Ensure Success – Up the Ante with Customer Relationship Management

Service organizations are now spending day and night. Striving to maintain superior quality of service with the effort of gaining loyalty from customers. Have you ever looked at your competitor’s service and wondered whether they are doing things better than you? Customer relationship management has appeared frequently in many books and articles. It is one of those phrases that you cannot escape from hearing in business today. People are putting more emphasis on the digitalization of the world. Some may attribute that Customer Relationship Management is a way of computerizing your business. Or a series of tools and techniques. Yes, customer relationship management has to do with new technologies nowadays. And the competitive edge has to be paid with sufficient investment of time and money. 

In its simplest form Customer relationship management is an attitude. And mindset, a value that you place on your business and its relationship with its customers. So, if you want to make sure you are doing better than the next player in the game. CRM might be the leverage point with which you can differentiate your business from the others.

Why does CRM help?

Remember the leaky bucket? It is a very common way to explain the role of CRM. Companies are way too busy trying to reach new customers. They should also put efforts into maintaining their current customer base. So, you end up putting customers in a leaky bucket rather than preventing them from leaking away from you. Competition is high in all markets. So, approaching a new prospect is more costly than retaining the customer one already has. Satisfied customers who frequently come back should receive more attention from you. From the new customer who just came and bought your services as a tryout. Still, we do not mean to discourage businesses from getting new customers. How else would a business be able to grow, right?

The reasons why customer relationship management is important

68% of customers change product or service providers because they feel they do not receive enough attention and care. Good management of customer relationship helps companies treat customers as individuals rather than groups. CRM can go deeper to analyze or to study customer behaviour with the best produced products and services. Assumptions, which are based on previous experiences and cultural factors, that one carries about customers will also become more explicit.

People say that at some point when the cost of retaining customers is higher than acquiring a new one, the leaky bucket actually works best. The author personally believes that all companies will be in such a situation at some point. The only way to recognize that moment is when the companies invest more in customer relationship management and a CRM system.

Benefits of using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system:

Is CRM system basically all about contact management? Well, actually CRM system can do more than that.

Customers want to use the products and services but they also want to be consulted more closely. In short, they want to receive more attention from a company. They trust as individuals rather than a grey mass. The interaction process between customers and the sale staff will create real relationships. Customer information stored smartly. The transaction process is recorded instead of rushing out taking note and then forgetting about it; the information on customer satisfaction, the productivity of a team or a specific employee is is updated in real-time. The fastest answers will help to gain the needed trust from the customers. CRM managers know and analyze each session each day. And also the work their employees are processing.

An image shows which customer relationship platform is the most popular

Very often, it confuses when you look up for CRM systems and have hundreds of choices. By Barry Schwartz: the more choices we have the less likely we are to be content with our decisions. Our aim is not to confuse you. So, only a few, but good, choices showed in the pie chart above. It is important to mention Hubspot’s CRM which is 100% free. It is extremely lightweight and really a good option. For small to midsize businesses that have never used a CRM before.

At the end of the day, there is no business if there are no customers. Loyalty is difficult to find these days. But if you manage to find and maintain a loyal customer you know you have struck gold. But keep in mind that customers are not clones of each other, each comes with different requirements for attention. So, like in so many situations, communication is key.

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Things you must know about consulting

You want value for your money. Whether we are talking about a new VR headset or a company using consultation, there are things you should know about consulting. Simple as that. A debate broke up in Finland in 2013 when the government used 700K+ for a research that delivered nothing but a hangover for the prime minister. Lack of call for tenders seemed to be the biggest creator of public bitterness. Public debate can easily turn into emotional wrestle but there is more to it really. It is important to see where the Euro is being put and why? They say the world is full of consultants but what are they all actually counselling about and for what reasons? You should bear in mind hiring a professional isn’t as expensive as an amateur. This wise quote has been well put out by the legendary oil well firefighter pioneer Red Adair.

