Operational CRM: Definition and Assessment

You really can’t underestimate the influence of customer interaction on modern businesses. Any company that decided to set up an online presence aims to also establish a functional customer management model. That’s different from your typical ‘customer relations’ in ordinary businesses.

Online, all the management is done via different applications, algorithms, and solutions collectively known as CRM (Customer Relationship Management). There are many different types of these applications, and Operational CRM is in many ways fundamental for the system.

What does it do and why?

Overview of CRM

CRM are solutions and applications you purchase or otherwise acquire to improve your online business, which mostly means your websites. They automate and streamline your processes, which ends up:

  • Increasing your sales
  • Satisfying your customers
  • Speeding up the workflow.

These are the main benefits, but they are grossly oversimplified. It’s an extensive system, and besides Operational, there are also Analytical and Collaborative CRM modules. They all work towards the same goal – maximizing the efficiency of your business in many aspects. They achieve that by creating an appealing customer experience.

For it to work, the system needs to collect a large amount of information about the user, make sense out of it, and then use it to create personalized offers to each customer. For it to work, the business needs a lot of modules set up in place to accommodate various phases of this plan.

Operational CRM plays a vital part in this. Analytical and Collaborative solutions make sure the information collected from the users can be properly analyzed and shared among the many systems that require it. Operational tools actually collect it and allow for it to be used in a myriad of technical instruments.

Operational CRM: Definition and Assessment

Operational CRM explained

The job of the OCRM is to provide the functional infrastructure that operates all the processes regarding clients, hence the name.

This involves gathering leads, data collection, sales management, marketing management, and customer service. These all make sure the business keeps in touch with the customer and provides the most suitable offers that match their data profile. There are many purposes, but these generally improve three main aspects of your business.

  1. Marketing capabilitiesBased on the information you gathered via directly asking customers, observing how they behave and providing customer service, you get to set up marketing offers for specific categories of people. This can include gender, age, payment preferences, ethnicities, and more.The automated processes busy themselves compiling this data and arranging various categories of users for you. You only need to pick one of the offer templates, pick the target audience, as well as the method by which it’s going to be communicated to them (email, bonus offer, message, etc).
  2. Sales optimizationCRM in general is celebrated for its extensive sales recommendations. The information you collect can also indicate what types of products/services the customer prefers. Based on this information, they are first shown the stuff they might actually need or like.It is not limited to that. The sales modules are closely integrated with the marketing modules for better results. As a result of this cooperation, the user receives accurate upsell offers, email product selections, and other choices meant to keep users engaged and interested.
  3. Customer serviceCustomer interaction is a crucial aspect that can’t be neglected. Customer service is a large part of this aspect. It can alone contribute to the higher rate of client satisfaction, which in turn drives the sales up and increases retention.It encompasses modules that enable users to receive help from the business via phone, social media, email, and other means. The channels of communication themselves are not part of the OCRM system, but of Collaborative CRM. Integrating proper communication channels with customer service modules is crucial.

Main principles

Operational CRM solutions make up an extensive system of software meant to fulfill tasks established above, and then some. All modules in this system are established following several key principles of the OCRM.

  1. IntegrationIt’s more of a general CRM principle, but it’s extremely important for the Operational parts. In short, these solutions need to be integrated and cooperate with one another when possible. It implies shared access to all information regarding the client in order to better understand the user and produce superior results.Marketing and sales departments are classic examples of such cooperation, but it’s not all. Customer engagement, lead processing, lead management, and many other departments are all interconnected in order to create the most efficient sales cycles possible given current circumstances.
  2. AutomationAutomation is a critical aspect of these systems. A lot is still carried out by real employees, but many of these solutions are automated to a high degree. This helps reduce the costs of managing all the little aspects of the work routine, but also generally increases the overall quality of work.The automated data processing means all the little tidbits about your customers are collected, stored, and then used by the Operational CRM without your interference. The result is neatly organized categories to which all of your customers are assigned at some point. You can then decide which products to offer each of them, or even leave that to the machine intelligence.Many of the processes within your business are automated similarly. However, they don’t just build your online presence for you, they help you do it by mostly providing options and templates.
  3. OptimizationMaking your systems run quicker and smoother is another key part of creating the perfect OCRM network. It’s done both by consciously installing and customizing existing technologies and also moving to superior solutions that will allow your business to satisfy more customers.Expanding the technical capabilities of your systems is also a way to go. Adaptability is by far the most important parameter one must work on. If your applications can learn and adapt to your specific business situation, it’s going to increase your productivity many times over.

Advantages of OCRM

Getting OCRM applications is a reasonable decision for an online business, especially a big one. There are many positive consequences, but the topmost changes can be shortened to just four, all of which arise from OCRM and its different manifestations.

  • Increased profitsOCRM brings more profits, this much is certain. Part of it stems from the high rates of customer satisfaction, which increases sales, obviously. The other reason is that each customer experience is more-or-less personalized for the client, which means most things they’ll see for sale are tailored for them.As a result, the clients are willing to spend more money, which increases revenue. While the revenue increases, the costs decrease thanks to the automation and your ability to hire fewer people as a result.
  • Improved user satisfaction and reputationUser satisfaction is in itself an excellent thing, even if it didn’t bring more money with it. Obviously, it means you get to sell more, but it also improves your standing in your business niche. Your reputation doesn’t really need building if you’ve created an efficient and pleasant user experience.It will build itself passively thanks to the high degree of user satisfaction. Moreover, if you make a good first impression, it’ll also increase user retention and decrease lead turnover rates. In short, client satisfaction will further increase your sales because there’ll simply be more loyal users.
  • Increased marketing capabilitiesIn the olden days, you’d have to lead all the marketing efforts yourself. You still need to involve yourself in mail distribution, offer designs, and so forth. However, much of the job is done for you with these tools.For instance, by the time you start developing the marketing products, you’ll find that you already have several categories of the target audience. All you need to do is pick the group of people you want to receive the offer, actually finish the offer, and then see how it unravels.It also helps that these systems gather a lot of info about virtually everything the user does, and even more. Some meticulous tasks are actually carried out by the algorithm thanks to it. For instance, if the person buys a lot of products of the same kind, they’ll be given a lot of similar options, and you’ll only need to approve of this move.
  • Better cooperation within the businessAlthough communication between departments is more of a Collaborative CRM responsibility, cooperation within the business can also be achieved by integrating different OCRM solutions. If automated and non-automated parts work together more closely, they can produce much better results than if they worked separately.In the end, what it’ll bring you is a better workflow for many aspects of your business. In turn, this means better productivity, less time spent on mundane parts of the job, and more sales.

Should I get OCRM?

OCRM seems like a perfect addition to any business, but you should remember that these are applications that need acquiring first. You need to find a few proper solutions that suit your business first, then buy them (they are typically not free), and spend time installing and customizing them.

If you have a big business with many leads coming in every day, you’ll also need other types of CRM for proper results. If your business is small or doesn’t really sell anything, you might think against buying CRM in general. If you still need to automate your mechanisms, consider buying only OCRM without the Analytical and Collaborative parts.

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About author

Arseny Kudrin

Publicist, trader

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