Customer Relationship Management System is a wonderful thing. Especially if you are the customer as I found out recently. What was a normal day unexpectedly contained one of those things in life regardless of country or language that makes your heart sink. For me it was a minor fender bender. It was only a minor collision at slow speed with another car, but enough to warrant a trip to my local garage to get it checked out. After inspecting the damage, the guys told me it was bad news. Though it looked superficial, the impact had caused damage that would need to be fixed through my car insurance.
My shoulders dropped.
What you will learn in this article
- What happened next
- Why customer experience matters
- How CRM can help
- Fixing your customer experience
- How to get started with CRM
And so the nightmare began
Well, actually it didn’t. Despite me imagining a protracted fight to get the damage repaired and wrangling to get a replacement car, none of that came to pass.
To my utter surprise – and relief – it turned out to be a smooth experience. I called the body shop and they took me through the process step-by-step. I called my insurance company and spoke to a lovely agent. A day later my replacement car arrived and my damaged vehicle was taken away to be fixed. Within a matter of days, my car was back completely repaired and looking like new.
So what turned my personal negative into a positive experience I am willing to share with the world? Distilling it down – it was three companies that cared about their customers and doing everything they could to get my car fixed and keep me mobile in the meantime.
Why customer experience matters
Working behind the scenes was CRM.
- The insurance and car rental companies – Established partners with CRM systems in place for booking and sharing information.
- The accident repair garage and insurance companies – Ditto. They are linked by shared systems to approve repairs and settle bills.
The common thread running through all these transactions is CRMs that enable seamless staff and customer interactions.
The moral of this particular tale is that back-office processes can be made silky smooth to deliver a service where the customer is placed first. Ultimately, my customer experience in this instance is no more different than that encountered by your customers. Customers of small businesses are the same, they want:
- Personalized experiences
- A human connection with you and your company
- A positive, hassle-free process
How CRM can help
The behind-the-scenes processes are part of how you optimize your business. And CRM enables that at scale. By automating back-office processes and streamlining the customer journey, you can dedicate more staff time with customers. CRM (Customer Relationship Management in full) helps you nurture your relationships and be more successful. In that sense, CRM is the enabler. It’s not a substitute for old fashioned customer-business relationship building.
However, in some instances, companies have lost the plot with CRM. They have lost sight of CRM being implemented to help customers and staff. Indeed, ask five people to define CRM and you will get five different answers.
What has happened is that businesses have been:
- dazzled by the technology
- focused on analyzing customer data from 300 different angles
- forgotten about the customer experience.
The result has been businesses that feel remote and systematic. Ironically, CRM which was introduced to store vital customer data and boost relationships, has become a source of friction. Sadly, it’s estimated that slightly over half of all CRM implementations end up wide of the mark and inhibiting positive customer experience. If not used correctly, a CRM could cost you money rather than generating it.
Fixing your customer experience with CRM
So long as you acknowledge that CRM is an enabler, not a substitute, you can be relatively confident it will make a significant difference to your small business.
You don’t need to be told small business has an advantage over larger counterparts in terms of personal touch. While you may have got by thus far with manual systems to make the customer experience step change required you are going to need CRM.
CRM works by giving your entire organization the visibility it needs to make customer experience their top priority. Using a shared platform and having access to a complete customer picture helps you:
- Make more sales
- Build better customer relationships
- Craft tailor-made marketing messages
- Improve your customer service
- Build customer trust in your brand and more
It’s the holistic end-to-end approach of CRM that enables you to strengthen relationships and address ever increasing expectations regarding customer experience. No matter which industry or niche you occupy, it is people that are at the core of your business. You have little choice but to put customer experience front and center of all you and your business does.
Going back to my unfortunate car trouble, CRM should exist in the background. It should be working quietly backstage to support your customer relationships, not inhibit them. Improving customer experience is something you should always strive for in today’s highly competitive world. CRM is the ace up your sleeve; technology that enables you to wow people without getting in the way of what’s important; the customer.
How to get started with CRM
It’s never too late or too early to get going with CRM. Regardless of whether you are a small business or a multinational enterprise, the case for CRM is compelling. Having seen how CRM can help, the next step is to do something about it. And that something for small businesses is cloud-based CRM. Cloud CRMs are completely online. You sign up and log in. Therefore, the cloud is, without question, the way to go for small businesses. These systems are affordable, easy to implement and use, and can scale up when required.
If you want to grow your business with first-class customer experience, it’s time to invest in CRM. Your first port of call should be us, of course. Contact us today. We are cloud CRM specialists with a sharp focus on the needs of small business.