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IVR: The Benefits of Customer Relationship Management Software
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IVR: The Benefits of Customer Relationship Management Software

April 23, 2012

  By Amanda Ciccatelli, TMCnet Web Editor

Customer relationship management software such as IVR has evolved over the years, especially in terms of easier remote access with smartphones, tablets and laptops, and cloud computing. spoke with industry experts about what's new in CRM and how businesses of all sizes can increase sales and improve customer service using CRM software.

“Today's CRM systems, such as Microsoft (News - Alert) Dynamics CRM, offer a high degree of customization to track and manage all types of relationships that businesses enter into, from client contracts to vendor management,” said Mike Snyder, principal of Sonoma Partners (News - Alert), a Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner.

Companies can now use CRM tools to track social interactions with customers and address them using Facebook, Twitter (News - Alert), or LinkedIn. These days, CRM systems also enable mobile access to data using different kinds of devices including Android smartphones, the iPhone, iPad, or BlackBerry (News - Alert).

Barry Givens, director of product management for CRM at technology consulting firm Avanade shared his views on the benefits of CRM systems. He pointed out that business processes are more complex than they've ever been making CRM solutions essential to managing the collaboration necessary to sell, deliver service, and market to customers.

"Many first and second generation CRM systems were built to capture information about work after it had been done, and managers were the only people in the organization who gained any benefit from the data, if it was captured at all," Givens said.

David Toliver, director of corporate marketing for Angel, a provider of on-demand customer-engagement solutions, explained that consolidation of data is one of the biggest problems facing businesses today. It’s one of the most important problems to solve in order for companies to be able to provide great customer service across multiple channels. He explained that CRM systems can drastically improve the way businesses are collecting, storing, and analyzing customer data.

Historically, businesses collected data in silos and there was no effective strategy to access that data from multiple points. There also were no solid reporting capabilities that could translate into actionable items to help businesses improve their sales and service.

"Consolidating customer data, whether it be contact information, buying behavior, customer support history, or even something such as flagging a customer as a VIP, allows businesses to provide a higher level of customer service," Toliver added. "A cloud-based approach to CRM makes the implementation and management of the system faster and easier.”

 In addition, the cloud approach makes it easier to integrate CRM systems with related technologies such as IVR [interactive voice response] and other contact center solutions, like live chat and Web systems. Companies can boost their sales and improve customer satisfaction by implementing CRM systems that facilitate a multi-channel approach to customer service.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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