A Beginner's Guide to Customer Relationship Management & CRM Integration

March 12th, 2015 11:45am | CRMCTIIntegration

This educational piece looks at what a CRM system is and its benefits to a business, as well as how Oak's Integrate solutions have been designed to help you get even more from yours.

CRM is one of those acronyms that gets bandied around marketing, IT and HR departments, but at its heart is a simple and critical business focus: the customer. A Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) system is the way in which a company manages its interactions with current and potential customers.

What CRM looks like in practice may vary from ‘old school’ record cards and an office diary, to shared Outlook calendars and Excel spreadsheets, to a full blown, cloud-based, industry-specific software solution, complete with tailor-made reports and automated processes. Notably, when they first appeared on the market, most SMEs considered large scale CRM systems too clunky, too resource-thirsty to implement, and too expensive. Today’s versions are feature-rich but much more cost-effective and make an incredibly useful asset for smaller businesses as well as larger ones; it’s time to take advantage of them.

People + Process + Technology

An effective CRM system takes the customer-orientated way of organising a business to its logical and most beneficial conclusions:

  • It captures, centralises, and makes readily available all the information regarding each customer.
  • It offers means of standardising, measuring, automating and improving customer management processes.
  • It enables different departments (sales, marketing, services) to communicate more effectively and visibly with one another and the customer.

CRM systems will do all this using a range of features and tools, some of which may be specific to a particular type of industry or market. In a sales environment, for example, a CRM uses analytics and KPIs to give the users information on where to focus their marketing and customer service to maximize revenue and decrease idle and unproductive contact with customers. Ultimately a well-designed, properly used CRM system should help to increase revenue, shorten sales and other process cycles, and even provide the kind of ‘cradle to grave’ detail that can improve resource management by tracing how effective a particular campaign, action or means of communication has been.

Oak CRM Integration Solutions

Where CRM Integration software is deployed, its role is to enable other software to talk to your CRM and introduce a range of additional, beneficial features.

Oak’s CRM Integration software uses the CTI (computer telephony integration) feed from the phone line to match an incoming (or outgoing) call number to the corresponding CRM record. It then displays the client details on screen before the call is even answered. Staff can instantly see the caller’s name and their history with the company, including any ongoing issues, what they have bought from the company, and so on.

This brings a number of sales and service improvements to the customer-focused business:

  • With the caller history to hand, staff can handle the call more confidently and appropriately from the moment they answer the phone, offering a more personalised service whether there’s a problem to tackle or a sales opportunity to be seized.
  • Staff can see who the caller spoke to last in case they wish to be reconnected with that member of staff, and transfer the call information along with the call.
  • There is no need for customers to repeatedly explain themselves to different staff (one of the most frustrating scenarios for both customers and staff).
  • A desktop address book speeds up outgoing calls and limits any time wasted misdialling. New numbers are captured and added to the database.
  • Efficiency is further enhanced by using the automated dialling feature during sales campaigns, and through the ability to make onscreen notes whilst on the call instead of playing catch up afterwards.

CRM Integration for every business

Oak offers CRM Integration solutions across all product ranges, so every business can benefit from improved customer service. We offer a stand alone ‘off the shelf’ solution, a full call management suite that can include call recording and reporting, and CRM integration as part of bespoke packages tailored to your specific business needs.

If you have any further questions about CRM integration and telecoms, or are wondering which of our solutions would suit you best, then do get in touch. We’d be very happy to help.