Many CRM failures come about because CRM is regarded as a technological quick-fix that can be bought in a packaged form.
Successful CRM deployments are the ones that place greatest emphasis on the C part of CRM: the customer.
Make sure you keep customers at the heart of your CRM strategy by following our top tips...
Know exactly who your customers are and what they want
How can you communicate with your customers effectively if you don't understand them?
What does your customer expect from you as a company? Can you meet these expectations? Ideally can you match and then exceed these expectations?
Make sure there is a thorough understanding throughout the organisation of what customers really want. Then use that information to follow up with actions, solutions, and resolutions.
Listen to your customers
The most successful companies are the ones that respond to the changing demands and expectations of their customers most quickly.
Do you have a way for your customers to provide feedback? Can you manage that feedback, analyse it, and turn it into a series of actions?
Record positive feedback, but also ensure that you have an effective complaints process. Complaints are incredibly valuable for improving your products, services and marketing, but are too often dismissed as an irritation to be dealt with by someone else. Also - don't forget to actively ask for feedback. As a customer there's nothing better than feeling like your opinion matters.
Know how your customers want to interact with you
There are lots of ways to communicate with a customer - telephone, online, email and the good old postal system. One size does not fit all though.
Speak to your customers at a time and in a place that suits them. You need to know which method is most appropriate for your customers.
Offer a choice of how they can do business with your company - by phone, on-premise, through your website or even by Twitter and Facebook. Open all communication channels possible. Find ways to make it so easy for customers to do business with you that switching to a competitor would mean they had to do extra work.
One system with a single view of your customers
This is the holy grail of CRM.
If your customers communicate with you in several ways, do you have a single, accurate record of all these interactions? If they speak to several people in your business, can you be sure that all your people are accessing the same, up-to-date information?
Having to provide the same information over and over is cited by customers as one of the most irritating aspects of dealing with customer services. Create a consolidated database so customers don't have to repeatedly give details of their contact information, products, complaints or purchase history. Ensure that there is a single, up-to-date customer record so that problems or questions can be dealt with quickly and accurately.
Make your customers feel special
People like to feel special!
Sending targeted, personalised messages can eliminate some customers' feeling of alienation or insignificance and help connect you to them.
Customers want to deal with someone who understands and can respond to their needs - and even anticipate them in advance.
Treat your customers as individuals, acknowledge their personal needs and treat them with the attention and respect they deserve. Invariably, earning their trust will also earn their business.