How to Consistently Keep Your Customers Happy
It would seem like magic how some companies seem to always be on the forefront on giving customers what they want when they need it, yet also somehow make you happy to do business with them. The truth is, what seems like magic is in fact a generation-long trial and error of what we today call Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software implementations that have told companies what is trending now and in the future, so as to be ahead of the curve and ready for many scenarios should they come to the forefront. This empowers Marketing, Product development and Management to work as a cohesive unit to drive the message and products that will resonate with customers and power the Sales force to grow the business.
The secret is in looking at the question a different way. It isn’t about making every possible lead into your customer, but rather identifying what customers you can consistently keep happy, by understanding their needs in the short, medium and long term.
Sounds difficult, but the first step is in fact just showing up. By this we mean track your leads and customer contacts in a database that brings value to you in the short, medium and long term. CRM systems have been the choice of successful companies for decades, but recently Cloud CRM vendors have made the future available today for any sized company in any vertical market.
How do you identify which customers are the ‘low hanging fruit’? There are many ways to look at your customers – by territory, by sales rep, by product, by business cycle, by quarter, etc. However the secret sauce lies in your hard-earned knowledge and feel of what is going on and implementing the correct fields in the database for the entire company to ask each customer/lead and enter the correct field into the CRM system to back up your theory.
Don’t have time to track info on your customers?
You would be surprised. With today’s self-service customizability and hands-on consulting and implementation teams, the power is in your hands out of the gate. This full customizability is best seen in Cloud CRM products as they have delivered not only the user interface that employees will use, but also powerful admin features that allow for self-service customization of the fields, workflow, reports, analytics, etc to drive the engine. You can literally point and click to add a field and have a report showing real time progress in minutes. Full Cloud CRM implementations can be in hours/days or weeks for more complicated businesses.
Track what your competition is doing in the CRM.
In a good CRM system you want to track the campaigns offered up by the competition, or competitive promotions that are brought to you by their customers that are on the ‘first invite’ list. Successful businesses today record these promotions and create counter-promotions that are live in hours to give sales a go-ahead to offer a complimentary or better deal, or to just choose to ignore it. At least you know the history of what happened and how you reacted so you can plan for the same time next year. This is about the long term strategy of tracking all leads that transferred into customers based on the campaign running at that time that converted them.
Do a full requirements analysis of each lead/customer and save it in the CRM system. You may not fill in all the information right away, maybe you fill it in over time, but the act of asking what are their current pressing needs, and being innovative in the offering of a solution is the name of the game. With good history of information as to what your customers are requesting at any given time, allows the CRM system to better arm your sales force with the right content they need at each of the customer touch points and buy points in the cycle.
Track your failures as well as your successes. When you understand why you are losing deals, you are better prepared. Detect them and react early enough and you may recognize earlier long term trends that are fundamental in your growth plans. Customers hold the key to the future and they vote with their wallets. If you find out from them why they went with another vendor, or why they are putting the deal on ice for a while, and then devise a strategy to answer it. You will reduce the time to close deals and up the win ratio for the better. Many times you find it is a simple lack of understanding of their needs vs who you are and what you have to offer. Many issues can be quickly rectified but it is the ability to separate the meaningful from the meaningless is the key. A good CRM system can help with this.
Never stop innovating – on the right things that is.
Many business challenges can be solved by better innovating in some capacity. You need to be able to identify, however what to innovate on and that is not an easy task. Innovate on the right thing at the right time and you are a winner. Be too innovative too quickly and you burn out. Not innovating enough and you are left in the dust. A good CRM system is constantly evolving with the times and is listening to what your customers have to say and are giving you the insight you need in real time and as well in aggregate. The longer you use it, the more valuable it becomes as the information grows and is refined. This insight is crucial in identifying where to put valuable resources that are in short supply and reduces risk in innovation.
Scattered spreadsheets and a mish-mash of databases does not a company grow. If you want to truly grow and prosper in the short, medium and long term then you need to learn “How to Consistently Keep Your Customers Happy” This whitepaper will help you understand what leading companies large and small are doing today to create great customer relationships.