How CRM Can Help You Better Communicate with Your Customers
Probably the number one mistake that companies make is that they think CRM is solely about their own efficiency. That’s well intentioned, but if this is indeed the only focus of their CRM, they’ve taken their eyes off the ball. Of course, the ball is the customer.
Consider the following tips to keep the focus right where it should be: customer attraction and retention.
(Quick: Which movie made Wilson famous?) Keep your eye on the ball!
Consistent and clearly defined in-house methods need to be established
Work hard to find your best practices to stay systematized, efficient, synchronized and automated. That’s a tough bill to fill! CRM software is a critical first step. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel; customer relationship management involves many facets, and the software breaks it all down, step by step.
What’s your goal?
If the goal is to keep the focus on both prospects and present customers, consider the following questions:
- What does the customer want?
- How can you cross sell and/or up-sell?
- What information can be gathered that will provide you with more insight into the customers’ needs?
- For each customer, which has proven to be the most efficient method of gathering this information? (Email? Phone chat? Face-to-face meetings? Meetings with different groups within the organization when you are on premises?
- Who are the stakeholders and key players within each account that you seek to acquire?
These questions should be revisited from time to time, and often that just doesn’t happen. Organizations sometimes collect all of the start-up data, but it’s important to press the pause button and revisit this information on a quarterly basis. The facts and insights change, and so do the people involved. Maintain excellent communication with your customers by regularly going right to the source and asking about these facets, and then post the results for all to see.
What Are the Results?
It’s crucial to keep everything centralized. All the key players in your organization need to have access to the same information so that the customers can easily observe that you’re all on the same page. When there is lack of visibility about what is happening with an account, that’s when truly embarrassing situations can occur. The last thing anyone wants is to come across in an unprofessional manner, but that’s exactly the result you’re going to get when all departments are not collaborating efficiently on each and every account.
Updating Is Imperative
Gather the Information all in one place, and require that each department regularly updates the data. Consider when this is most important:
- Every time there has been a customer contact
- Every time there has been a change in the customers’ service or product needs
- Every time accounting has handled a statement or receivable
- Every time a prospect, lead, or contact has been established
- Every time marketing materials have been shared
- Every time customer service has taken place
- Every time technical support has been involved
- Every time a post-sales report has been written, reviewed, or shared
That list is positively daunting if you’re relying only on in-house emails and chats. The data entry involved with these issues keeps confusion down and efficiencies high. Most importantly, it tacitly shares with each customer that there is a truly collaborative effort inside the company with whom they have decided to conduct business.
Look carefully! You want the right person making the goal! Keep all communications visible, and you’ll hit your target every time.
Perception Is Reality
Consider the reaction of your clients when they share that they’ve received a call or email from another department in your organization, but you don’t know about it. It’s embarrassing for you, but more importantly, it sends a message to your client that simply is not good.
It’s critically important that your company is known for being organized, efficient, and detail-oriented. If your organization proves to be the converse, the truth is that there is another company right around the corner that they could send their business to. To increase revenue, the goal is retention. Maintaining high levels of collaboration, professionalism, and organization has never been more important – or easier. Study the various CRM software choices, and go with one that will keep your eyes focused on the customer.
About the author:
Valerie J. Wilson is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about health and wellness, business, and marketing.
Photo Credit: Erik Renko
Photo Credit: pierodemarchis