How to use technology to improve quality, profitability and reduce operational costs

COVID accelerated the need for businesses to virtualize and take to the cloud and while organizations were scrambling to catch up with this race to digitize, technology expenditures rose dramatically.

An information technology stack needs to be strategically managed to ensure that it supports increased revenue or reduced expenses. There are several technologies that can be leveraged and/or optimized in an organization which we will outline in a series of articles this month.

Automation, Integration and Cloud Computing

A businesses relationship to their technology is directly tied to their growth.


Part 1 - Customer Relationship Management Technology

This is the first article in a series that describes different ways to use technology to reduce operational costs.  This article describes what a Customer Relationship Management system is, the different types and how they can be used to reduce operational costs.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology for managing all your company's relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.

The goal is simple: Improve business relationships.

A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.

Information in a CRM can be gathered from numerous sources:

  • Website
  • Email,
  • Live chat
  • Social media
  • Telephone
  • Email

CRMs allow information from all these sources to be stored in a single central location.  This allows for the flexibility of retaining information about past, present and potential customers .  It also allows for sales projections and marketing strategies to be created more effectively.

Below are several types of CRM systems available and described.

Strategic CRM

Systems focuses on the customer-centered business culture and translates into improved CLV.

Operational CRM

These are systems that integrate and automate sales, marketing, and customer support into a central location. These services are designed to have a one-page, quick view of these three functions usually in a dashboard. Automation is central to the effectiveness of a CRM and typically focus on these 3 components:

  • Sales force automation – This component handles repetitive, administrative tasks that are usually time-consuming for a marketing team. Two-thirds of a sales reps time is spent on non revenue-generating activities. By allowing automation to take care of smaller, repetitive tasks, sales reps and volunteers can spend more time on doing what they need to. This form of automation also streamlines the sales process allowing for a more efficient and organized process. Reporting tools offered in these programs also allow staff and managers to see what’s working and what isn’t and fine-tune their processes to best meet the needs of their customers.

  • Marketing Automation – Like sales force automation, this component of CRMs take the brunt of time-consuming repeated tasks such as sending out emails, promotion on social media, timed releases of information, deals, sales, special events.
  • Service Automation – This can come in the form of ticketing portals, FAQs, phone, email and knowledge-based systems. This component focuses on direct customer service technology.

Analytic CRM

These systems use techniques such as data mining, correlation, and pattern recognition to analyze the customer data. Custom audiences or subsets of consumers may have specific patterns and this sort of data scanning can be helpful for reaching a target audience more effectively.

Collaborative CRM

These systems incorporate external stakeholders, suppliers, vendors and distributors and share information. For example, feedback can be collected from technical support calls, which could help provide direction for marketing products and services to that particular customer in the future.

Customer relationship management systems ensure customers are served better on the day-to-day processes. With more reliable information, customers demand for manual updates decreases. If there is less need to interact with the company for different problems, customer satisfaction level increases. Below are eight benefits CRM systems can provide

  • Enhanced ability to target profitable customers.
  • Integrated assistance across channels.
  • Enhanced sales force efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Improved pricing.
  • Customized products and services.
  • Improved customer service efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Individualized marketing messages are also called campaigns.
  • Connect customers and all channels on a single platform.

In conclusion, if a CRM is used effectively it can deliver on the promise of technology.  Through the use of automation, operational costs can be decreased for the same amount of work done.  This also leads to improved profitability. The enhanced communications and management can improve service quality and customer satisfaction. Thus a CRM system can help an organization grow and succeed.