Customer relationship management (CRM) is too big to miss. Organizations usually fail with deployment of CRM initiatives mainly because of poorly conceived strategies, lack of laser-like focus on enhancing business processes (which should increase revenues or reduce costs) and the inability to take to CRM best practices.
Times have changed; companies now treat CRM as a core part of their business operations. Here are five CRM best practices that you should look at:
1. Find the right people; build a customer-centric team.
For a business to deliver a positive customer experience, the stakeholders (employees, management and all others) must ‘own’ the responsibility. Great customer service is only possible through incredibly managed teamwork. Forming this team starts even before you develop your CRM strategy or select your CRM software – people come first, technology only helps.
2. Understand customers and their behavior, and differentiate your customers.
Every customer is different. As a business, understand what your customers really want (both stated and unstated needs) and how they want it delivered. Develop an insight into customer behavior, buying patterns and consumer demographics – it is these responses that determine the success of the project. Further, segment your customers. Who are your high-value clients? What life stages are they in? Who is high-potential lead and who isn’t? Who are the customers you intend to keep, grow or fire? Segmenting your customers takes time – using some of the latest web-based CRM programs such as NetSuite CRM can save you valuable time by automating these processes.
3. An integrated customer strategy is a must.
Today, marketing is a whole new experience for both consumers and producers. It’s fragmented, varied and multi-channeled. To develop and execute effective marketing programs, it’s critical to understand and implement a holistic marketing program keeping a view on the customer at all times. What are the different ways you can reach your customers? Where do they get their information? Customers are not simply accounts on file or numbers you can crunch using spreadsheets. They are the reason your business exists. Develop a multi-pronged marketing strategy that stretches wide and deep.
4. Customer experience goals: What do you want your customers to walk away with?
Customer service is too vague a term for a company to put its finger on. Define what you mean by customer service. How do construe customer service to be like? Articulate it – better still, write it down. What kind of feelings should your customer walk away with? How do you define the moment of truth? How can you improve? Where are the hotspots that you need to address? Develop responses to customers and their problems with unique and compelling solutions. The best brands do it so well that customers even change their deeply ingrained behavioral or lifestyle patterns just to accommodate these new brands.
5. Are you hiding behind walls? Get personal!
Customers hate scripts. Robots or Interactive Voice Systems are as impersonal as it can get. Understand your customers’ personal needs and gain insights on their profiles to customize your products and services for every individual customer. Make them feel important and pampered. For a company to do this effectively, it has to train staff, empower employees to make their own decisions and focus heavily on people processes and tools. It takes time and energy, but the outcome is worth it!
Have you used a CRM tool? Would you like to share your experiences with us?
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