Why you need to manage your customer relationships

I recently began looking for a new car. If you have ever gone through this, you will know that car salespeople are relentless. By relentless, I mean they will do whatever they can to get you into a car. Once the salesperson finds out what you are specifically looking for, they will work tirelessly to make it happen. Most of the time this is because they have a vested interest in making the sale, but it works because they are building a relationship with you based on your wants and needs.

It works the same way in other industries as well. To provide the best customer experience you need to look at your customers and determine exactly what it is they want or need. These wants and needs will not be the same for each of your customers. To better understand each customer individually, and to meet each of their expectations, you should plan to invest in a quality CRM system.

What is Customer Relationship Management?

Customer relationship management invloves managing and analyzing customer information from the initial point of contact through the customer retention process. The overall purpose of this practice is to improve the relationship that a business has with its customers, in order to retain them, and of course, to promote sales growth. No matter the size of your business, implementing a CRM system is a must. There are many reasons for implementing a CRM system, but here are 3 key ways as to how a CRM system will bring your business to places you may have never imagined.

1. Centralized Customer Data

With a CRM system you will have all of the information associated with your customer organized and accessible at your fingertips in one centralized location. By keeping all if this data in one location you will reduce the time spent looking things up, which will lead to an increase in employee productivity. The faster you access this data, the quicker you will reach out to customer who has questions or concerns regarding your products or services. 

You would expect the same from another business’s customer service, wouldn’t you?  You need those employees on the other end of that conversation to be on their toes to answer your questions or help resolve your issue quickly. By using a CRM system, you can meet those needs much faster than traditional methods of accessing information. Running over to colleague’s desk, or opening up spreadsheets and sifting through them for the information you need is time consuming. These cumbersome tasks can easily be eliminated by a CRM system.

CRM systems are a data warehouse, and when used correctly, can provide you with everything you need to know about a customer with ease. 

2. Touchpoints to Build Trust

These CRM systems are great for tracking all contact between you and the customer, which can prevent multiple efforts expended by your salespeople.  They will also be able to see how long it has been since a customer was last contacted and follow up with the customer to see how they are doing.  A small reminder that you are there for them.  You could also create automated reminders to follow up with a lead or opportunity if you haven’t contacted them after a certain time frame, so that it doesn’t go cold.  You can also set up automations to integrate with other software’s, such as ERP systems (Enterprise Resource Planning). 

Other automated processes you could set up are simple things related to customer information that you may have stored in the system.  A friendly Happy Birthday lets them know that you are thinking about them and that their business with you is important.  Having a seasons greeting message sent out for certain holidays or other special occasions is possible.  With customer’s satisfaction on the line, having a well automated system can lead to quicker responses to a customer’s needs.  The faster you can reach out to those customer’s, the greater your chances for satisfying them.  

3. Satisfied Customers mean Returning Customers

Any successful business will tell you that the best way to have repeat customers is by ensuring customer satisfaction (Think of all of those TV ads claiming “Satisfaction Guaranteed!”).  Many companies go so far as to refund your purchase when you’re not completely satisfied with their product. Why do they do this? They know that a positive overall experience with their company will increase the likelihood that you will purchase another one of their products. 

You might be asking, “How does this all tie into a customer relationship management system?”

The CRM system has helped you with centralizing data about a customer, giving you everything you need to know about a customer.  This includes their wants and their needs.  You’ve then built a trust between your business and a customer.  With the knowledge about your customer and their trust, you can now expand what you have to offer them to meet the wants and needs that they may not even realize they have.

This sales process will continue to go around and around, and continuing to satisfy your customer is a never ending task, but it will pay off in the long run. 

Will you use a Customer Relationship Management System?

CRM systems are designed to better manage your customer’s and to provide them with the satisfaction that they expect from you.  The question is, will you use a CRM system for your business? 

There are many CRM systems available out there with all sorts of different capabilities.  The larger of the vendors that provide these services are Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft.  The fact that 1.2 billion people worldwide use Microsoft Office in 140 countries and 107 different languages according to Microsoft’s website, their CRM system may be a viable option for you.

With CRM systems capabilities to help improve customer satisfaction, Microsoft’s option may be the right option for you.  Microsoft CRM can be used in many ways with Microsoft Office, including:

  1. Options to create leads, view customer information, or open a new support cases in CRM from your Outlook inbox. 
  2. Word Templates can be used to create your own custom documents, such as orders or invoices.
  3. The ability to update information using Excel in CRM, which can be used to import, export, or share information easily.
  4. OneNote in Microsoft CRM can be used to attach meeting notes and other information gathered during interaction with a customer.
  5. Create links in CRM to documents stored and synced to a centralized SharePoint location.
  6. Communicate or collaborate with your coworkers and customers using Skype for Business.
  7. Mobile CRM apps are also available on iOS, Android, and Windows tablets and phones.

The ability for all of these Microsoft products to interact and integrate with each other can make for a smoother CRM system.  These cloud based services make for an easy-to-use platform that is secure and reliable.

Does it work?

Businesses have found different ways to use CRM systems to help them improve the overall customer experience, increase their sales, market effectively, provide quality services, integrate with ERP systems, and utilize social media.  Trek Bicycle chose to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM system to increase the customer’s overall experience by utilizing what the system had to offer. 

Trek opened their doors in 1976 in Waterloo, Wisconsin, and started as a US brand and turned into a global brand over time.  According to Mark Joslyn, Vice President at Trek bicycle, their key beliefs are to take great care of customers, make sure they have the right products, and provide fantastic service before, during, and after the sales process. 

Through CRM they have been able to increase their productivity and track claims that have come in.  This has led to them meeting their overall goal of turnaround time on claims in 24 hours according to Melissa Ebbens, Trek Bicycle’s East Coast Inside Sales Regional Manager. 

This system has worked for others, and it can work for you.  Whether you choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM system or any of the CRM systems available, they can be a powerful tool.  These tools are designed to increase your customer’s overall experience, which will help make your company more successful then you may have ever imagined.