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6 Essential Benefits of Customer Information Management

Several versions of the number six representing the six benefits of using document management

Most companies have a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place. At the beginning of the customer journey, a CRM solution manages data about potential customers, sales calls and proposals. Once a prospective buyer becomes a customer the solution tracks information like contacts, contracts, renewal dates and customer interactions with your sales and support teams. However, when companies implement a CRM solution, they often neglect a key issue – how to manage and organize the customer documents and data that is associated with CRM transactions.

What is customer information management?

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Customer information management (CIM) is the practice of managing customer data to encompass every customer identifier and data point across an enterprise. It organizes disconnected customer information and makes it instantly accessible in a CRM and by an authorized user who requests it. A CIM strategy also fulfills data privacy and compliance requirements. A document management solution is a crucial element of the CIM function that significantly improves the customer experience. This empowers companies to meet the high expectations of today’s business users. 

Why does your company need document management in addition to CRM software? 

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1.  Accessing essential customer information  

Without document management, much of the most essential customer information isn’t easy to find. CRM solutions are designed to manage structured data like company names and addresses, order numbers, and support issues and their resolution. This type of customer data can only tell you so much. Real insight comes from combining it with the information contained in related documents like proposals, contracts, correspondence, and emails that provide the context for that data. Document management gathers this information from across the company's different departments and makes it available in a single place. 

2.  Boosting responsiveness with centralized data  

The speed at which sales and customer service representatives respond to customer inquiries is a critical element of the customer experience. When there isn’t a full history of customer data and accompanying documents in a central database, the quality of the service you provide suffers. Your staff’s response will be slower and their answers to customer questions may be incomplete. With document management, follow-up is much quicker and more efficient because all authorized team members have the information they need at their fingertips. Creating seamless integration between your CRM and document management systems also eliminates duplicate data entry. The information can be entered once and shared throughout the company.  
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3. Seamless integration for an enhanced customer experience 

With document management, customers can connect with your company through multiple channels and expect to get the same level of service whether they’re reaching out to you by email, a web form, via a chatbot or with a mobile device. Customers grow frustrated with delays that occur when their information is scattered across multiple, separate systems. Think about the last time you contacted a company and were bounced from department to department before your issue was resolved. They may also have security concerns when their information can't be located immediately.  

4. Navigate regulations & protect privacy with document management 

The risks of mismanaging customer information are increasing rapidly. News of privacy violations and security breaches is commonplace. In addition, international, federal, and state governments are entering into the fray with new regulations concerning customer information. Dealing with these new, and often conflicting requirements, without document management is a losing proposition. 
CIM systems include both the technology used to collect and store information and the ability to enforce business rules that promote regulatory compliance. These rules may include sending automated notifications that tell customers how the company might use their browsing and demographic information and statements that specify what information the company collects along with opt-out options. The system might also apply rules about which employees can access what data to ensure the security of sensitive information.  
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5.   Avoid customer dissatisfaction and negative publicity 

If they’re not happy with the service you provide, customers can share their dissatisfaction instantly through social media and peer review platforms. Companies that fall short of customer expectations are only one tweet or peer review away from publicly shared criticism that can damage their reputations and have a direct impact on the bottom line. 

6.  Managing the explosive growth of customer data 

The sheer volume and variety of customer information is constantly increasing. According to Statista, the total amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed globally is projected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes by 2025. A zettabyte is equal to a billion terabytes or a trillion gigabytes. It's no wonder that in a recent Gartner survey, 84% customer service and support executives cited customer data and analytics as a top priority in 2023. 

4 types of customer information 

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Customer information can be collected formally through interaction with a company employee, a business form, a survey or other means. It can also be gathered indirectly through interaction with social media posts, websites or ads.  

1. Personally identifiable information (PII) 

Potentially identifies people and their devices. This data can include a customer's name, physical, IP and email addresses and other identifying information. Depending on its purpose, PII may also include financial status such as income. It can contain other personal details such as whether an individual has children and pets, and their estimated annual spending on your product or service. This data is protected by an increasing number of privacy regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

2. Interactional 

Includes information about your products and services like usage, purchasing habits and popularity. You can get interaction data from marketing campaigns by tracking how users engage with your ads, social media accounts and website. This data can also be gathered from use of customer support services, website visits and social media likes, shares, and comments.  

3. Behavioral  

Behavioral data encompasses direct engagement with a brand. It can include free trial sign-ups and new user accounts and deactivations. You can even gain behavioral data through email newsletter interaction, such as how many users subscribe and unsubscribe. 

4. Attitudinal  

Attitudinal data gives you information on a customer's direct opinion of a company. This can help you gain insight into how well a product or service in the business is performing, including the public perception of your brand. You can gather this data through direct methods like customer interviews, focus groups and online surveys. Peer review platforms like G2 provide authentic reviews from B2B technology users. Positive reviews help a prospective customer make an educated decision about which product to buy.

Integration can be simple with a big payoff 

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The integration process doesn’t have to be complicated. DocuWare Smart Connect reads terms directly from your CRM’s interface and uses them to search for associated documents. With a single click or key combination, users see all the relevant documents on the screen immediately — including orders, invoices, contracts, emails, receipts, statements, and any other document related to a project, transaction, or customer. Employees get the information from one interface rather than having to toggle between two windows to confirm it. When your company uses Smart Connect to integrate DocuWare and your CRM it connects the systems efficiently to move and synchronize information for process integrity. 
A document management solution ensures efficient access to information directly from Microsoft Dynamics 365 or any other CRM system, in full compliance with data protection guidelines. This is important because looking at the complete customer journey, from identifying the prospective customer to purchase, fulfillment and customer retention, requires that key customer information is available across processes. Important documents and content need to be findable and available to these processes and managed in a coordinated and structured way. That’s the powerful connection that integration of document management with your CRM offers. 

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