Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a pretty comprehensive topic, usually passionately embraced or half-heartedly adopted. Regardless of which camp you find yourself in, CRM is the key to running a long-term successful business! Successful CRM results in repeat business from existing clients but also boosts new client acquisition as satisfied customers, who are communicated to on a regular basis, are more likely to recommend their families and friends to you!
So how do you actually put together a successful CRM programme? It takes quite a bit of skill and process-orientated thinking and is not as simple as buying a great CRM system and sending a few email and sms messages for the client’s birthday, around Easter or whenever a new sales campaign pops up! In an effort to keep it simple, I will outline 4 must-haves to make your CRM efforts worth your while:
1 Have a Thorough Understanding of your Customer’s Lifecycle
In a world of information overload, it is becoming more and more important to: Communicate the right message to the right customer at the right time!
The key is to communicate what is of value to the customer. In order to do that, you and your team need to have a thorough understanding of your client’s lifecycle and please note that one glove usually won’t fit all – you will most likely have to group your clients by various product or service categories. Map out each and every customer touch point and identify what information would be valuable to the client at that specific point in time, such as billing reminders, product information, upgrade, repair, exchange or extension options as well as other value added services. Once you have a list of obvious touchpoints you can decide which other ‘nice-to-have’ touchpoints you would like to add, such as birthdays, Easter wishes, festive season greetings and so on.
2 Have a Game Plan & supporting Processes
Now that you know what information would be suitable when and to which customer, you need to work out your game plan! Make sure to identify any possible restrictions – whether it’s budget, limited data quantity or quality – it is very likely that you may not be able to implement all at once and it’s better to do 3 things properly instead of 10 things half-way. The ‘less is more principle’ applies with highest quality standards.
Prioritise according to value-add to the customer. It’s great to remind your clients to pay their bills on time but it’s real value-add to include easy payment options that allow the customer to take immediate action such as a link to Paypal or any other payment channel.
It is of utmost importance to have smooth supporting processes in place BEFORE sending out client communication. You have to be prepared for the boomerang to come back whether it’s at a slow or fast speed. Nothing is worse than asking your clients to engage with you and you are unprepared to handle the requests promptly and efficiently!
3 Have an integrated CRM Technology
- Customization: The system should be flexible and easy to customize. The idea is to build the system around your processes and not the processes around your system!
- Reporting: Real time and customizable reporting that makes your life easier instead of more complicated.
- Integration: Can the system easily integrate into other systems, such as your telephony system?
- Pricing: Ensure to enquire about all the costs. Set up, customization, user fees, ongoing maintenance and customization fees.
For an interesting read, check out Best CRM Software 2016, published on Business News Daily.
4 Have a permanent coach for your team players
You need a coach, a custodian, a champion – someone that takes ownership beyond the implementation of your CRM programme to ensure all your current and new team players know why they should be doing what, when and how. A set of reports should assist in managing daily business, all CRM communication, CRM related KPIs as well as short, medium and long-term trends thereof.
CRM programmes can easily become very complex. You should make sure you design and scale your CRM programme only as big and comprehensive as you remain agile, so that you are able to respond to ever-changing consumer needs. If it feels like you are navigating a tanker across the ocean instead of a speedboat you need to re-visit the above must-haves to make amends. If you prefer to make use of some external expertise to assist with any of the above whilst you focus on your core business, connect with me via www.jadeways.com.