We recently talked about tips for successfully utilizing a CRM (Read it here), something you’re probably already using as a business owner. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is typically a software that helps your business keep track of… what exactly? Well, obviously things like phone numbers, addresses, lead status, purchase history, etc. But what do these things embody? It’s in the name; a CRM is a Management tool for Customer Relationships. So let’s discuss Customer Relationships, that you can better understand how to foster and keep those very things you need a CRM for. Google the words “customer relationships” and you’ll be met with a dizzying amount of articles, books, DVD’s, Podcasts and videos promising the newest techniques, software and guides to CRM. It can be daunting to say the least. Let’s take a step back and look at the basics of customer relationships.
As a consumer, would you rather do business with a personable company than the corporate machine of a big business? Of course you would. Having personality disarms your customers, they will be more likely to trust your recommendations. Don’t try to deceive your customers, are you a small company trying to get your foot in the door? Show it. Working out of your moms garage? Show it. Customers will be further compelled to give you their business if they can see you as a peer.
Understand what makes your product or service desirable.
It’s impossible to be relatable if you don’t have a true understanding of what drives your customers. It’s easy to think about your business concept from the wrong shoes. As a business owner you may have no problem coming up with reasons for making your product or offering your service. But you need to spend a lot of time looking at it from the perspective of potential customers. What are the real reasons they might be purchasing your product? What real-life circumstances lead them to booking your service? This is an easy exercise to shrug off, “Of course I know why people want what i’m selling”. But the more you explore this practice, the more you discover about your customers and how to serve them.
Take a look at the customer experience from start to finish.
Even if you simply sell an online product, what is the experience of the purchasing process like for your customers? How do you handle inquiries, returns, confirmations, packaging? Everything, no matter how small adds to the customer experience. Obviously this entails much more for a service-based business and should be treated as such. Every aspect of the process should be scrutinized until the customer experience is perfected.
The biggest downside of the countless books, products and techniques that you’ll find when researching this subject is that through all the fluff, we’ve been taught to do anything but be honest with our customers. We’re told to follow a call sheet, distract our customers with special offers, or avoid gripes they may have with our product or service using fancy techniques. The reality is, your customers will appreciate your honesty more than you may know. Calling up a customer and asking for feedback, apologizing for a mistake or simply telling them how much you appreciate their business can take you farther than any call-sheet or internet technique.