The business space has experienced huge amounts of changes with the emergence of technology, and there are significant differences between the business landscape today and what it was not long ago.
Nowadays, the focus has shifted further towards customer engagement, and organizations are continuously looking for ways to be innovative in their approach to customer service. According to a 2015 study, 86% of businesses were willing to pay more for a great customer experience, which is an indication of the direction in which businesses have moved over the last few years.
It is quite understandable that the quality of goods and services produced are no longer the most crucial factors for business success, as 73% of buyers say that customer experience is an important factor for making purchases, behind price and product quality.
Therefore, to remain competitive in the rapidly changing business market, it is essential that you give your customers an unforgettable experience. Using tools like CRM make it easy to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction in your business.
CRM in a nutshell
CRM (customer relationship management) software brings different management capabilities together in one, easy-to-use system. It helps organizations manage and automate their customer lifecycles. And it’s particularly useful in businesses where close contact with customers is unavoidable.
Choosing the right CRM has the potential to bring huge value to businesses of all sizes. It allows you to store all your customer and prospect data, send emails, track calls, schedule appointments, create reports, manage your pipelines, add notes, and so on—all from within one system.
Another not-so-obvious benefit of using CRM is the fact that you can track how customers interact with your business. This is where successful businesses are capitalizing on customer data to increase engagement and turn regular customers into loyal fans.
CRM allows you to get answers to questions like “who’s opened the latest email?” or “what is the most effective way to contact each customer?”
Some of the most robust systems are even equipped to track interactions on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. There’s certainly not a better way to engage your customers than increasing (and understanding) interactions on the platforms where they spend most of their time.
One thing you can be sure of is businesses using CRM have an advantage over their competitors.
5 Ways CRM Improves Customer Experience
Now that you understand how CRM gives you the power to develop meaningful relationships with your customers, let’s look at five ways you can leverage CRM to improve the customer experience.
1. Understand your customers better
Before you can think of satisfying your customers' needs or giving them an amazing customer experience, it is essential that you have a deep understanding of them and their needs.
Without any form of understanding, all you are basically doing is trial and error. It’s a guessing game that you’re bound to eventually lose; an inconsistent strategy, which leads to low efficiency.
CRM software can store information like locations, hobbies, dates of birth, positions, responsibilities, and preferences of all your customers, so you can reflect on the data and learn about each customer. This way, you will be able to offer personalized services to your customers, and we all know that personalized services are the way to effective customer engagement.
2. Provide attentive support to customers
“Help” and “support” are two words that you will find on the list of every organization’s most commonly used words. These concepts have always been a mainstay in the business world, however, now we’re seeing changes in what customers want in terms of help and support.
Today’s reality is that your customers prefer online channels of communication when it comes to solving problems.
Fortunately, this is exactly what CRM offers. The software ensures that every customer inquiry and support request is logged into a system for easy access by your support team. You can set the system to automatically send a message confirming receipt of the message, and also suggest helpful FAQs and direct the customer to self-help resources like a knowledge base.
Providing this type of personalized, attentive support not only helps customers feel like they’re needs are being addressed, but the automation behind these systems means your labor cost is reduced and your support staff’s efficiency is increased.
3. Respond quickly to customer requests
The ubiquity of the internet has raised the expectations that customers have for businesses. Your customers expect an immediate response to any question or request they make. With every second you delay, you risk losing your customers to your competitors.
The interesting thing is, although it’s vital that organizations keep a fast response time, over 50% of consumers in the U.S. say “the customer experience at most companies needs improvement.”
The stats clearly show that customers don’t feel like they’re getting the treatment they deserve.
The good news: you can leverage CRM to improve your response times and meet your customers' expectations for quality service. CRM software includes pre-made email templates that can be sent quickly to your customers, increasing service efficiency and response time. The best systems also come with built-in automation to immediately direct a new request to the appropriate staff member so they can follow up in a timely manner.
4. Exceed your customer’s expectations
As stated earlier, CRM software stores crucial details about your customers and their relationship with your business. Apart from the general contact details like their names, location, and so on, you can also keep information like their most preferred products; most preferred brand; and what how to best serve them at any given time.
With this type of sophisticated information, you can tailor your sales, marketing, and support strategies to meet every customer’s expectations.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should always give your customers what they really want, and not what you think they want. Using the data from your CRM, you can easily deduce what each customer really wants and create a reputation as a business that over-delivers when it comes to important customer interactions.
5. Create personal relationships
This basically encompasses all the previously mentioned points. The major point to take note of is that, while it’s important to maintain a standard of professionalism, you should strive to develop a level of personalization in your interactions with customers.
You may be thinking, "I need to keep the relationship professional to maintain a business environment." Of course, professionalism is pretty important, but the mistake many organizations make is neglecting to remember that we’re all human. Treat your customers like real people and your desire to help will come across as genuine.
It is essential that you appear as a trusted partner to your customers. You can achieve this by personalizing your marketing, sales, and support strategies to fit every customer’s needs and preferences. CRM makes this quite easy, as it gives you access to all the data you need to make decisions and develop strategies that ultimately lead to meaningful relationships with your customers.
Customers are an important part of any business, but it’s your approach to customer engagement that will define your profit and margin. Hence, every strategy or step you take should be directed at understanding your customers in a way that leads to the high levels of customer satisfaction.
Here’s a [not-so-fun] fact for you: In 2016 about $62 billion was lost due to poor customer support. This shows that a huge amount of money is lost every year because businesses fail to prioritize customer service.
If you don’t want to be part of the losses recorded every year due to poor customer service (or worse, end up as a negative, trending topic on Twitter) you need to incorporate CRM into your business strategy. It’s the best way to give your customers an incredible experience, every time they interact with your business.