Formulating a Customer Relationship Management Strategy

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can make a huge difference to your business. Indeed, in my e-book “What Is CRM and What Can It Do for Your Business” I list a range of benefits and show how CRM can significantly improve your efficiency, improve your customer satisfaction levels and improve your bottom line. So, it’s perhaps only natural that you may want to dive straight in and get going as quickly as possible, especially for the small business owner who is already doing a hundred different things. But, this is the start of a new journey and getting to your destination is going to be a lot quicker if you take a little time to plan the route and perhaps take some guidance from someone who has already made the journey. Some people really do believe that just buying software will be all that you need to change your world. Indeed, a lot of marketing bucks have been spent by the big software vendors to convince you of this very fact. In my opinion though, however good that software is, unless you have a proper plan in place you will run the inevitable risk of getting lost. There are two very straight forward but hugely important components to get into place as part of your definition of a well-rounded CRM strategy: • What relationship does your customer actually have with you, right now? • How should you nurture that relationship from start to finish? Those may not sound like earth shattering ideas but I believe that they are the fundamental foundations of CRM. Most businesses simply don’t take the time...[Read in Full]

The Business Case for CRM

When a business first starts up it has only one thing to do – please the first few customers. At that stage it’s quite easy to know every prospect and every customer by name, to remember what they’ve bought from you or what they want to buy, remember every promise you’ve made and be able to offer them a friendly and reliable service. But, as the business grows, relating personally to each and every prospect and customer becomes a real challenge. There are many more people to keep track of and just dealing with the day-to-day issues of running a busy company or the demands of managing a team of employees steals time away from what you should be doing – talking to your customers and trying to understand how you can best meet their needs. Over time, the business develops mechanisms to cope with these problems – new staff members are often taken on to help, but they will need direction and management. A plethora of spreadsheets then get created, often designed to help one person achieve one specific task. But these grow in complexity and keeping the information up-to-date across numerous spreadsheets takes time. Different versions are stored in different departments and on different PCs. The result, mistakes happen because the information is out of date, because person A doesn’t know that person B is giving the customer a different story, and because hand-over from one person’s area of responsibility to another’s can easily break down. In short, there is no single source of the truth. Customer information starts to feel “locked up” in the email inbox...[Read in Full]