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CRM stands for customer relationship management. I know that many people out there think that CRM requires expensive software solutions but that isn’t the case. Today, when technology became really cheap, along with the free web based software availble, there is no excuse not to start your own CRM system.
CRM is often referred to something that is complicated, but in reality it can be quite simple. On top of simplicity, it can be free, and in this article, I will explain you how to use Google Docs Spreadsheets for implementing CRM for your small business. Now, let’s start with explaining what CRM is in simple terms.
I want you to imagine you going out to get groceries at your local store. Now, you get there and ask the clerk there, to fetch your favorite food. Now that person knows you, you are buying groceries there, for past couple of years. You go through your list and you forgot to put a couple of things there. You eat tomato,and cucumber, with certain sauce, and the clerk at the store knows you that well, that according to your last purchase he assumes you are running out of it. So, he reminds you about your favorite sauce, and you remember that you ran out of it, but you simply forgot. He asks you a questionen. Do you need something else, like milk, coffee?
And somehow, he guessed it. He is working at that store, as long as you’ve been buying there. Not only do you two know each other on the personal level, he also knows your needs. He sold a couple of more items, just by knowing you. Instead of putting you through aggravation of coming back to the store, he’s increased the level of the service you get, and makes you keep coming back.
Now let’s imagine that your store clerk looses his or her job. First of all, you would feel bad, because that person is not there, but the next person won’t have that substantial knowledge about you that made that superb experience that you had, previously. Because all of the information about you as a customer, is lost in the oblivion with the employee. So, CRM is THE way for a company to keep all that data about you, so they can provide you the most awesome customer experience, regardless of which person is serving you.
I am quite sure you have your favorite store clerk here, as well as the person that you don’t like that much. Because, they don’t get YOU. With the help of CRM, businesses can maintain better relationships with their clients. CRM solutions are quite pricey, but for the trial period, It’s Free. Starting CRM can be as simple as using a simple Spreadsheet. Instead of buying any kind of software, all we need to open up a Google Account. CRM is an absolute must have for any sales oriented company!
To give you an idea on what columns you should use, I will give you this simple list, usable, by all THE companies who are implementing CRM:
- Full Name
- Contact information (cell phone, email)
- Customer description
- Affinity to products and services
- List of products bought
- Informations they Opt-ed in
- Representatives comments
Google spreadsheets aren’t designed to be a CRM system, but they can be pretty reliable system for you to start on! I believe once you know this kind of information, you really do not have an excuse not to start a CRM system for your company. On the other hand if you need a more serious solution, here is a pretty good list of paid and freemium solutions at Software Advice CRM. They are offering free consultations as well, so this might be a good reference to remember if you someday upgrade from Google Docs, or you need serious solution straight away.