Any business owner will tell you. Customer service is everything.
A satisfied customer isn’t just an ongoing source of revenue. They can also help grow your business by spreading positive word-of-mouth. By the same token, an unsatisfied customer can easily damage the reputation of your brand. One negative social media post can make others skeptical of using your services.
How can you find out how satisfied your customers are, and why? At the same time, how do you make sure you’re staying in touch with those clients? Are you keeping them happy by making them feel valued?
The answer, for many businesses, is customer relationship management (CRM) software. Any CRM suite should not only help you keep your customers satisfied. A well-chosen CRM package should also help build your brand and strengthen your reputation. CRM software should help accurately position you as a brand that can be trusted.
What Is CRM Software?
CRM software is designed to help business owners create, maintain, and foster relationships with their clientele. Sophisticated CRM software packages can also assist a company with time management, efficiency, and keeping a virtual workspace organized.
CRM software works by collecting and integrating data from phone calls, emails, meetings, text messages, trouble tickets, and other sources. This increases efficiency and reduces confusion by keeping data in one place. It also allows companies to analyze metrics. Metrics can be a great asset for delivering exceptional customer service, as we’ll see below.
CRM software is particularly useful for small business owners who might otherwise struggle to keep up with all the information they have to track and process. In that setting, an all-in-one solution that centralizes and organizes customer service data can be invaluable.
How to Use CRM Software to Strengthen Your Brand
Here are just a few ways your business can begin using CRM software to strengthen your brand and develop enthusiastic customers.
1. Learn More About Your Customers
One of the primary features of CRM software is its ability to gather data on your customers. This starts with contact management, such as name, address, email, etc. But it doesn’t end there.
You can also gather and store relevant data such as company size, multiple contacts within the same company, detailed notes, and so on. Any issues or feedback you get from those customers can be stored for later reference. This means that the more you stay in touch with your customers, the more you will learn about them.
2. Commit to Providing Better Service
So why is all of this collected data useful? That’s simple. It gives you the platform you need to be able to provide better customer service. The more data you have on customer demographics, preferences, behaviors, etc. the better. You can then fine-tune your processes to meet those needs and avoid common problems that might frustrate them. Every customer survey, feedback email, or failed lead can tell you something you can use going forward.
Any good CRM will help you identify and understand the “pain points” of your customers. Simply put, CRM can help you get to the root of customer problems with your products or services. These issues might be something such as a difficult-to-use website, a frustrating path to customer service, or a design flaw in a product. In short, anything that makes your customers’ lives harder and, in turn, less inclined to stay a customer. By making good use of CRM software, you can help identify customer issues — even ones they might not clearly understand themselves — and work to eliminate them.
3. Better Service Helps Build Brand Loyalty
Understanding your customers’ needs and providing for them also helps build and maintain brand loyalty. How? Mainly by creating a sense of consistency in your customer relationships. You want a customer to know exactly what to expect when they contact you about a problem or otherwise need support. In this way, you give them confidence, knowing they can always count on having a good experience.
Another area where CRM is useful is in tailoring customer service to specific needs. Personalization and relatability are becoming a huge part of customer service. People want to feel like their specific needs are being met. They want to deal with a company that cares and not just a faceless corporation that treats them as disposable. A CRM software package that organizes everything you know about a particular customer means you can relate to them more easily, thus building more loyalty.
4. Maintaining Relationships Undergirds Brand Loyalty
Any good CRM software package also allows you to capitalize on brand loyalty by rewarding your customers appropriately. For instance, if a certain contact within a company leaves or retires, that shouldn’t mean the relationship with the company itself is lost or goes neglected. With an organized CRM, you can maintain both the business contact and perhaps even send a personalized note marking that person’s retirement. CRM can help make sure your long-time customers, personal and corporate, don’t slip through the cracks.
5. Everything’s Better With Metrics
Last but not least, the metrics you collect are possibly the most powerful tool in your CRM suite. As you gather customer data, a good CRM suite will provide the ability to analyze, measure, and implement that data to help refine company processes. Why are customers leaving or not renewing their service? Which leads do or don’t work out, and why? How satisfied are your customers, really? By putting your CRM to work, you can answer all these questions with reliable data. You can then use those answers to fine-tune how you do business, even down to automating certain tasks.
CRM software obviously can’t force business owners to implement change, it can only provide pointers in the right direction. Make sure any commitment you make to a CRM package comes bundled with a matching commitment to act on recommendations. Change can be hard, but a good CRM suite at least lets you know you’re making changes for the better.