What is CRM?
Every interaction you have with your customers contributes towards the relationship you have with them. Customers will form an opinion of your business from even the smallest encounters and nowadays this will come from numerous communication channels, including phone calls, social media, emails, direct mail and live chats.
A cloud-based CRM system is ideal for bringing together the different pieces of the communications puzzle, as well as customer information like order history and personal details. Having a robust CRM system will help you deliver great customer service by communicating effectively and being strategic about where to focus your efforts.
New ways of communicating with customers
Understanding what your customers want from you will allow you to work out the best CRM strategy for your business. You need to take the lead from your customers when deciding how to communicate with them. Make sure you are set up to be helpful by using their preferred communication channel.
You’ll need enough staff to respond in a timely manner, even at peak times. Social media is an increasingly popular way of communicating with customers and they expect quick turnaround times. In Microsoft’s 2016 State of Global Customer Service Report, 67% of consumers said they expect a response within 24 hours. Software can help you work out your peak times, so you’ll know where and when to focus your efforts.
Although social media can feel like the Wild West, because anyone can see comments made about your business, the good news is that customers may be more likely to use it to say something positive. According to Microsoft’s Report, 36% of consumers praised brands online compared to 29% who complained. The report surveyed 5,000 consumers in the UK, Brazil, Germany, Japan and the US.
Using your data
To begin with, you need to make sure you capture and store data on the interactions you have with your customers. Make sure you store data securely and comply with data capture legislation.
You’ll then need to make sure you have an effective way of analysing your data, so you can mine it for information on how best to run your business. A good CRM system will help you easily understand your data by using features like segmentation. You’ll be able to gain insights, such as a customer’s buying preferences, which you can then use to send them information they find useful, like tailored offers.
Understanding your data is great for personalising your customer communications. You can use features like geo targeting to let them know about relevant services or events in their area. When you communicate with your customers via email, aim to make these as personalised as possible. Customers will be unimpressed if they receive irrelevant emails.
Even little touches like using their name in the subject line can help. According to research by Marketing Sherpa it can increase open rates by as much as 29%. Personalising communications can help foster loyalty and turn leads into customers.
When you’re dealing with communications from so many channels, CRM software can be great for automating manual tasks. Marketing automation will help you to send out emails at critical times, such as when an order has been dispatched. It will help you make sure you don’t miss crucial communications because you can simply schedule them in.
Measuring your success
You are probably continuously looking for ways to improve your CRM, to make sure you don’t get left behind, which is why measuring your performance is vital. You can use your CRM software to measure how effective various aspects of your marketing are. If you find out something isn’t working you can improve it, or stop it all together.
How cloud-based CRM software can help
If you run a small or medium-sized business, and don’t have the budget to spare on a complex on-site CRM system, cloud-based software is the way to go. It’ll save you spending lots of money upfront because you can pay using a monthly subscription. As part of your subscription, you’ll get automatic security updates, so you can keep your data safe.
The cloud is also great for making you get a good overview of all the interactions you have with your customers, because it is designed to integrate data from a variety of sources. This Single Customer View is very much the holy grail of customer service today.
Because it’s accessible by anyone, anywhere, all your staff can get hold of the information they need to respond. This will help you communicate consistently with customers, no matter what channel they use to get in touch. If you’d like a free demo on how a cloud-based CRM software can help your business, click here.
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