CRM v/s Spreadsheets: More complexity doesn't mean more profitability

"Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers." - Wiki definition. Most of us know what exactly a CRM is. Then why did I repeat it? To emphasize on the word in bold - customers.

As a Travel Business stakeholder, your primary concern is having a universal set of happy & satisfied customers and multiplying that set manifolds over a short period of time. A good CRM system is the first step in that direction.

When?
For Travel businesses, it is a very pertinent question - "When does a company need a CRM"? Very often the question is on the validity of the following hierarchy-
  1. Leads 
  2. Customers and 
  3. CRM System
Which of these should come first? Traditional wisdom would suggest the sequence as outlined above but, traditional businesses are finding it hard to grow fast these days. It is becoming increasingly tough when faced with competition from multiple sales channels. 

For any organisation, a CRM system should always come first. Any lead that you miss without a CRM, is more than just a single customer that you missed; It translates into a habit and results in un-recorded losses. 

Complexity doesn't mean profitability


Why?
Often when business stakeholders say "Spreadsheets are good enough for us", they fail to account for this -
Spreadsheets are fine only till your business has reached a certain threshold.
When a Travel Business is being setup and has just started to grow, it is the perfect time to try out multiple CRM alternatives. When the business volumes start going up, it becomes increasingly difficult to change your business processes. Your commitment to client engagement starts from day one. 

If you have relied on spreadsheets till now, it's time you start measuring -
  • Number of leads generated per month
  • Paying Clients/Leads ratio
  • Growth of leads month-on-month
The numbers don't lie. If the numbers are stable and growth hard to come by, then you have missed out on converting more leads into paying customers. Spreadsheets have cost you dearly.

How?
Cost is a very important consideration for growing Travel Businesses. Thankfully, technology has grown faster and is now more affordable. Gone are the days of complex software installations and associated high maintenance costs. With cloud technology, we now have software being offered as a Service (SaaS model). For starters, the software is hosted on the cloud and all you need as a buyer is internet connectivity. What is in it for your business?
  • Plug & Play - zero installation time
  • Lower setup & maintenance costs
  • Automatic updates

Bottom Line
"Spreadsheets are not tools for client engagement". Depending solely on spreadsheets does more harm than any good over a period of time. Travel Businesses should look at CRMs as an important investment in client engagement.

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