aspects explain why the managers of many small firms focus on formalized CRM systems to meet the changing demands of their customers (Tuzunkan, 2018).

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This model is essential since it allows small businesses to automate, synchronize and organize every aspect of consumer interaction. A formalized model usually makes it possible for organizations to improve customer interactions.

The first example of small businesses embracing the power of formalized CRM solutions is Bespoke Collection. This firm offers art experiences, top-tier memberships, and fine wines to its customers. With such a CRM system, it attracts the right individuals and rewards them using its loyalty program. The organization collects timely data in an attempt to understand the changing behaviors of its customers. The formalized CRM model has led to an improved consumer base (“4 examples of businesses,” n.d.).

The system sends personalized emails to customers after they have purchased different products. They collect information from them and make adequate decisions that eventually result in increased levels of satisfaction and retention.

The second example of small businesses using formalized CRM is Munchery. This firm cooks and delivers high-quality meals directly to their customers’ offices or homes. By addressing their emerging demands, the leaders of this firm realized that there was a need to implement new software that would result in positive results. The use of formalized CRM has continued to meet the needs of this firm’s repeat customers. New ones also receive timely support and meals whenever necessary (“4 examples of businesses,” n.d.).

The technological solution also makes it possible for Munchery to monitor the effectiveness and performance of their employees and the level of customer satisfaction (“4 examples of businesses,” n.d.). The implemented CRM software tracks all ordering processes and gathers insights from different customers to boost sales and revenues.

Activision is another example of emerging businesses that have acknowledged the benefits of formalized CRM solutions. Currently, this firm uses Marketing Cloud to monitor their customers’ conversations on different social media platforms. It also embraces the power of Service Cloud to engage in such communications and identify the most appropriate initiatives to address their needs (“4 examples of businesses,” n.d.). As a player in the entertainment industry, this firm has managed to attract more customers and clients. The model has resulted in reduced operational costs, thereby increasing the level of customer satisfaction.

From the above examples, it is evident that the outlined small businesses have recorded numerous benefits from the use and adoption of formal CRM systems. Rajput, Zahid, and Najaf (2018) indicate that the ultimate objective of every business involvement is to make adequate profits. Small firms will only achieve this goal by monitoring and addressing the changing expectations of their respective companies. The case of Munchery reveals that the use of CRM solutions can guide companies to transform their business models by the unique demands of the targeted customers (“4 examples of businesses,” n.d.). This is a process that improves the competitiveness and effectiveness of a given organization. A superior business approach is essential since it results in increased performance.

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Companies that use formal CRM will relate positively with their customers. They will identify their unique challenges and complaints, thereby implementing appropriate strategies to address them. A satisfied consumer will be willing to do repeat business with the targeted firm or company (Oluseye, Tairat, & Emmanuel, 2014). The final result is that the small firm will continue to attract more customers and eventually increase its revenues. This is what has supported the positive performance and profitability of the Bespoke Collection.

A formal CRM model can reshape a company’s organizational culture and structure. This is the case since the leaders in the firm will utilize the existing software to monitor and understand the unique issues their customers face. They will consider such insights to transform their leadership styles, managerial procedures, and decision-making processes. They will also promote the establishment of a superior culture that resonates with the expectations of different customers (Kulpa, 2017).

The firm will eventually innovate or develop evidence-based customer satisfaction and marketing procedures. The collected data will inform superior action plans to make the selected company more competitive.

Finally, a formalized CRM tool will minimize most of the expenses many companies using traditional customer relationship models incur. This is true since the system will gather data from different points and support every decision-making process. Leaders of such small enterprises will then use the information to propose new ideas for improving their services and products (Guha, Harrigan, & Soutar, 2017). They will also introduce evidence-based practices that can eventually create a competitive edge for the targeted firm. From this analysis, it is evident that companies that embrace the power of these systems will achieve their objectives much faster.

Small Businesses Using Informal CRM Systems: Competitive Advantages

The above section has indicated that formal CRM is a powerful solution that small businesses can utilize to achieve competitive advantage. However, such systems might be out of reach or unaffordable to small or emerging companies. With this kind of understanding, it would be appropriate for such business firms to consider informal CRM tools to monitor the changing needs of their customers and eventually achieve their goals (Bojanowska, 2017). Several small businesses have focused on different tools and informal CRM systems to transform their relationships with different consumers and eventually achieve their objectives.

Modern technologies have made it possible for small enterprises and businesses to implement powerful processes and systems that give them competitive edges over their leading rivals. The introduction of formalized CRM solutions in such firms can be challenging due to these factors: business size, number of employees, available services or products, and target population. Due to such gaps, some small startups have decided to rely on different systems to achieve their business goals and transform their relationships with different customers.

The first example is that of Food Greens. The founder of this small business lacked enough capital and resources to market the brand successfully. With this kind of limitation, the entrepreneur chose to use blogger outreach to inform more people about different products (Agius, 2015). This approach made it possible for different customers and colleagues to learn more about the available offerings. Consequently, the business’ sales increased significantly within 4 months.

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Ozone Coffee stands out as a leading small business firm whose model has continued to deliver positive results. The leaders at Ozone Coffee have been using its online presence to inform more people about its products (Agius, 2015). It also educates different partners about the importance of engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Although this model does not meet the threshold of a formalized CRM system, it has improved the nature of the relationship existing between the firm and its customers.

