Customer Relationship Management 101
Over the years, the success of your business mainly depended on your amazing product range. Whilst this is still very important, there has recently been a huge change where a bigger emphasis is now being placed on customers.
We now live in a world where customers have more influence and power than they’ve ever had in the past. They are not just interested in what you’re selling, but also how you sell it with the service you provide, the customer experience they receive and what happens after the sale is made.
By 2020, customer experience is set to be the main driver behind purchasing decisions, instead of product and price. Customers will also be more willing to pay more if you treat them well.
The challenge now is making sure that customers are happy and delivering excellent customer service that is consistent across every interaction.
In order to do this, businesses are now changing their focus to improve their customer relationships. By building strong customer relations, not only does it help develop customer loyalty and retain valuable customers, but it also improves customer experience and keeps customers a top priority.
What is customer relationship management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is the process of providing a good experience for each of your customers. Good CRM will result in higher customer loyalty and lower overall costs for the company.
Every business should aim to build strong and long-lasting relationships with their customers because they are your main source of profit. CRM aims to create a relationship beyond the initial purchase that mutually benefits both your business and your customers.
If you lose a customer, something must’ve gone wrong. Businesses used to think losing customers was no big deal, as they could always get new ones.
That was until now.
Losing a customer means you lose a source of income, and you’ll have to spend more trying to win over a new customer. This results in less profit for your business.
Customer relationship management eliminates this mistake by making sure your customers are kept happy with you.
CRM is a crucial part of all aspects of your business operations. From the customer service to marketing and sales, all departments will have a big influence on customer relations.
- Solving issues reported by customers
- Providing excellent and consistent customer service
- Communicating with customers constantly to keep them updated about new products, promotions and updates
- Promoting relevant discounts and exclusive offers
- Personalised marketing
- Improving customer experience
- Gaining and developing customer loyalty
Importance of customer relationship management
The importance of CRM cannot be understated. The 3 main benefits of CRM are:
1. Higher customer retention rates
Customer retention refers to the ability of the business to keep their customers over a long period of time. Having a high customer retention rate means that your customers tend to return and continue to buy from your business repeatedly.
2. Improves customer loyalty
Having a good relationship with your customers means its more difficult for competitors to lure people away. Customer loyalty is the most valuable asset for businesses as loyal customers are more willing to spend. Loyal customers are also more cost effective to maintain. This means more profit for your business!
3. Higher levels of customer satisfaction
Millennials are becoming the world’s largest consumer demographic and they are the group of people that retains the most consumer power and influence.
In the digital age that we live in, if they are unhappy with your product or service, they can easily ruin your brand reputation by spreading bad comments and reviews across all social media platforms.
With intense competition in every industry, customers have plenty of choices to choose from when making a purchase decision. If you don’t have a good customer reputation, you will lose a lot of your sales to competitors immediately.
Still don’t believe that CRM is important?
Maybe these facts and figures will help convince you:
- It costs 5 to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. CRM helps keep loyal customers and reduce losing current ones.
- Delivering great customer experiences will increase customer retention. Increasing customer retention by 5% will increase profits by 25% to 95%!
- 73% of customers say that customer experience is the most important factor in their purchasing decisions.
- 95% of customers have either stopped shopping or have taken other actions (e.g. left a bad review) because of a bad customer experience.
- 86% of customers will pay 25% more for products or services if they have a good customer experience.
As you can see, delivering good customer experience and maintaining customer relations is vital to succeed, remain competitive and grow your business!
CRM best practice examples
Take a look at these successful businesses in Malaysia that display great CRM practices.
Zalora is an ecommerce business that sells clothing online. They segment their customers based on profiles and shopping behaviours, for example: customers who buy cheap products, customers who buy expensive products etc. They also segment based on events such as customers who abandon their shopping carts, customer’s birthday etc.
Using these segments, Zalora excels in delivering excellent customer experience through personalised communications.
This is done through their personalised email marketing campaigns (welcome emails, cart reminder emails, order confirmation, birthday emails, national holiday emails etc), sending out promotional updates with SMS marketing, telemarketing for VIP customers, persuasive social media content and a strong customer loyalty program.
Zalora also developed a user friendly app to give customers an easy and fast access to online shopping when they are on the go.
Customers will also receive push notifications whenever there’s a flash sale and are able to automatically save items to prevent them from losing and having to find it again. Customers even receive personalised product recommendations from their past shopping behaviours.
Photo by Myburgerlab
Burgerlab is another example of a business that reaches customer’s hearts, not only through their stomach, but also by demonstrating amazing CRM. The restaurant is most famously known for their mouth-watering burgers.
