What does Customer Relation Management (CRM) mean to the modern business?
Whether you, as a business owner, have heard of the term ";CRM"; or ";Customer Relations Management"; before or not, it has already been part of your daily business for a long time. Maintenance, cultivation or intensification of customer relations are some of the key activities of every business, irrespective of whether you make direct contact, make a call, send mails or make contact via other channels.
30 years ago, managing customer relations was a completely different challenge in comparison to nowadays. Direct contact was the most popular form of contact, whilst indirect communication normally took place over the phone or in writing. The customers' opinions and requirements were established during the course of a face-to-face conversation. Not only that, the general conditions and the customers' expectations associated with those conditions were also different. Geographical proximity no longer constitutes the main factor in making a purchase decision. In this day and age of online shopping and social media, numerous new factors now also play a role.
But, how should a business owner retain an overview of what his customers and company expect from him?
It is often difficult to find answers to these questions and, not only that, it is an individual process. However, there are programmes and tools available to make daily life in this data jungle a little easier.
1. Keep your customers' activities in mind…
…but without wasting lots of time. Collecting your customers' data should be no more effort than the evaluation and planning of sales and marketing concepts. Modern CRM programs can support you efficiently in doing this. They help you to observe and monitor your customers' purchase behaviour. Good examples of this are customer cards, which record specific data on every purchase, or websites with personalised online shopping.
2. Get to know your customers' needs
Here, a pro-active approach is the key to success. Ask your customers direct (face-to-face or via a questionnaire), or offer them a suitable product or service, depending on their shopping behaviour.
It is often necessary to go a little deeper in these topics and to create specific target groups. This can start with various simple criteria, such as age, sex or family status, but can also be more specific and include previous purchase choices or individual interests. The more the customer feels that it is tailored to him, the better!
The Customer Satisfaction Survey in the Customer Communication Module of the Premium Partner Program can help you with this. This enables you to send personalised questionnaires by mail and to receive information relevant to your company direct from your customers.
3. Discover sales potential
When you know your customers' current situation, it's much easier to target their needs and encourage them to purchase your products and services. You can tailor offers and services to their needs to increase the chances of a sale.
A few examples could be:
- you are a vet and a dog owner brought the dog's pups to you for their injections. Then, when it's time, you could remind the owner that their beloved four-legged friends are due for their booster jabs, and offer other products and services at the same time.
- or you're the owner of a romantic hotel and a couple stayed at your hotel for their honeymoon. You can discreetly ask them when their wedding was, then send them a reminder every year, with suitable offers for their anniversary.
4. Create unique relationships with your customers and give them a unique experience
Customers want their needs and worries to be taken seriously, even if it's with regards to a problem with the company. Don't worry about, for example, answering customer complaints on social media. Maybe you will learn something about your customers and maybe even yourself.
There are also numerable options available to you with e-mail marketing. By creating your own target groups, you can reach exactly the right people. For example, maybe you have the perfect offer for young women? Set up a newsletter target group of your female customers, aged between 18-29 and tell them about a Deal that they might like.
5. Improve your customers' loyalty
For most companies, improving the customer experience is one of their main concerns. If you actively work on the relationship with your customers, you create a personal connection, and this in turn leads to a long-term customer relationship, which speaks for itself. One thing is certain: keeping an existing customer costs less than winning over a new customer.
Don't forget to create special benefits for your regular customers, as they form the foundation of your business. You can even combine winning over new customers with retaining existing regulars. A classic example of this would be a ";bring a friend!"; offer, whereby an existing customer registers a new customer and gets a voucher at the checkout.
Do I need a CRM programme for my business?
Used correctly, CRMs save costs and resources in many areas of the company in the long-term. The key factor for the successful use of a CRM in your company is putting the focus on your customer's needs and getting to understand what they want. This will enable you to build a deeper customer relationship and to increase your sales. A modern programme can help you to keep an eye on how things are going.
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https://www.forbes.com, How To Determine The Right CRM And Marketing Automation For SMBs, 2019
https://www.sciencedirect.com, Effect of Customer Relationship Management on Customer Satisfaction, 2015
https://www.forbes.com, The Thinking Behind Customer Relationship Management (CRM), 2019
https://www.huffpost.com, $40 Billion & Growing – CRM Statistics for 2017, 2017
https://blog.hubspot.com, 9 Benefits of CRM Software, 2018