Statistics have shown that nearly 75 percent of consumers report that they have stopped doing business with a company after being dissatisfied with their customer service experience and a whopping 89 percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor after experiencing poor customer service.
Entrepreneur Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Whether your business is sales or providing a service, the relationship you have with your customers can be complex, enlightening and rewarding. Every interaction provides an equal opportunity to either cultivate loyalty or lose the customer forever.
Small businesses understand the importance of customer relations management (CRM) much more than their larger competitors, because a growing company cannot afford to take even one customer for granted. However, with small staffs already stretched beyond capacity, customer relations management is a task that can often fall through the cracks. According to a study done by IBM, 85 percent of companies across the globe, in many different industries, do not believe their CRM efforts are completely successful. So you are not alone.
Ask the right questions & solve the problems
You may already be using a call center or synchronized appointment-setting software. Even so, there are ways to improve CRM beyond simply collecting data or sending confirmation emails. Customer relations management can be used to ask the right questions and solve problems in a more targeted manner, such as how to introduce a new product or break into a new market. Using tools like surveys and questionnaires can provide insight into your customer’s decision-making processes, and new technology allows you to get this information quickly. You can also use this data to stay ahead of any potential problems that might arise. For example, if people complain about constantly being transferred when they call with a question, you might want to adjust your structure so that your entire team can solve problems without having to check with another office.
Track your return customers
Your business can also use CRM to promptly identify return customers by tracking every contact and then sharing this data company-wide, whether it is a phone call requesting service or a thank-you email. This enables all staff to immediately retrieve vital information about previous communication and purchase history so you can make the most out of each contact. This information can be used as sales leads or merely make the customer feel valued and special.
Utilize the social media
A social media presence is vital in today’s high tech world and you can also use it to improve your customer relations management. Approximately 70 percent of adults report that they use social networking sites on a daily basis and that number is on the increase. Social media provides an exceptional opening to engage your customers and offer the kind of valuable incentives that will give them a reason to stay connected.
Don’t replace a person with a robot
It is critical to remember that technology is not a substitute for good old-fashioned customer service and a human voice. It is an enhancement to improve those contacts and learn how to be more responsive to the needs of your customers.
Of course, if all this still sounds too overwhelming, you can always utilize the skills of a good virtual business manager or virtual assistant. She knows how to use all the available tools to create an entire strategy and maximize your customer relations management function. In this way, the task is handled, you stay productive, and your business shines in the eyes of your customers and bosses.
Have you and your business developed any special CRM systems that you are very proud off, makes your job much easier and yields happy customers?