For your business to succeed, you need customers and managing them properly is vital if a business is to thrive. This is the reason CRM or customer relationship management is so important as it covers all aspects of interaction that a company has with its customer, whether it is sales or service-related.
Here are 15 tips for effective CRM:
The mistake many small businesses make is that they try to find a CRM application that does too much. Take the time to find out what your internal needs really are and who will use the CRM daily. Once you have that, then you are better placed to improve your client relationships and build loyalty.
Make customer communications timely and relevant. Don’t spam existing customers, but also be careful not to contact them too infrequently. Targeting tailored messages at customers according to what they are interested in, via their preferred medium, is the best way to build relationship.
Take an active interest in your customer’s business and move from doing what’s expected of you, to getting more involved in your customer’s world. Where you aspire to building a long-term relationship with a specific customer, make efforts to understand their business objectives and company ethos so you can become more than just a supplier.
Don’t try to move too fast, too soon. Building a relationship is a long-term investment and it takes time to develop trust. Don’t expect your customers to instantly trust that you will be able to deliver on your promises, or expect them to want your advice and input for their business.
You cannot assume that you know what a customer's expectations are as they will vary by individual and will change over time. Be sure to ask your customers what is important to them and find out why your customers do business with you so you can ensure you are meeting their needs.
Customers hold on to your promises to them and promising something you can’t deliver is sure to disappoint. What’s more, they might even spread the news, seriously damaging your business integrity.
Actively seek customer feedback, whether by asking directly, or using social media (websites, forums, blogs and other networking sites).
Being aware of, and dealing quickly with complaints, is essential for improving quality and increasing customer loyalty.
Acting consistently develops trust and is crucial when access to digital and social channels means prospective customers can easily view the experiences of existing customers.
Technology makes remote working highly effective, but communicating with your customers face to face when possible will enable them to see directly how you work and get to know you personally. It may also help you find more potential customers through their circle.
People value authenticity and if you are serious about a long-term business relationship with your customers, you must be upfront and honest. Customers will often understand that things don’t always go as planned and will have a certain level of tolerance so long as you are upfront with them.
Leverage what you know about your customers to offer advice and recommendations on additional products and services that may be of help either now or in the future.
Identify customers that have been loyal to your business and reward them for their continued support. Give them unique offers, let them know about new products and services first and invite them to special events. In turn, satisfied customers who perceive a high value in your products and services make excellent advocates for your business.
Always remember that your business exists only for your customers and because of your customers. Providing over the top and truly amazing customer support will keep them coming back for more.
Say ‘thank you’ to your customers in multiple ways, via email, social media, phone, formal receipt and handwritten note. The latter is crucial; in a world of electronic communication, everyone still loves to receive a hand-written thank you note!
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