If customers are the most important aspect of a business, then Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the most important aspect of business management! Constantly monitoring and managing interactions with current and future customers is a key business growth factor. With users now more “aware,” and competitors doing everything they can to steal away your customers, CRM is a necessity, not an option.
And don’t think that this is just some passing fad as a 2013 customer relationship management forecast, released by Gartner, has revealed that the CRM market is currently worth $27.5 billion worldwide, and could potentially worth up to $36 billion, by 2017. This means that almost everyone is already hoping onto a more customer centric business model, and so should you.
CRM is essential for:
- Maintaining customer relationships
- Extracting more customer lifetime value
- Generating swift response (and hence shorter payback periods) for new launches
- Gauging customer response to new products, websites, marketing campaigns
In the humble words of technologist Steve Jobs himself “customers don't know what they want until they see it”, which means that you don’t have to get into the psyche of a customer to know what he wants, but give him something that will appeal to him enough for him to want it. And using these smart CRM tactics, you can deliver just that:
Develop a Strategy
Just as anything else in business, effective CRM requires a rock-sold strategy to work with. A CRM developer need to know exactly what a company’s back ground history is, from a brand perspective. He needs to have a clear idea of the company’s goals, vision, and capabilities, without which it will be impossible to effectively attract or retain a customer. And knowing that no single strategy will work for all business, you’re going to have to implement a strategy that works best for you, social business initiatives being one of them. Whatever it is, your strategy should be based around a goal, either of boosting sales or increasing brand awareness.
Identify & Engage Loyal Customer
In the world of marketing, Influencers are the people with a large fan base, or who buy in bulk. And you can get your social media marketer in the form of either a celebrity who endorses your product, or that average Joe, representing the bulk of the market, who just can’t get enough of your products and services. Either way, brand advocates are going to be those customers who talk about your company and product and promote it on social media. You need to identify such key clients and give them special attention. Works every time!
Using Feedback to Improve User Experience
Everybody wants feedback, or rather everyone needs feedback. You can take early user feedback, both positive and negative, and use it your advantage by either building up on your best features, or by ironing out the negatives. Either way, you’ll add more value to your business, thereby increasing its reputation in the market. It is also important to remember that reacting positively to negative feedback by an irate customer can quickly turn them into your most loyal fan.
No matter what your sales team has told your clients, or whatever happens with your CRM, when it comes to CRM, honesty is truly the best policy. An honest business run by an honest businessman automatically becomes more appealing to customers as they can do business with confidence. And no matter how smoothly you run your ship, there will be hiccups. And its times like this where a business’s ability to accept responsibility for and set things can make it seem like a business worthy of your clients’ time. Honesty is a huge tactical advantage for small businesses, and capitalizing on that fact will significantly increase customer loyalty.
Word of Mouth Conversations
If you make a customer happy, they will tell others how happy you have made them, and the opposite happens if you tick them off. So, put aside your fancy CRM software, your MBA marketers with suits, and just make use of your or your teams “gift of the gab.” When it boils down to what to do, what to buy and where to buy it from, nothing gets loyal customers better than word of mouth. Just remember that sales and marketing are elements that require super adaptable people skills, and nothing will change that. And there is still no better substitute for word of mouth conversations.
- Choose a Powerful CRM Tool
Lastly, the best way to perform CRM is to employ the use of a powerful CRM tool. Tools like bpmonline offer comprehensive cloud-based sales force automation services, right from lead management to execution of enterprise-level sales. They will not only make your work easier, but will also make your work better, thereby increasing existing customer satisfaction and attracting new ones.
7. Analyze Data and Observe for Trends
Not all your data is going to come out of a report and not all your customers are going to give you feedback, or at least the kind that you can use. If you want to succeed in CRM, you’re going to have to analyze real time long and short-term patterns as well as social media trends in order to get the most out of your customers at the right time.
- Track Your Customers
Having a satisfied customer is one thing, having a satisfied customer who keeps coming back for more because of your services is an entirely different ball game. And the only way to do this is to keep track of your customers, as it will help you communicate and maintain relations with your customers. You can use tools like Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce or Sugar to help you stay on top of things.
Just remember that the customer feedback loop can be the missing piece to the puzzle of ensuring that your business and its products & services remain relevant and useful. And the right approach coupled with the right tools will ensure that you can attract, convince, and retain the kind of customers that will suit your business. But, no matter what fancy tools you might have, nothing helps with CRM more than that personal human touch.