Businesses can boost their existing customer relationship management (CRM) with little or no extra spending by running customer communities.
Gartner has identified five CRM strategies that companies can undertake now that cost very little or nothing.
Gartner analysts believe that lessons learned from previous downturns indicate that 40% of companies will use the economic slump as an opportunity to generate post-recovery growth by using CRM more effectively.
Gartner urged businesses to create online communities of customers via emerging social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and similar websites. The economic downturn provides a great opportunity to begin experimenting in this area, said Gartner.
The analyst firm suggested businesses make use of the analytic tools they have already purchased. Once bought and installed, analytic tools can be put to good use during economic downturns. It said businesses can use analytic tools to study customer attrition and determine channel usage patterns.
"Just because times are tough and budgets are being cut, companies should not think that means no CRM investment," said Scott Nelson, managing vice-president at Gartner.
"Companies need to think in terms of spending smarter, not spending less. There are zero, or low-cost strategies that can be implemented now that can make all the difference, generate competitive differentiation and not draw the attention of the CFO," he said.
Other areas of improvement include studying customer processes and assessing organisational changes with a view to redesigning them to improve customer relationships.
|Five ways to reap more benefits from your existing CRM implementation|
1. Use social networking sites such as facebook and Twitter to develop online customer communities
2. Start using the CRM analytic tools you have to determine customer trends
3. Review the segmentation of your customers to see if it really works
4. Study customer processes with a view to redesigning them to create a win/win situation for both the company and the customer
5. Move from a product-centric to a customer-centric view