CRM systems that work for customers
Article

CRM systems that work for customers

Take aways
  • Good customer relationship always adapts to evolving customer needs.
  • Effective communication, in clear and consistent messages, usually brings in more sales.
  • Effective customer engagement and communication creates more value for CRM systems.

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems alone are not enough to build quality customer relationship. Organisations should continuously engage with customers to understand their evolving needs and expectations, and communicate with consistent and relevant messages. Any customer engagement initiative should also leave room for frontline staff to creatively and empathetically interact with customers.

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems, such as customer relationship analytics and salesforce automation, are some of the popular enterprise systems capturing data and views about customers. However, customer expectations are not static and must be captured on an ongoing basis. CRM systems don’t create customer relationship, but the right customer engagement does.

Capture evolving customer needs

Organisations always think what their customers want most are cost-effective products or services that deliver benefits as promised. However, customers want their needs to be satisfied, oftentimes beyond what those products or services provide. Meeting customer needs and expectations is a prerequisite to building a relationship.

Customers have somewhat predictable needs and expectations, depends on where they are in the customer lifecycle. Early in the lifecycle, customers need simple advice and recommendations, while a need of more personalised offers comes in later stages. These insights enable you to offer a targeted approach to customers, offering them the right kind of information or assistance when they need it. Doing this right helps you retain them. It is often expensive and ineffective if you try to capture and support customer interactions in all stages of the lifecycle.

Actual costs of customer relationship

The actual costs of customer relationship are more than the price per seat of a CRM system. They also include costs of extracting customer-related information from internal systems and channels that are not directly facing customers. The final figure is likely much higher than you think.

Complex customer profiles do not help

Some sectors are building massive customer profiles in order to manage customers better. This approach makes good sense if the product or service is very complex, such as in the construction sector where there are many actors and transactions. However, most other sectors do not need this level of complexity to manage customer relationship. In fact, complexity of this kind does not lead to higher sales, unless you have direct access to customers and are able to target them directly.

It’s about communication

Communication is central to any successful relationship. In terms of customer relationship management, communication needs to be consistent and of high quality – timely, focused, relevant, reliable, and clear. This rule also applies to responses to customer enquiries and complaints. With or without a CRM system, improved customer communication usually leads to higher sales.

On average, customer service agents spend 11% of their time looking for information that is needed to interact with customers.

Let staff be creative on their own

Many staff don’t actually use the CRM systems to devise solutions to customer enquiries or issues. They instead use their personal experience and empathy to help their customers. To these staff, CRM systems are where they retrieve or record information about customers, and that is it. Therefore, any customer engagement initiative should also leave room for frontline staff to creatively and empathetically interact with customers.

Unleash the potential of CRM systems

Many organisations have made massive investments in CRM systems. They can capitalise on these investments by adopting the customer perspective and delivering the services that customers value the most. Clear and timely communication also helps create a fantastic customer relationship.