Using Groups for Contact Classification

Customer Service

To get into the details of how CRM tools enable better communications for businesses, it helps to go back and look at the specific ways that information technology has evolved over the last few decades. Today’s generation of users is in a unique position to see how online and digital worlds have been innovated at a tremendous rate, with ever smaller processors, better storage technology, faster networks, and many other applications of cutting-edge technology that piggybacked on some of the basic advances of the (very late) twentieth century, where the small portable device replaced the bulky supercomputer, and wireless networks offered improvement in leaps and bounds over primitive data systems like dial-up Internet that worked over traditional landline fiberoptic cables.

Contacts to Groups

Leaving aside all of the other great ways that technology has advanced since the 1980s, there is the idea of using technology to create better connections between people. Again, the first of these systems were primitive and simplistic – for those who remember the lowly 1400 baud modem and the days of DOS-based, unicolor linear text interfaces, today’s flashy videoconferencing and IM tools look like the technology of the Gods. But as the aesthetic and functionality of interfaces changed, so did the ways that users organized their IT-enabled connections, as the computer replaced the rolodex.

Simply put, new hosted e-mail and other solutions offered automated lists of ‘contacts,’ putting everyone’s phone number and other personal identifiers into handy lists. Today you have contact handling on everything from mobile phones to the simplest inboxes, with features like automatic pop-ups to make life easier, whether penning an e-mail or hopping on IM.

Groups: Smart Contact Management

The use of groups is one step beyond the use of a simple linear contact list. In recent years, we’ve seen the addition of these kinds of organizational tools in the newest resources for Enterprise communications, as well as in social media. For instance, Google’s new Google+ offering provides a good example of the ability to compartmentalize contacts into “friends,” “acquaintances,” “colleagues,” etc.

Groups in CRM

New customer relationship management or CRM tools should also offer this kind of diversified contact and messaging resource. The best CRM interfaces not only allow for this kind of tagging, but also build unique fields into each different kind of contact. For example, since a business user wants to know different things about a customer or client versus a supplier or someone at the workstation next to them, capable CRM will involve specific features that only come up on customer contacts, such as additional fields for purchase history, preferred payments, etc. this kind of innovation is restricted to customers, either: businesses can also use ‘Supplier’ or other group labels and templates to tighten up a supply chain and keep a better eye on items like materials sourcing and inventory.

Look for these advanced tools and CRM systems that will bring a business solidly into the new age of agile VoIP and data/voice support.

Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer covering technology and business solutions at Techopedia, Business Finance Store and Ringio, focusing on emerging trends in IT services.

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