Monday, June 20, 2011

Mobile CRM and the Modern Business

With technology developing at a rapid pace, the tools and options available to businesses are constantly changing and evolving. Over the years, businesses have moved from card filing and file cabinets, to computers with spreadsheets and databases. Now, cloud computing is offering businesses with additional options for managing their sales processes and customer relationship management (CRM). Likewise, mobile devices are making communication easier than ever to execute.

With the development and continuing improvement of mobile devices, combined with cloud computing, CRM is going mobile. No longer do sales representatives need to return to the office at the end of the day to input sales records and client information, or call mid-meeting to make an inquiry about a product. Instead, they can access the databases they need or visit the Internet via their mobile devices and work on-the-go.

Mobile devices are enabling customer relationship management to become even more efficient. Cloud computing services are developing applications that can easily be used on mobile devices. With an iPhone or BlackBerry users can integrate and synchronize their address books, calendars, and email. This integration of resources can greatly increase users’ productivity and make the information much more accessible and visible to the user and to the company. In addition, CRM applications compatible with mobile devices are allowing users to update their activities and tasks, view important customer account details, follow-up on leads and opportunities, review cases, assess solutions, review assets, and access dashboards. Users’ engaging in these tasks via their mobile devices are making their processes more efficient and faster. Time they would normally spend going to the office to accomplish these tasks can instead be spent focusing more on making sales or engaging with customers.

Some companies that have adopted mobile CRM capabilities are going even further with the technology.  Extending its uses beyond contact management towards tracking activity, and really applying it to improve  how they serve their customers. Some of these businesses are utilizing their iPhones to create podcasts that detail product information. Then in turn, customers can review the podcasts when researching products and obtain useful insight before making purchases. In addition, some sales representatives will utilize podcasts when meeting with customers to detail product capabilities that might be difficult to explain and visualize. On the sales floor or in the customer’s office the rep can demonstrate the product and show details. This sort of customer service can heighten a consumer’s buying experience and engage them more in the process, possibly turning a lead into a sale.

Other companies have found alternate uses for mobile devices and their application to customer relationship management. For example, some businesses are making their customer service mobile, by allowing consumers to access details via their mobile devices. Such as letting them know if particular items are in stock. Others are making their catalogs available via mobile applications, as well as offering customers the opportunity to make purchases. These options expand the potential businesses have for improving customer satisfaction. Mobile CRM may be able to improve customer service offerings and ensure that customers’ needs are met in an efficient and timely manner.

Integrating mobile CRM into business practices can enable businesses to reach more consumers and, in many instances, do so 24/7. When businesses make use of podcasts or applications that enable customers to make purchases with their mobile device, they are giving customers options that they might not otherwise have.  Ease of accessibility is appealing to consumers. In addition, the customer data management and communication tools available to businesses with mobile CRM allows sales members and other departments to use their time more efficiently and concentrate more on selling. Mobile CRM can enable businesses to reach more customers and in turn support business growth.