You know firsthand the common all-in-one tool for organizing, managing customer relationships is CRM software. It is the easiest way to store all the data of your current and future customers so that your team does not need to do it manually and instead remains on top of their tasks. But did you know that interacting with customers and prospects can go without this management software? We are going to shed the light on this matter in this article. Stay tuned for more.
Why would you ever want to go without CRM?
Before we discuss other ways how you can gather all aspects of your customer information, let’s elaborate on the reasons why you may not want to choose a useful CRM solution. Traditionally, CRM is utilized by enterprises of different sizes and capital: from a large-scale business to a small SaaS subscription-based installation model. Well, the numbers speak for themselves: CRM usage increased from 56% to 74%. So, it is really doubting if there is a need to refuse to accommodate it for your company, while it remains so efficient. Let me break it down, it is not suitable for each and every:
- You won’t take advantage of CRM if the type of your product is limited. These businesses are more likely to focus on vendor sourcing than on customers. Selling a limited edition of something, they always have the same database of large clients that purchase from them. Therefore, CRM can be irrelevant.
- Your budget will simply go down the drain with CRM if your company doesn’t serve hordes of customers. Software is only valuable when you aggregate and keep tons of data. Without much customer-centric information, you will only be emptying your pockets.
- You won’t find it useful either if your company does not follow a repetitive enterprise model. The thing with CRM is that it collects your customer’s history. But, why would you need it if your sales cycle is long with repeat business?
Knowing that you come to an understanding that no matter how good a CRM is at recording and systemizing data, it isn’t applicable in 100% of cases.
How do you maintain and manage relationships then?
1) Improve the first customer experience
Everyone falls back on CRM software relying on big hopes to resolve all concerns and create a long-lasting impression of care. But where are your initial efforts to make a customer happy and satisfied in the first place? You can incredibly enhance communication and build a strong first customer experience that will have the same exact effect as smart software.
2) Coordinate the work of the sales and marketing team
Keep in mind that no insightful communication between you and customers is possible without a partner network. Such a seamless integration will help you easily deliver the technology on the ground to customers. You can’t take dedicated team support throughout the entire implementation process for granted. Ensure the system is implemented smoothly with no misunderstanding on all sides.
3) Identify relationship stage
You need to distinguish at what point of the communication ladder you are in. These different phases can help you understand customers better and be on the same wavelength. Some need just a trivial quick questionnaire, some others require a long-lasting call. Remember that otherwise it can’t be fixed and retention can’t be gained. If there is something you can or have to fix, you will only figure it out by determining a stage of a relationship.
4) Understand consumer behavior through segmentation system
Customer segmentation holds a load of benefits for your business too. It allows you to divide audiences in accordance with their preferences and tweak strategies in a way that lets you yield better results. A good example is a McKinsey team observation of segmentation and how it boosts return on sales. And, most importantly, segmentation assists in personalizing communication and automating your communication for email, SMS, etc.
5) Use simple affordable automated services
Automate customer support with chatbots to engage your customers around the clock. Also, try not to overuse canned auto-scripted responses that have a bound effect on people. By combining both live chat and automated communication you will have the chance to deliver real-time support and spend a little fortune that you would need to donate to CRM software.
6) Foster personalized communication
It frequently happens that automated services create much pressure and awkwardness when a tool’s objective is designed to primarily digitalize everything and not serve human beings as such. It is a sign of dead communication if there is no sincere real-time feedback between two people, not machines. Trying to serve an individual’s needs and meet his/her expectations, try to provide personalized support. This will go a long way and, believe us, client trust and loyalty will be very strengthened.
7) Predict customer’s queries
Next, know your customer demands. Predicting issues should not, obviously, become a finger in the air and be well-thought-out and realistic. It is a significant and integral part of your interaction that can prepare you for some queries and requests in advance. Furthermore, all the repetitive and redundant steps in communication will be diminished.
8) Apply the best etiquette practices
The way you communicate shapes 90% of guarantee whether or not someone will do business with you. This signifies that training your team how to listen and respond to customer’s needs is a must. You should not judge a book by its cover and pay a deserved attention to everyone regardless of their mood, voice tone, etc. Make sure customers receive what they have paid for seeing them off the store or office with the feeling of comfort and appreciation.
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9) Don’t skip follow-ups
Most of us pull the plug on customer relationships after a once-in-a-time conversation has come to an end. But, avoid doing this like many big guys. Follow-up interaction should become your high-priority component. The problem with CRM software is that it uses cut-and-paste follow-up templates that look like cookie-cutter messages. However, you can improve your relationship management by generating more unusual types of follow-ups and stand out from those other companies that had adopted CRM.
10) Take advantage of social media
Depending on the targeted audience you are dealing with, you will want to pick one or two social channels of their preferences. Here’s why: it’s going to be easier to announce sales and promote new offerings at the platforms of customer’s active use and respectively easier to strike up a conversation there. Corner the market by talking to people in their comfortable places of interest and you won’t regret it.
To summarize, there is much more beyond ordinary CRM. The strategies presented can do more than just speak, but also navigate, segment, predict and serve customers. Choose the greatest ways that you think will have the greatest impact on your thriving company and get down to business.