CRM: DOING IT WRONG IS WORSE THAN NOT DOING IT AT ALL
Client Relationship Management – or CRM – is just a fancy label for getting back to the basics of gaining the kind of intimacy with clients that used to evolve organically between local businesses and the customers they served. Things like remembering and acknowledging birthdays, knowing when someone had a new addition to the family, knowing when the oldest child went off to college, etc. For merchants and other service providers, this natural relationship-building was a way to gain trust by showing genuine concern for their customers’ wellbeing. It also happens to be a really good way to cross-sell additional, relevant services.
At some point, businesses grew too large to maintain this level of intimacy and thus, began losing out on valuable insights that led to cross-sell opportunities and loyalty-building.
As a buzzword, many large organization’s CRM strategies are destined to go the way of TQM and Six Sigma as the latest and greatest save-the-day strategy. Those sticking it out should take a step back to clear the buzzword fog and go back to basics – after all, the only thing worse than no CRM strategy (read: no plan for providing excellent customer service), is a poorly-executed CRM strategy.
For example, within a week of my birthday, like clockwork, I get an (auto-generated) e-mail from a local business I frequent saying, “Happy Birthday.” Um, thanks automaton? A much more strategic tactic would be an email acknowledging my birthday and offering a free session, piece of merchandise or a discount. Realistically, I could have gone all year with no acknowledgement of my birthday from this business and been left with a warmer, fuzzier feeling than I had after that email.
If you work for or run the type of business that offers age-targeted products or services, even better. Tracking customer age should trigger certain cross-sell flags at relevant points. Do you have special products to offer for under 21s? Over 55s? These are really easy ways to leverage technology to maximize the personal touch as your business grows. This is just one example of leveraging the wealth of customer data you have at your fingertips to build stronger relationships.
Whether you’re a small business that provides excellent, personalized service that never realized it was executing a CRM strategy, or a large business that has a documented CRM strategy without tactics that are meaningful to clients, the takeaway is to be more mindful. CRM can be as simple as putting yourself in your customers’ shoes to build goodwill, add value and remove friction along all stages of the customer lifecycle