Loyal customers are at the core of every business’ success—businesses have a 60 to 70% chance of selling to an existing customer, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5 to 20 percent. Maintaining customer relationships is no easy task, but if done right, it can help set your company apart from your competitors.

So, what exactly is CRM? According to the experts at CRM Magazine, ‘it is a company-wide business strategy designed to reduce costs and increase profitability by solidifying customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. True CRM brings together information from all data sources within an organization (and where appropriate, from outside the organization) to give one, holistic view of each customer in real time. This allows customer-facing employees in such areas as sales, customer support, and marketing to make quick yet informed decisions on everything from cross-selling and upselling opportunities to target marketing strategies to competitive positioning tactics.’

 

5  Ways to manage your CMR.

How can the business implement strategies to improve customer relationships? It is actually considerably easier than many may think. First and foremost, it’s about your talent. If you understand your employees and get the right people involved in relationship management, you’ll be at a benefit right away. But you should also be collaborative with the customers to see what they want and whom they want to work with. Remember, it’s a two-sided relationship.

 

  1. Listen to your customers. Listening to your customers is an easy way to maintain customer relationships. One way social media can help is by providing a space for businesses and customers to connect. By creating a company Twitter handle, Facebook page, and Instagram account, your company can help customers reach out if they have any concerns, issues, or feedback. Listening to them on these social networks will allow you to respond quickly.
  2. Enhanced Customer Service. This rule goes without saying, but as Ray Wang, a partner at Altimeter Group in San Mateo, California, put it best at CRM Evolution, ‘Customers no longer care about what department you’re in, they simply want their problem fixed.’ With social CRM channels like Twitter replacing traditional call centers, it’s imperative that everyone in your company buy into a singular customer service strategy. As the earlier cited American Express survey notes, good customer service can be the determining factor in repeat business. So why wouldn’t you focus extra attention on it?

 

  1. Start Small and Emphasize Human Touch. Everyone remembers the theme song to the ever-popular television series Cheers. Well it’s very true, as getting to know the names and faces of regular customers shows that you care. Additionally, as a small business, make the extra effort to emphasize face-to-face interaction as opposed to phone or email.

 

  1. Be genuine to your customers. People can spot a fake from afar, and the last thing you want your company doing is having an insincere business’ persona. Same goes for how you converse with your customers online or offline. Being genuine with your customers goes a long way when it comes to maintaining customer relationships. For example, if your customers are having issues with your product, provide an honest answer and don’t make promises you can’t keep. The worst thing you can do as a business is making false promises instead of an effective customer solution.

 

  1. Rewards. Every industry has companies who do reward and customer loyalty programs differently. It is a very simple form of saying ‘thank you.’ And particularly of late, loyalty programs seem only to have grown in popularity. Why? Customer loyalty programs are the next-generation marketing strategy. It is a viable and measurable marketing tool that small businesses can use to retain their customers and grow their business. It’s all about recognizing and understanding your customers (and each one is unique, so learn about each of them separately). Once you do that, you can gear a loyalty program around their habits, likes and dislikes.