Managing business relationships of any kind takes work. This is even more true when it comes to your internal customer base, which requires deliberate planning and an approach that is organized and efficient. For example, your Information Technology (IT) department provides services to your employees, making them important internal customers. Without IT support, they can’t do their jobs.

Depending on the size of your company, it may be difficult for IT to track support tickets, and keep things running smoothly. They need a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Adding the right CRM to your IT services will help you address each of your business’ unique challenges and characteristics, starting with some of your most important customers, who reside on the inside of it all.

Your Employees: A Neglected Market

Employees, or internal customers, are the lifeblood of a business. While it varies by field, product or service, internal customers are generally parties with whom your company exchanges services (think colleagues, employees and vendors). Without these parties, your business couldn’t serve its external customers and, therefore, wouldn’t be operational. They do important work for you, and it’s imperative any problems, issues, inaccuracies or glitches standing in the way of completing that work be identified and solved before workflow is interrupted.

This is where CRM comes in. You’ll find it to be an absolute necessity to the clean running of your IT department—and your business as a whole.

An Informed Employee Is An Efficient Employee

Your business has many moving parts. In order to best serve your external customers, the people on the inside of your business need to be armed with all the most accurate, up-to-date information they can get. Few things are more frustrating for a customer service representative than to call a customer by the wrong name, ask the same question the sales representative just asked yesterday, or receive a complaint for sending correspondence via mail when the customer has specifically specified e-mail. These things happen when a business not only fails to keep the information in their system current, but also neglects to share accurate or updated information with anyone outside of the IT department. Frustrated employees may soon become former employees; helping them to do their work efficiently is extremely important, or it could cost you.

Customization and Ease of Use Are Key

Your business, customers and needs are unique, so your approach to managing internal customer relationships should be, too. Now, while I don’t know many who’d balk at the idea of a one-stop-shop solution to all their CRM and contact management needs, it’s still important to understand what goes into successfully managing your company’s information and how a customized, well-structured CRM can help you do so. Are there often breaks in communication between the enrollment team and customer service? Are you still developing processes and want to be able to add fields whenever and wherever you like? Take characteristics like these into account when deciding what features would suit your company best.

The CRM you choose must also be easy for people in all areas of your business to understand and navigate. Terms and abbreviations that make sense in the tech world may mean something completely different to the marketing team. Way back when, CRM consisted of a Rolodex filing system and folders in a file cabinet, and internal communication meant writing a memo summoning everyone to the boardroom if a problem came to a head. Things have since become much more complex, and constant technological advances often create challenges and threats to productivity as well as boosts to efficiency. It’s important your CRM doesn’t confuse its users or have an impossibly steep learning curve, or you’ll be back at square one.

Integration, Integration, Integration

Take inventory of systems and processes your business already has in place and try to find a way for them to communicate with one another. Does your business use Outlook or Google Mail? Do you prefer everyone work off individual desktops, or in the Cloud? Is project management a main concern, or is the successful uploading of large files what makes your business tick? Does everyone in your business work remotely (possibly making management of internal contacts, roles and tasks a necessary feature) or can you simply pop into your coworker’s office to ask for a status update? Integration is important for information sharing and will limit the number of programs you’ll have to learn, maintain, and support.

Simplify (Don’t Complicate) Your Processes

Technology is a blessing but it can quickly become a curse if it’s adding to—or creating—the confusion. If your IT team receives a lot of help desk requests for things that can be easily solved or prevented, or gets complaints about help tickets never being attended to, it may be time to update your process. Try looking for a CRM that allows you to task teams or individuals, send mass emails, set deadlines and reminders, or even grant and revoke certain permissions for when it’s time to go in and investigate an issue.

Every business is one-of-a-kind and its employees, processes, and specific needs follow suit. A customized CRM that is integrated with the things that really matter to you and make your business run will do wonders for your productivity, information sharing, accuracy, and peace of mind.

What’s most important to you when it comes to information management?