William Sonoma is another example of a small firm that uses a CRM-like solution to engage key stakeholders and inform more customers about its products. The business supports its approach using a company’s blog that many readers admire. The online platform features various selections and items that are available at the company’s stores. Visitors and readers of the blog eventually offer their insights and ideas, thereby making it possible for William Sonoma to implement evidence-based marketing strategies (Agius, 2015). With this kind of information, it is evident that all small businesses using informal CRM models can improve their platforms to benefit from this concept. They will also empower their stakeholders and eventually become more competitive.

As described above, small businesses using nonconventional CRM methods find it possible to develop superior products and deliver them to their customers. For instance, the continued use of social media networks makes it possible for organizational leaders to monitor the expectations of different customers. Individuals who have complaints or challenges will find it easier to get adequate responses from the businesses (Ayiri & Kudzanayi, 2017). The acquired knowledge will eventually result in new models for doing business, thereby improving every firm’s competitiveness.

Informal CRM solutions are capable of supporting the establishment of customer communities. Small firms that have access to such groups will engage the greatest number of buyers without incurring numerous expenses (Ayiri & Kudzanayi, 2017). Businesses focusing on such tools will reduce the number of their call centers and employees (Guha et al., 2017). This approach can reduce operational costs and eventually increase revenues. Additionally, such small firms will acquire new concepts and ideas for improving their products or offerings. This achievement will increase a business’ competitiveness and make it more successful.

Target marketing is another unique benefit associated with small businesses embracing the power of informal CRM solutions. For firms relying on social networks and platforms, it becomes possible to engage in campaigns, media, or e-mail marketing (Guha et al., 2017).

These technologies will also guide marketers and managers to develop the right messages and share them with the targeted individuals. This practice makes it possible for businesses to have a clear understanding of their respective customers (Tuzunkan, 2018). This kind of understanding will ensure that the right marketing channels are developed in an attempt to deliver personalized experiences to the identified consumers. Firms focusing on such attributes and technologies will eventually achieve competitive advantages over their rivals.

Within an upcoming business, the use of nonconventional CRM will ensure that departments and teams share adequate information. Workers and managers will share information and make the decision much faster (Mozaheb, Alamolhodaei, & Ardakani, 2015). They will also focus on the issues affecting the business and implement evidence-based initiatives to deliver positive results. Similar interactions will also emerge between employees and members of the public. New customers will be willing to become part of the business (Rajput et al., 2018). The outcome is that the small business will eventually provide high-quality services or goods to the targeted customers, thereby increasing its competitiveness in the local market.

Conclusion

Business managers and leaders in small companies cannot underestimate the unique benefits of CRM. The above sections have indicated that businesses that utilize both informal and formal CRM solutions will understand the unique challenges their potential customers face and address them using evidence-based initiatives. This is critical since the ultimate objective of the concept is to maximize the experience of the targeted customers.

Such an achievement will create the best environment for maximizing performance and ensuring that the unique needs of all stakeholders are met. The adoption and use of formal CRM systems guide companies to gather timely information and use it to make informed decisions. More leaders will consider the collected data to guide and empower their followers in an attempt to offer exemplary support to the targeted customers. These initiatives will eventually increase the company’s revenues and sales. The discussion has gone further to reveal that many small firms cannot afford modern formalized CRM systems.

Businesses that lack adequate capital can focus on informal CRM solutions to understand the unique needs or expectations of their customers. All these approaches can present meaningful insights for improving performance and improving business-customer relationships. Such attributes explain why there is a need for entrepreneurs and upcoming business people to embrace the power of CRM systems. In conclusion, organizational leaders and managers should acknowledge that the concept of CRM is essential since it is capable of presenting numerous benefits, including increased levels of customer engagement, improved revenues, and reduced costs of doing business.

References

Agius, A. (2015). 20 great examples of small business content marketing done right. SEMrush Blog. Web.

Ayiri, G., & Kudzanayi, G. (2017). Embracing customer relationship management (CRM) to improve organisational viability by small businesses in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. IOSR Journal of Business and Management, 19(1), 50-54. Web.

Bojanowska, A. (2017). Improving the competitiveness of enterprises through effective customer relationship management. Ekonomia i Prawo. Ecomomics and Law, 16(4), 359-370. Web.

4 examples of businesses leveraging CRM to improve productivity and efficiency. (n.d.). Sales Force. Web.

Guha, S., Harrigan, P., & Soutar, G. (2017). Linking social media to customer relationship management (CRM): A qualitative study on SMEs. Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 30(3), 193-214. Web.

Kulpa, J. (2017). Why is customer relationship management so important? Forbes. Web.

Mozaheb, A., Alamolhodaei, S. M., & Ardakani, M. F. (2015). Effect of customer relationship management (CRM) on performance of small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) using Structural Equations Model (SEM). International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, 5(2), 42-52.

Oluseye, O. O., Tairat, B. T., & Emmanuel, J. O. (2014). Customer relationship management approach and student satisfaction in higher education marketing. Journal of Competitiveness, 6(3), 49-62. Web.

Raab, G., Ajami, R. A., & Goddard, G. J. (2016). Customer relationship management: A global perspective (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Rajput, A., Zahid, M. M., & Najaf, R. (2018). Using CRM to model firm performance in a business-to-business market. Journal of Relationship Marketing, 17(2), 118-151. Web.

Tuzunkan, D. (2018). Customer relationship management in business-to-business marketing: Example of tourism sector. GeoJournal of Tourism and Geosites, 22(2), 329-338. Web.

Wynn, M., Turner, P., Banik, A., & Duckworth, G. (2016). The impact of customer relationship management systems in small business enterprises. Briefings in Entrepreneurial Finance, 25(6), 659-674. Web.

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