Considering before the consulting

While consulting has become an industry and more people call themselves consultants, what is your own definition of a good consultant? While the vast majority of consulting projects seem to satisfy the executives, the recent report from Forbes Insight, “Perception Versus Reality: Are You Getting Enough Value from Your Consultants,” suggested different things. 75% of companies choose a company based on rate-based rather than value-based. The consequence after the recessions when companies keep the cutting-cost mindset. Edward Verlander’s book “The Practice of Professional Consulting” suggests that the pro is the one who can be trusted to use standard consulting methods and procedures, who gives advice and delivers solutions to issues on behalf of clients.

If you really want the value from your investment money, will you choose to work with multiple low-cost or a value-based service? It is only your life and/or company at stake here! On top of that, do not let consulting companies dazzle you with some meaningless presentations and bill you with superficiality work, by being aware of the things you should know about consulting.

Poor consulting is a waste of time. The fundamental thing is understanding the reason for bad consultation. The hardship of information and making the actual change. You are looking for a change to / or something when you hire a consultant or when you, as a prestigious and trusted consultant are trying to create rapid miracles. Time is of the essence so you might as well stop wasting time and concentrate on the things that are actually possible to change. High hopes, visions without a scientific background can look attractive on a paper but very seldom do those serve a cause. Nor does the fact that project managers and consultants hold different assumptions (mostly negative) about each other.

Harmonization of the relationship between consultant and manager

Corporate managers often believe that consultants are paid to tell the things they already know, ask awkward questions, and most importantly disappear after giving solutions for managers to implement. At the same time, project managers seem to be rigid and not willing to provide the consultation with enough insight.

Not all consultants are experts as they walk in with rudimentary knowledge. Not all experts make good consultants. The expectations of clients and consultants need to be clarified with harmonization. This causes communication between the two parties. Enabling consultants to have the best understanding of the client and thus design the best possible way to work with the client. Meanwhile, the clients can see how the consultants work and interact. This reveals a lot about consultants’ style and value.

The Change

HR Specialist Kalle Honkanen wrote with excellence about why the change can be an issue in companies. Using his own professional experience with the help of bestselling authors, brothers Heath opus “Switch”, a five-step model has been created. These steps can be crucial when a consultant sells their services. The main objectives: getting rid of the unclear change and finding the existing goods and duplicating them. Concrete actions mean something else than the banal advice of “live healthier”. What does that even mean? Things that work in a company must not be shadowed completely by the inefficient practices.

There you have it. The emphasis of a better change and what is more, with a good consultant who sees this, a real effort can be done. You probably now stopped to think about the other three steps but this article was about two things you should know about consulting. Fairness is a rare species of value nowadays since it does not fit into the concept of competition. Psychological aspects and adapting the intended program to the environment could be the remaining ones, though.

It always comes to the point where customer’s needs and values have to be evaluated. This considers companies trying to understand their segment but is also essential for modern consultants. Cost-effectiveness is not always the case. 30 elements of value is a pyramid model authors Almqvist, Senior and Boch published in a recent Harvard Business Review. Universal building blocks of value open the psychological understanding aspect and this can be crucial. Heavily related to the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the 30 elements consist of four bigger value areas: functional, emotional, life-changing and social impact. Using the model leads to cross-selling services and helps to grow revenue but also refine the actual product design.

You should remember that…

…activating the brain and talking about things face-to-face increase the risk of good consultation and change. Whether you are in the chambers of a call centre, outsourcing office or whatever business enterprise. “Visions and ideas” that were written into the research about Finland’s future mentioned earlier did not meet the expectations, one might say. That is, of course, easy to state afterwards. Could it also be that the questioners did not perhaps know how to ask the right questions in the first place? Going forward needs research, educated professionals, and fruitful conversations as well. Call a consultant, call a pro, learn about what things you should know about consulting.



Verlander, Edward G.. The Practice of Professional Consulting (1). Somerset, US: Pfeiffer, 2012. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 30 August 2016.

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