In this article we are looking to answer the most common question when considering CRM, that being ‘Does a CRM improve customer relationships’? The answer is of course yes, but only if utilised effectively.
Most start with a CRM strategy, then complete the implementation. Next steps include to consolidate customer information, include sales processes and promote marketing campaigns with existing and potential clients. That is all well and good but let’s consider the how.
In this newsletter we are highlighting some ideas which have proved successful in the past. Of course, please always bear in mind, we at Sperto Consulting can tailor a solution that includes sales, marketing and customer service focused on your individual company needs.
CRM Actions to Improve Customer Relationships.
It may be obvious to state that the better our relationships are with customers, then the more likely we are to gain, retain and develop our customer base, all of course vital in building a successful sustainable business as well as managing costs. But are we using the tools available effectively?
In this edition of the newsletter, we highlight some key areas where CRM practices can and will have a significant impact on how a company is viewed by its customers and how a true valued relationship is developed between both parties.
Always welcome a new customer with a personalised onboarding experience.
As soon as a contract is signed, and a prospect is now a customer consider that the relationship has only just begun. Start by sending a welcome to thank them for their business. Research of business practices shows that all customers enjoy welcome emails. Unsurprisingly these mails demonstrate a much higher open and click through rate over standard marketing mails.
Include and use the opportunity to:
- Congratulate them on their purchase.
- Describe what they can expect going forward.
- Include details of the purchase as part of the message.
- Introduce them to their support team.
- Include helpful information and use it as a guide to your company.
- Include future correspondence (Newsletters, marketing updates etc).
- Make it easy to follow, visual and personal.
By creating a template to be sent each time a client is added then the welcome can be automatically initiated.
Customers churn for one of two reasons only. Either they go out of business, or they don’t feel they are getting the desired outcome from the relationship with your business. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that their relationship offers a continued desired outcome. Of all the reasons to implement a CRM system, it is the customer experience process that offers the opportunity to control your customer base, generate loyalty and develop existing clients. For that it is necessary to maintain regular contact.
It is assumed that you are in regular contact, but what about those clients who have not initiated any contact with you for several months?
It would be wrong to assume that no news is good news, in fact just the opposite. Is the relationship working and if not why not?
Consider how to make a positive contact, at what stage of the current contract refers. If in the last 3 months, then consider if there is a risk.
Send a personalised mail to include:
- A review of the current product and asking for feedback on the status and impact.
- A follow up on the last conversation held, to include any outstanding actions not fully concluded.
- An offer to schedule a call to discuss the account and review any updates available (Suggest a date and time for the call).
At this time really consider high value customers. These can be high value financially or status (i.e., Government accounts). A RAD model could be considered and regularly updated. This lists all accounts under Retain (Keep those considered at risk) Acquire (Clients not yet contracted but desired). Develop (Existing clients not considered at risk but potential for additional products). By breaking these down by value, resources can be applied to ensure CRM is adapted to ensure that relevant actions are taken regularly and at each stage.
Sharing Product Updates and Enhancements.
New product updates and enhancements are a way of inspiring our customers as well as ensuring we remain front of mind for our customers.
Use updates to share a new feature, a bug fix or a new product. This is of particular value if it can be referred to a previously discussed need that a client has asked for. Your customers will be delighted and appreciate that their needs have been considered and that you have remembered them.
When contacting them remember that the clients have little interest in the product itself but rather what the solution offers them. To this end discuss.
- The benefits not the features.
- What issue does it solve.
- Do not mention cost at this stage. That is for future discussions, first sell the need.
Effective Communication Methods.
How to best use internal resources is a constant point of discussion internally with any company, however the real question is which method does the client most enjoy?
Company research agencies have identified Live Chat as the most preferred by customers. The full satisfaction ratings are:
- Live Chat 73%
- Email 61%
- Apps 53%
- Social Media 48%
- Phone 44%
It is surprising that the phone comes in last place despite only 40% of US, Europe and China companies use Live Chat for any customer engagement.
This suggest there is a real opportunity here to gain a competitive advantage by introducing Live Chat with the possibility for customer interaction with no missed calls or emails while full interaction with customers. Let’s not forget that Live Chat also collects data for review when integrated into the CRM system.
Slow response times are the biggest inhibitor of customer satisfaction. This can really only be overcome at peak times with the introduction of a ticket management process, offering a dedicated call back.
By integrating this into a CRM system it is possible to best manage internal resources while meeting a customers needs. Before making the contact with the customer the agent can research the customer requirements and prepare a relevant response.
The CRM can respond with an auto reply suggesting a call back time and confirmation of the nature of the contact.
It is little surprise that a CRM ranks as business critical in the modern world, but having integrated the system it is vital that the capabilities are fully exploited. Each company has differing needs and challenges. In this piece we have focused purely on some ideas on how customer service experience can be improved. We must not lose sight of the benefits of collecting data and considering how that data can best be utilised.
A consultation with a provider about business development through a CRM system can reap untold opportunities.