Most companies have a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place. At the beginning of the customer journey, a CRM solution can manage 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. When companies implement a CRM solution, they often neglect a key issue – how to manage and organize customer documents that are connected to CRM transactions.
Effective Customer Information Management begins with sound document management practices. A document management strategy is the critical first step to effectively managing customer data and ultimately, improving the customer experience.
Why does your company need document management in addition to CRM software?
- Without document management, much of the most essential customer information isn’t easy to access. CRM solutions are designed to manage structured data like company names and addresses, order numbers, and support issues and their resolution. This 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.
- 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.
- 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, disconnected 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.
- The stakes of mismanaging customer information are increasing rapidly. News of privacy violations and security breaches is commonplace. In addition, 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.
- 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.
- The sheer volume and variety of customer information are constantly increasing. According to a forecast issued by analyst firm IDC, the amount of data created between 2020 and 2024 will outpace the amount created over the past 30 years. If you don’t start to build a strategy to manage this growth now, when will you do it?