Great Customer Relations – Why Do They Matter & How Can You Build Them?

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Shake_HandsBuilding great customer relationships is essential to any business; your clients are the lifeblood of your company after all – and it’s nothing without them.

So what are the best ways to ensure your team understands this and that you’re doing everything possible to develop the right practices?

Here are eight tips to help you ensure you’re on the right track, that you keep your customer churn rate low and your new business strategy is building a strong sales funnel to help grow the business.

Communication

Good communication is essential when you’re running a business – and that means having effective two-way conversations.  You need to make sure potential customers are fully aware of the benefits of your product or service and that you always listen to what they tell you.

Ensure you employ the best channels to reach your target market and that you use the right language to engage people. And, importantly, in every interaction you have with a customer, be sure to be clear, consistent, and courteous.

Exceed expectations

As a baseline, you should always say what you mean and do as you say when you run any kind of business. And when you’re dealing with customers, it’s important that you never let them down – so always return that phone call when you say you will.

You might be aware of the phrase ‘under promise and over deliver’ and that’s also a key tip to employ wherever you can.  So if you think the order will be ready by Thursday, for example, perhaps suggest the next day and you’ll never disappoint, just delight.

Ask for feedback

Getting regular customer feedback is essential to building good relationships and there are many channels you can use to do this. After all, it’s important not to make assumptions about customers’ satisfaction levels – and ensure you meet their requirements.

So it’s a great idea to stay on top of social media comments and queries effectively and provide lots of ways for people to reach you. Offer plenty of opportunities for feedback on your website or in-store, perhaps. And take any comments or criticism you receive by phone, email, or in-person seriously – and always act on them.

Show appreciation

As we said at the start of this post, your customers are the lifeblood of your company – so remember to show how much you appreciate them. Ensure your team provides polite, friendly service, thank people for their custom, and perhaps look at the potential of loyalty or other reward schemes.

Just one negative experience can turn a customer away from your business, never to return, after all, which is a wasted opportunity. But, conversely, a great experience builds trust, loyalty and develops bonds that benefit everyone, including your business.

What is CRM and how can it help?

You might have heard of the acronym CRM but not quite understand what it means or how it could help you or your company. It actually stands for Customer Relations Management and it’s a growingly important area to think about in terms of the success of your business.

CRM is all about developing a company-wide strategy to improve revenues, profitability, reduce costs and, of course, increase customer loyalty.  This might sound complex but the philosophy is quite straightforward and is, in its principles, client-led. In essence, it’s about putting the customer first and trying to see every transaction with your business through their eyes.

CRM strategies, solutions, and software

Marketing_PlanMany companies are now developing their own CRM strategy to help them to instill these principles in the business – and develop them.  And there are some great CRM software solutions available to turn these principles into practice in the best way possible for your own needs. This can help bring together all your information from different departments in your company, for example, to give one, holistic view of each customer.

It allows employees in your team, for example in sales and marketing, to make more informed decisions based on real-time information. This can save your business valuable time, make you more effective and, importantly, improve those important customer relations. It also helps those teams to develop better business and marketing plans and strategies and build stronger campaigns.

Why is CRM so important?

One of the main reasons CRM is so important is that it has the power to help you both retain existing customers and gain new ones.  And it’s a growing area – a report by Gartner found that CRM software is now overtaking database management systems as the most popular business IT solution.

As we’ve discussed previously, maintaining great customer relations and building brand loyalty are essential elements of success. But, in today’s highly competitive market it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do this – for a whole variety of reasons.

Research backs up this conclusion and shows customers are now more likely to switch their loyalties quite easily, so it’s an increasingly important issue.  In this environment, it’s essential to really know and understand your customers and what they want – and ensure your business offer matches this.

How else can CRM help you?

We’ve already discussed CRM’s role in understanding your customer and helping your sales and marketing team – but how else can it assist your business?

It can help protect your customer data

Perhaps, at the moment, your business deals with customer data in a way that’s not most effective, secure, or aligned. That could be via various spreadsheets, Word documents, or on different systems that perhaps aren’t effectively synchronised.

This means you could be risking the loss of critical business data, miss key opportunities, or fall foul of data protection requirements. By consolidating your data, you can maximise its potential across different departments and keep it safe and secure – on one CRM system.

Your data is more accessible

Let’s face it, these days fewer and fewer teams are based together continuously or work a traditional 9-5 from one office or work base.  Employees live more agile and flexible lives now and the systems you and your company use should reflect that. Or maybe the nature of your business means your teams are constantly out on the road or visiting clients regularly on site.

The ability to access customer information via CRM software means they can achieve more for your business whenever they’re on the move.

For example, CRM for real estate agents could be a development to consider that would be really useful for your team. Your team would then be able to access essential data via an app, possibly, or by using a cloud CRM – which has become increasingly popular these days.  This means they could use any given device with a web connection to get updates that are in real-time and are completely secure and accessible – 24 hours a day.

CRM gives a more complete view of your customer

Customer_StrategyUsing a CRM system gives a more holistic impression of every customer you interact with – which is, of course, incredibly important for your business.

Each time your customer interacts with you, by phone, email, etc it helps provide data you could use to help them receive a more personalised experience.

This echoes what we’ve previously discussed about providing a good customer experience and employing good communication.  Nothing is more off-putting to a customer, after all than having to repeat their query or receiving conflicting, confusing responses.

CRM can be customizable to your business

Businesses come in different shapes and sizes and, therefore, it’s always important to look for any sort of solution that can be tailored to your needs. CRM software can be modified to help you achieve the things that are most critical to your business.

Personalization is possible via its settings and preferences so it works most effectively for the key things you need to achieve. For example, marketing platforms like HubSpot offer a wide range of personalization options – you can learn more about these options, as well as the onboarding process here: https://whitehat-seo.co.uk/hubspot-onboarding

CRM Is not just for sales

It’s important to point out, at this stage, that CRM has many more possibilities than just sales – essential as they are. Having all of your information managed in one place means that the way you deal with a range of issues including managing contacts and orders can be transformed.  

CRM can be a valuable asset right across your business and can also help with tasks as diverse as internal communication, budgeting, retention and more.

It helps you keep ahead of competitors

No one wants to be aggressive in business, of course, but it’s key to everyone’s success to stay ahead of what your competitors are doing.  Maximising sales and revenue is what keeps both you and our staff employed after all. CRM can help you improve your market share, forecast accurately, and understand how your products or service could meet customer needs.

Just like any software, or IT solution, the more you use CRM tools, the more opportunities it will bring to your organisation. And as a concept, CRM is not just about technology, it’s so much more than that.

In conclusion

We hope this post has given you a good amount of insight into how building great customer relations could be useful for your business.  And how different elements, including CRM, can help you achieve that. At the end of the day, it’s all about taking a holistic approach that suits your company best – based both on your approach and technology.

About the author

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Like Minds is a global thought leadership platform delivering world class events on business development, knowledge and insight aimed at entrepreneurs and business leaders to engage, stimulate and empower them to become global businesses of the future. We also offer a bespoke service for corporate clients and training programmes under the Like Minds U brand. For more information please email bespoke@wearelikeminds.com