Right when you step foot in the restaurant, the staff will greet you with a warm and friendly welcome while showing you to your table. They will then proceed to ask for your preference and recommend you popular menu items if you’re struggling to decide what to order. You can also customise your meals by adding or taking out items as you wish.
You can even celebrate special events, such as your birthdays, there and get a free dessert!
Their excellent customer service goes beyond being at the restaurant. Even post purchase, customers are constantly getting updated through personalised SMS or email messages regarding the latest competitions, promotions or limited edition menu items. Burgerlab’s social media pages are also thriving with a huge following number and content that informs and entertains their customers.
Burgerlab has their own customer loyalty program which can be accessed easily through their app, where customers can collect, record and redeem their points.
The success that Burgerlab has achieved was done by providing great customer service and delivering a memorable customer experience during and post purchase.
This proves that customer relationship management is truly the key to success.
Top tips on CRM
After knowing and seeing real life examples about the importance of CRM, are you feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Don’t worry, here are some of our top tips on good CRM practices that you should follow:
1. Collect and update your customer profile consistently
Use customer information to your advantage by adding value to them. Use their previous shopping behaviours and interests to suggest new or relevant items to your customers. Keep track of their birthdays and other life events to offer special promotions and personalised messages to them. But remember to keep customer information updated so that it’s still relevant. You don’t want to be sending text messages to an unused number!
2. Quality over quantity
Always make sure that you are providing the best quality product/service to your customers. By practicing good quality control of your stocks and quality checking final products sold, you will eliminate any risk of product defects and unsatisfied customers that could potentially blast a bad review online.
3. Train your employees
Think about it, when customers enter or interact with your business, the first people they come across are your staff members. Your sales and customer service staff needs to be highly skilled and motivated to solve customer problems quickly. Encourage your staff to go above and beyond providing a normal customer service experience by suggesting personalised recommendations or by making the customer feel extra welcomed and special. But don’t go too overboard and bombard them until they feel uncomfortable, teach them to treat customers the way they would like to be treated.
4. Communicate with your customers all the time
Your business should aim to keep in constant contact with your customers and inform them about your latest promotions or other relevant activities/milestones on a regular basis. By doing this, you will not only remind them that your company exists, but it will also keep them excited and make them feel like they are a part of a community. You can do this via social media posts, emails, SMS, post mail or even face to face.
5. Encourage customer feedback
With the power of social media, your business can use this platform as a way to collect customer feedback. This way, customers will feel heard as their questions and issues are raised and attended to. If the customer is experiencing a problem, try to resolve it as soon as possible to prevent any negative feelings and tension being built up. Also, by getting feedback, your business can constantly strive to improve in order to match customers demands and expectations.
6. Rewarding your customers
Who doesn’t love rewards? This is a great way to create and maintain customer loyalty as giving out rewards (e.g. free gifts, discounts, special merchandise) incentivises customers to stay and purchase from your store. Customers will also appreciate your more as they feel special.
7. Make customers feel welcomed
When a customer first enters your store, acknowledge them and make them feel welcomed. This could be through simply saying “welcome!” or “hello!” when they first walk in. In this way, customers will feel like their presence is known and will increase the likelihood of them spending at your store.
8. Say the magic word: ‘Thank you!’
Always be grateful and thank your customers. This simple gesture can make your customers instantly happy. Either say it in person at checkout or send them a ‘thank you for your purchase’ email/text afterwards.
The core of business is to create and enhance relationships. Much like friendships, if you invest time and effort into your customers, they will do the same in return.
9. Use a CRM system
With so many different CRM processes to take into account, it is hard to juggle all of it whilst also not neglecting other important aspects of your business operations. To remain competitive, your business should look into automating tasks when possible. Luckily for you, a CRM system is in your reach and can streamline these processes for you! With a CRM system, you will be able to
- Store and manage customer data
- Track customer interactions and shopping behaviour
- Get valuable insights about your customers
- Accurately predict sales
- Integrate with your social media accounts
- Personalise customer experience and marketing material
- Keep customers updated with SMS messaging
- Customise promotions and offers
And many more!
What are you waiting for?
Hopefully you can now see and understand the importance of CRM. Now, 91% of businesses use a CRM software to automate their processes and form better customer relationships.
In the competitive world that we live in, businesses that manage their CRM effectively will be the ones that survive in the long run.
So what are you waiting for?
Invest in a CRM system now to manage your customer relations easily!