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How CRM Can Help Businesses Overcome Virtual Communication Challenges

As business continues to deal with communication challenges stemming from remote and hybrid work arrangements, CRM is playing a vital role in helping organizations achieve peak performance and maintain service excellence. 01.11.22

By Shawn Jensen, Salesforce Practice Leader 

Customer relationship management systems have radically redefined how organizations communicate with their customers and prospects and how they track the status of those interactions. Just about every sales organization in the world uses a CRM tool to optimize their performance, but these platforms are also proving to be essential to help decentralized teams seamlessly collaborate internally and externally.  

Why CRM? 

One of the reasons that CRM systems are ideal for tracking interpersonal interactions is that they center around the customer and play a role in facilitating communications with co-workers who share business processes — and the customers themselves — and then capturing the details of those communications. This eliminates many of the knowledge gaps that can hinder successful relationships. Communication channels can be broken up into a few core areas, all of which can be managed with CRM tools. 

Phone 

The traditional phone call has expanded significantly over the years. Not only do we have phone calls — which remain an important staple of corporate communication — as well as text messages, but the telephone function is now integrated into other systems such that other systems have actually replaced the phone. That’s why many businesses choose to integrate the phone into their CRM systems through computer telephony integration, or CTI, which allows employees to click on a phone number and instantly dial out. It also allows incoming calls to instantly display caller information and any related records that might be in the CRM so that the employee can immediately act. The employee is expected to detail the call so that all information remains with the customer record. 

The advantages of doing this for external client and prospect relationships are obvious, and as applications like Zoom have exploded in popularity during the pandemic, we’re seeing these tools integrated with CRM more and more. Employees can now pull up a customer record and initiate a face-to-face conversation or schedule a meeting with just a few clicks. Virtual meetings have enabled a “round the world” environment that make people in different countries feel like they are in the same conference room with you, while reducing travel costs and lost productivity. 

Email 

Email is second in facilitating communications only behind the phone, which is why most CRM systems integrate with email systems so that all bi-directional communications are captured with the customer records. Many companies now will not include a separate email application (e.g., Outlook) but instead insist that employees communicate directly through the CRM. Eliminating these kinds of gaps is critical in virtual organizations where people might not have the ability to collaborate in real time.   

CRM Records 

CRM records themselves are a form of communication that provides employees and customers with vital information about their mutual interactions. Employees can easily access a variety of key data relating to the customer such as the length of time that someone has been a customer, company growth over time, the kinds of issues that a specific customer might be facing, and customer buying history and trends. On the other side of the conversation, customers can see information such as who is authorized to make decisions on behalf of their organizations, order information, case history, and project progress.  

Instant Messaging/Chat Rooms/Huddles  

IM applications like Slack have been true game-changers, but their true power is unleashed when they integrate with CRM systems. For instance, IM-CRM integrations allow team members to access messages associated with a record, making for greater continuity through the sales pipeline. They also provide real-time updates to people who need to know when an important event, such as the close of sales deal, occurs in the platform they’re actually active in, rather than email, where important notifications tend to get lost.  

Call centers also have benefited from IM-CRM integrations. For example, when a high-priority case comes in, the agent can activate a “swarm” directly from the CRM application and have all hands working the case virtually through the IM application, with real-time updates relayed to the call center team and to the customer. Spontaneous virtual meetings can also be spawned from the application, so that when two or more people are chatting about a matter of concern, they can quickly turn to a voice conversation.  

BPM: Your CRM Sherpa  

All of these communications technologies working together as part of a CRM framework have eliminated the need to be onsite and have made working remotely a seamless experience for the majority of knowledge workers. At BPM, we work with our clients to help them not only implement the right CRM tools, but also deploy them in ways that facilitate internal and extra no communications. To learn more about how we can help you elevate your CRM, please contact Shawn Jensen, BPM’s Salesforce Practice Leader, at sjensen@bpmcpa.com today.  

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