“CRM technology is one of the most effective solutions to help companies who are serious about growing their business and giving their employees across all departments the tools they need to deliver an exceptional customer experience, which is key to any organisation’s success,” says 1Stream CEO Jed Hewson.
1Stream is Southern Africa’s leading CRM and cloud-based contact centre technology provider. It counts a wide range of industry innovators and leaders among its client base. As a proudly South African company, 1Stream has a deep understanding of the local market and is committed to delivering simple, relevant, and effective technology solutions to their customers.
“Not only do we implement these leading-edge solutions, we offer excellent service and hands-on technical expertise and local support at local rates so that our customers do not fall victim to exchange rate fluctuations,” says Hewson.
Here Jed Hewson and 1Stream co-founder Bruce von Maltitz share their industry expertise and insights gained over their 15 years in business together, and outline six ways CRM is positively impacting their South African clients’ businesses.
1. All customer information in one place
CRM enables businesses to put customer experience (CX) at the core of their business strategy by keeping all the information they need to deliver excellent customer service in one place. That means every interaction with customers, regardless of which channel they occurred on – e-mail, chat, phone calls, WhatsApp – is recorded in one place, allowing staff members across all departments to instantly access all customer information without the customer having to reintroduce and explain themselves. “This omnichannel communication solution allows for more streamlined and speedier resolution of issues, and shows customers that you value their business, thereby building customer loyalty,” says Von Maltitz.
2. Enabling anywhere, anytime access
The hybrid office is becoming more commonplace in South Africa with some team members working on site and others working from home, or a combination of the two. An effective CRM means all information can be accessed quickly and easily from any location, 24/7/365. “Digitisation means customers expect businesses to be always on and to be able to solve issues as and when they arise,” says Hewson. “Because all information is automatically stored safely and securely in one place, team members can instantly log in to access information regardless of where they are, or the time of day.”
3. Empowering sales and service teams and boosting sell-through rate
CRM removes the barriers to providing excellent customer service by allowing sales and service teams to work together as a single force. “Siloed information is one of the greatest barriers to success,” says Hewson. “When your teams – regardless of the department they are in – are able to see all previous points of contact with a customer, including past sales or logged issues, it helps them function as one, united entity.” This inspires customer confidence and empowers both teams to wow customers and spot opportunities for cross- and up-selling. “The result? Improved service quality, satisfied customers, greater customer loyalty, efficient and motivated sales and service teams, and most importantly, an uptick in your sales and bottom line,” explains Hewson. “The reason 1Stream CRM and our contact centre solutions have been so successful is because they have been designed with all of this in mind – to drive sales, boost service delivery, support marketing success and improve productivity.”
4. Timesaving and efficient use of resources
A CRM solution means multiple employees from different departments and in different locations can resolve customer issues without needing to call a meeting or speak. In addition to tracking inbound and outbound interactions, it provides SLAs for tickets, tasks and proposals, thereby improving efficiency and eradicating duplication of tasks.
5. Delivering relevant data insights
A CRM system means companies have the right tools and technologies in place to gather relevant data and give insights on service delivery. “Advanced reporting technology enables companies to merge data from multiple sources and provide a single view of contact centre and sales activity,” says Von Maltitz. “This enables the tracking of service and sales staff KPIs and gives companies the info they need to take proactive steps to improve the customer experience.”
6. Keeping customer data safe
CRM enables data security by safely storing all customer data in one place. “With the implementation in South Africa of Popia – the Protection of Personal Information Act – and the surge in cyber threats, companies need to prioritise compliance and know exactly whose information they have kept where,” says Hewson. Keeping customer information on a whole lot of systems within an organisation multiplies the opportunities for compliance failure and security breaches. “CRM allows all customer information to be stored on a single system safely and securely, protecting not only your customer, but also your organisation.”
For companies to succeed in today’s fiercely competitive business environment, they need to ensure they have a robust CX strategy in place, along with the right technology to allow them to deliver on that strategy. “Businesses that fail to take an agile approach to technology will be swiftly overtaken by competitors that realise the importance of digital transformation,” says Von Maltitz. “The positive results we see from our customers who have implemented our CRM and contact centre solutions underscore the fact that companies who are able to quickly adapt to these changes have happier employees and more loyal customers – and as a result, improved sales figures.”