Whether your franchises expand or your business branches out to new locations, multi-location business management can present unique challenges. From internal communication between locations to data analytics and profitability analyses, organizational woes abound. So, why should you let such concerns overwhelm you when technological advancements can offer solutions? MoversTech has analyzed the benefits of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software manifold, as regular readers are likely well aware. Businesses small and large alike can benefit from CRM, and the same is true for multi-location businesses of any size. Thus, let us devote this article to exploring how CRM helps your multi-location business overcome such challenges.
The challenge of running a multi-location business
Many business owners can surely attest to the hardships of running a single-location business. Investopedia notes the challenges of small businesses all too accurately; client and founder dependence, financial management, fatigue, and maintained quality during growth. Larger businesses may come to escape from some such pitfalls, only to encounter new ones. And of course, the process of opening up new locations for businesses small or large usually comes with its very own.
Organizational problems tend to arise during expansion; when data becomes too much to efficiently manage, the margin of human error expands. As such, internal teams need to cooperate closely and maintain a watchful eye over existing customers, potential leads and their profitability, and communication channels. This is usually when businesses start to acknowledge the merits of migrating from spreadsheets to a CRM, as data management becomes a more notable challenge. Naturally, multi-location businesses face the brunt of this challenge, as operations expand to multiple physical locations. As such, on top of the aforementioned, they come to need to:
- Consolidate customer data among different locations
- Maintain each location’s data separate for individual management
- Asses lead management and perform profitability analysis for each location
- Consolidate customer input and communication channels
- Enhance the collaboration of teams across different locations
This list is by no means exhaustive either; having multiple physical locations magnifies the regular organizational and management challenges manifold. By the same token, however, since CRM can tackle such challenges by design, it can address such growing needs just as efficiently. With this in mind, then, let us proceed to explore just how CRM helps your multi-location business thrive.
The benefits of CRM for multi-location businesses
CRM’s usual benefits to data consolidation, customer retention, lead generation, and other fronts can help any business, regardless of size or physical location. However, specialized CRM can help your multi-location business thrive by directly addressing such needs as the above.
#1: Data consolidation and separation for a multi-location business
The fundamental function of even the most basic CRM solutions is to provide a consolidated database. This centralized database contains all available customer information, from contact information and interaction history to purchase habits and lead value. Thus, all relevant employees and agents can have direct access to valuable customer data whenever they need to. In turn, that data can enhance their customer support, marketing strategies, and overall efficiency.
Multi-location businesses come with a distinct challenge on this front, however; they need to both consolidate data and keep in separate for different locations. CRM can account for both of those needs, the former simply by providing a database and the latter by compartmentalizing it. In doing so, it can allow for separate, hierarchical, segmented databases for each individual location or division.
#2: Lead management and profitability analysis for multi-location businesses
Multiple physical locations entail another challenge, in that each location faces unique local circumstances. This is particularly true for smaller businesses, which need to swiftly account for local markets; what works for a primary location may underperform for another. CRM helps your multi-location business tackle this challenge by design since it offers lead management functionalities.
Since one can compartmentalize each location’s data, as covered above, one can efficiently respond to local factors. From re-evaluating which products or services perform best to optimizing marketing strategies for each location, segmented CRM databases can deliver. Thus, marketing and sales teams can adjust their strategies accordingly, customer support agents can refine their operations, and supervisors and managers can maintain a cohesive company-wide view of performance.
#3: Customer input and communication channel consolidation for multi-location businesses
Another common challenge of multi-location businesses is the massive volume of incoming customer feedback and inquiries across multiple communication channels. Managing multiple websites, social media profiles, emails, or Google My Business (GMB) profiles for each location requires sizeable effort and time. Furthermore, multiple platforms for customer input can only exacerbate such challenges, presenting the risk of reduced customer interaction quality. Fortunately, CRM helps your multi-location business by consolidating all communication channels and thus allowing you to manage them more efficiently.
Collaborative CRM specializes in this front, but many CRM solutions offer such functionalities as well. By consolidating and streamlining customer input, CRM can enhance the quality of your customer interactions, in turn enhancing engagement and conversion rates. Furthermore, some operational CRM solutions can trigger specific automated processes in response to input from any location, enhancing operational consistency. Lastly, swift access to information such as recurring requests or complaints can help you meet each location’s needs more efficiently.
#4: Enhanced internal collaboration across different locations
Lastly, on the front of internal collaboration, multiple physical locations naturally entail physical distance. As such, collaboration among teams across different locations may suffer, since they don’t occupy the same offices or premises. Furthermore, each location or division may not have equal access to the same information at all times, increasing the risk of error. However, CRM can address this concern as well, since it provides internal collaboration functionalities.
As CRM offers a centralized database for each customer’s touchpoints and interactions, different locations can synchronously share key customer information. Furthermore, as the name would suggest, collaborative CRM can offer tremendous additional assistance on the front of internal collaboration through a centralized communication platform. For example, through it, your customer support agents can more swiftly redirect requests to the appropriate employees. Conversely, operational automation can automatically alert relevant agents to incoming queries, reducing the risk of delayed responses due to poor internal communication.
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