All businesses have a strategy. This strategy is often disjointed, undefined, and barely noticeable, but nonetheless, it’s there. At the other end of the spectrum, the most successful and profitable businesses have a strategy that’s structured, clearly defined, and reliable.

Part of any good business strategy involves customer engagement. Current business lexicon includes the term Customer Relationship Management, or CRM. This philosophy is meant to keep businesses focused on building and maintaining a strong relationship with customers through an integrated communication system.


VoIP Phones: A Must Have for Streamlined Customer Engagement

The only way to establish fully-integrated communications is through a Voice over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, phone system. Essentially, VOIP allows for voice communication and multimedia sessions over the internet instead of through a public switched telephone network. It’s similar to traditional digital telephony, but has some significant differences that make it indispensable in today’s marketplace.

Weave’s phone system is a VOIP phone system. It simplifies business communication to ensure customer relationship management is optimized. Before we discuss how a VOIP phone system optimizes customer engagement strategies, let’s take a closer look at the concept of Customer Relationship Management.


What Is Customer Relationship Management?

CRM is an approach to managing interactions with current and potential customers. An important aspect of managing these interactions Is collecting and analyzing data to improve customer retention and drive growth. Normally, this data-centric approach requires compiling information from a range of different channels, including websites, phones, email, live chats, and social media.

In order to simplify the process of collecting and analyzing data, specific software has been developed to unify communications into one system. These unified communications allow businesses to learn much more about their current clientele’s needs as well as their target audience’s wants. They also make communicating across various channels incredibly simple.


Where does CRM software come from?

In the early 1970s, market researchers began to gage and analyze customer satisfaction by orchestrating annual surveys and front-line asking. Database marketing was developed in 1982 by applying statistical methods to analyze the customer data gathered through techniques such as surveys.

The first fully functional CRM software came out in 1993 and was known as Siebel Systems. CRM software started to flourish and become popular by the late 1990s when businesses began noticing its positive influence on marketing capabilities. Over the last decade, customer relationship management has seen businesses incorporate social media solutions into their engagement strategy.


What are the goals of CRM software?

CRM software is designed to integrate and automate sales, marketing, and customer support. It should give an overall view of these three functions from one single customer view. Information such as a client profile, past sales, and other personal details are normally included in this view.

CRM software also automates and simplifies communication with clients by scheduling customized appointment reminders, appointment confirmations, and bill pay. In addition to this automation, it collects data to allow business managers to make informed decisions about company policy and strategy. This analysis can include techniques such as data mining, correlation, and pattern recognition.

Along with integration, automation, and analysis, CRM software enables collaboration between different departments. In a medical, dental, or optometry practice, this software keeps office staff and practitioners on the same page, even when employees are at home or otherwise away from the practice. If a professional needs to view information about a specific individual, data is assembled and easily accessed in one database.


What else does a good CRM system include?

A good customer relationship management system tracks and measures marketing efforts over multiple platforms, recording data such as clicks and sales. This software should be viewed as a service that’s delivered via the internet.

Another important aspect of any modern CRM software is a contact manager system that integrates emails, documents, jobs, faxes, scheduling, and other forms of communication. In specific markets like the healthcare industry, event management (appointments) and relationship tracking are key components of a customer engagement strategy. Balancing customer preference and customer leverage helps businesses engage customers through individual, interactive relationships.

The bottom line is that CRM software eliminates inefficiencies, automates business processes, and integrates myriad communications to support businesses in creating a more customer-centric approach that yields greater productivity.


How does a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone system simplify communication?

  1. VOIP phone systems connect customers to the right person.

Frequently, customers call a business or practice and end up waiting for thirty minutes or even an hour to talk to the person that can best assist them. Traditional telephone systems also cause customers to get caught in endless loops when secretaries try to transfer their call to the correct professional. This inefficient process creates anxious and dissatisfied customers instead of helping them find the person who can resolve their concerns.

A VOIP phone system streamlines phone calls by using technology like interactive voice response (IVR) and automated attendants. IVR allows a computer to interact with the human voice by taking input, processing it, and returning a result, while automated attendants simply route calls. These technologies get the customer to the right person in your office as quickly as possible and also free up your office staff to focus on other important tasks instead of wiring calls.

  1. VOIP phone systems personalize customer service.

With conventional phone systems, there’s no connection between customers and their personal information. Once they start talking with a customer, office staff have to scramble through computer and paper files to look up information regarding the customer. Customers often have to wait on the line for the secretary or doctor to find their personal information.

VOIP phone systems give users access to customer information as soon as the phone rings. In the healthcare industry, many practices now utilize electronic health records (EHR’s) to keep track of patient history. VOIP phone systems connect staff and practitioners to these electronic health records, making their interactions with patients more personable and informative.

  1. VOIP phone systems organize customer information.

All phone calls are the same with traditional telephony. When a customer calls, the most you know about that person is a name. There’s no way of knowing other vital facts, like specific preferences, requirements, and demands the customer might have.

Not only do VOIP phone systems bring up personal information, but they also categorize and group customers according to their needs. Practices can organize customers by their preferred practitioner, their particular medical requirements, their payment preferences, and other special demands. Upon receiving a call, office staff and doctors can almost immediately understand what type of patient they’re dealing with and how to best serve them.

  1. VOIP phone systems customize communication through texting.

Much of the communication that goes on in today’s world happens via text (the majority, in fact). Traditional phone systems aren’t designed to handle the demands of 21st century communication. When customers ask that businesses communicate through texting instead of regular phone calls, businesses struggle to meet this demand if they don’t have a VOIP phone system.

VOIP phones integrate both calling and texting. Customers can receive appointment confirmations, appointment reminders, and other information by text, leaving them happier with your practice. These texts can even be personalized to further strengthen your practice’s relationship with each customer.

  1. VOIP phone systems integrate multiple modes of communication.

Texting and calling aren’t the only modes of communication that businesses use in today’s marketplace. It’s also imperative that they email regularly, provide live chats on their website, and establish a social media presence. With plain old telephone service, these disparate communications seem totally unrelated and unconnected.

VOIP phone systems unify calling, texting, emailing, online chatting, and social media use. This interconnectedness allows doctors to respond to calls through email and office staff to look at past texts while talking to a patient over the phone. Even online messages and social media posts can be accessed and managed through a VOIP phone system, making a business’s communications truly unified.

  1. VOIP phone systems improve data analysis.

Traditional phone systems don’t do much data analysis. The most they usually do is keep a call log, and even that record has its limits. This lack of data storage prevents businesses from doing the analytical work that’s necessary in our data-driven society.

VOIP phone systems drastically alter the way practices do business by giving them the tools to store all their different communication records and then analyze them to improve their overall business strategy. Business owners can listen to calls, check old texts, and survey online activities to find ways to enhance customer service and cut out efficiencies. This ability to analyze data helps businesses see where they can simplify their communication with customers, leading to greater productivity and bigger profits.

How can you simplify your business’s communications?

Customer engagement strategies should always seek to simplify communications. This philosophy is at the heart of the customer relationship management software that’s gradually developed over the last fifty years. Weave’s VOIP phone system makes this simplification of your business’s communication possible.

Weave’s system simplifies communication by getting your patients connected with the right healthcare professional and by giving that professional immediate access to patients’ electronic medical records. It also organizes patients according to personal preferences, requirements, and demands. It allows patients and practices to communicate by phone, text, email, and many other options. Finally, it gives businesses the ability to store and analyze data, which shows businesses how to further simplify their communication.