Why Knowledge Management is a Critical Part of Modern CRM

Accumulated facts constitute information; this information brings intelligence; and further this intelligence leads to ‘knowledge’. It is not limited to sources. If we look around, we will find ample resources to extract knowledge from.

What knowledge can do for any organization?
  • Sharing knowledge improves gradual working probability 
  • It also attracts innovation 
  • Innovations can be adapted to the changing market trends 
  • Creation of new smart products 
  • Improved service and quality
Knowledge Management makes use of several strategic practices to ensure that the available knowledge is absorbed optimally. The thrust in Knowledge Management is laid on gathering the useful knowledge, categorizing it for immediate notice, restoring it for future references so that it can be used for other novel advancements.

Knowledge Cycle

Organizations implement Knowledge Management system to disseminate best of the knowledge among its employees. The understanding thus gained by the employees leads to the enhanced performance of the organization. If the knowledge is utilized effectively it can yield manifold profits. There is no double thought in admitting that knowledge is one of the pillars of success. Knowledge Management is just like giving meaning to the available information in the strategy-driven manner so as to fetch profits. The workers (with knowledge) interpret, implement and enhance their knowledge for the betterment of the organization.

The decisions or the actions that we take are directly proportional to the knowledge that we imbibe. Thus, it becomes immensely important that we are adequately knowledgeable. In the today’s world of cut-throat professional competition, utmost care is taken while hiring new employees. This is to make sure that the best of intellectual minds enter the organization to share their polished knowledge for its betterment. Further, a few organizations also lay on shoulders the responsibility to train the employees in a manner beneficial to them. Here again Knowledge Management comes into play.

Knowledge Management and CRM
While Knowledge Management system caters to essentially in-house activities of enlightening the sales generating or marketing faction, Customer Relationship Management or CRM revolves around both – the customers and the organization. The chief requisite of CRM strategy is to govern the interaction of the organization with its valuable assets – customers. CRM can be classified as an IT enabled business strategy to retain the valuable clientele of any organization.

With the ongoing competition in the market which may instigate decrease in customer loyalty, it is essential to introduce concepts which lay thrust on fostering company-customer relationships. To accomplish this, CRM comes to the forefront. CRM is the customer-centric (long-term) business strategy which is off-lately being followed based on the knowledge. CRM solution is all about managing the knowledge of the customers in order to serve them better in the nearing future. Thus, it is understood that ‘knowledge’ is an integral part of a successful CRM system.

Both KM and CRM solutions key functions boil down to dealing out resources in order to generate competitive benefits. While KM finds the knowledge engrossed within the company as a major factor to its success, CRM lays thrust on managing good relations between the company and its customers. No wonder, together KM and CRM work to bring in positive changes for the company.

It is important to include the variables of the organization such as – the structure of organization, human resource management and resource allocation to measure the success of CRM system. In order to implement CRM solution, the redesigning of its basic structure, business process, etc is required because CRM strategy has to develop right synergy within the organizational structure.

Knowledge is considered as the fundamental process to learn all about the organization, its ability and processes which are further on required by CRM system to base its strategies on. Therefore, an effective CRM is also the outcome of the effective Knowledge Management tactic.

Benefits of CRM and Knowledge Management
Customer is a valuable asset to any organization. Thus, attracting more and more customers becomes the priority of the organization. With the help of superior knowledge, companies try to gain a good customer base. The knowledge about customer, the current market position, ongoing business trends, etc information is helpful in fetching customers. With sufficient knowledge, the organization can apply best of its methodologies to attract customers, and understand their requirements so as to fulfill them.  

Studies suggest that both KM and CRM are effective in their approach of developing and retaining stronger relationships of the customers with the organization; and no one can be identified as the sole determinant of the organization’s success, as both have their own shares of pros and cons. Thus, here intervenes the question that which one of these two is sufficient and workable alone?

The reason CRM is also the chief point of contact is that it ensures a balance between expenditures being made by an organization and profits generated by satisfied chain of customers. CRM majorly portrays the responsibility of –
  • Exploring inputs and outputs of the organization (esp. funds invested, and revenue generated) keeping in view all its basic functions. 
  • Acquiring knowledge about the customers (esp. understanding their expectations, and behavioral pattern over the lifetime). 
  • Implementation of enhanced plans and procedures with experiences. 
  • Maintaining flexibility in order to match-up with the changing market trends, customer’s needs to make profits unwavering.
To accomplish the above mentioned responsibilities, CRM seeks knowledge of different types.

  • Knowledge about customers - Understanding customers’ needs, expectations and buying acts to become able to cater to them effectively.
  • Knowledge for customers – Gathering information of use to the customers to instigate their purchasing activities. For example information about products of importance to the customers.
  • Knowledge from customers – Extracting information from the customers about products, services or suppliers can be useful for future improvements.
Though gathering such vast information sounds easy, but it’s one of the biggest challenges of CRM. Knowledge is generated, disseminated and utilized resource fully within CRM processes. This knowledge, as learnt earlier, is purposeful for effective implication of CRM strategies, but it is mandatory that it fulfills the essential prerequisites for its relevant usage.
  • The knowledge should be significant from business point of view.
  • It must be manageable and measurable.
  • It must have consistent structure which should not interrupt the pre-adopted style, or characteristics of the organization.
On the whole, Knowledge Management system completes the cycle of CRM business processes. Knowledge Management and Customer Relationship Management are used in conjunction. KM offers the raw data, resource, or potential information which enables CRM solution to broaden its area and encompass several elements which are purposeful in generating profits. Thus, it would not be unjustified to suggest that Knowledge Management is an integral part of CRM process, and it has a direct role to play in its varied approaches of serving the customers.