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From recent adopters to CRM masters, there is no marketer or salesperson on Earth who isn’t looking to take the next step to improve their CRM. The easiest way to elevate your CRM to the next level is, surprisingly enough, to get back to basics.
What lies at the foundation of all good CRM? The answer, of course, is customers. Customers are you sole focus when developing a CRM strategy. They are your target audience, your feedback loop, and also your ultimate goal. So, when you ask yourself how to develop a more effective CRM strategy, what you’re really asking yourself is: how can I develop a more customer-centric strategy?
1. Never Underestimate Word of Mouth
These days it seems like everyone has their face buried in a laptop, phone or tablet, but when it comes time to discuss where to eat, what to buy, and where to spend their money consumers still rely heavily on word of mouth.
“Word of mouth is the most effective route to market for digital companies,” says Brett Hagler, cofounder of Hucksley. “It carries the highest amount of trust to consumers while still maintaining a very non-pressured approach.”
Of course today word of mouth might more accurately be described with a different phrase that encompasses all of social media and online reviews, but that doesn’t make this means of communication any less potent. In fact, the new longer-reaching word of mouth means that it’s that much more important.
2. Customer Feedback is Your Most Valuable Resource
Bill Gates, the well-known and respected creator of Microsoft, has said that, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” As in all things, it’s the tough stuff that really helps you improve your game. If you constantly surround yourself with “yes men” and ignore those customers that aren’t satisfied, you will soon find yourself tumbling down a slippery slope.
The only way to avoid this is incredibly simple: just listen. Listen to the your customers complaints, and then do everything in your power to address them. Your motivations will often pay dividends in the same way as your results.
Oftentimes customers don’t even really care so much that their problem has been fixed, they just want to know a company is listening and doing everything they can to help.
3. Be Forthcoming
Whether you’re brand new to the CRM scene or an old hand, there’s still an awful lot that can go wrong. The best way to handle this is to just be honest. It sounds like simple advice, but you’d be amazed how often it isn’t followed.
Even if your customer couldn’t be more wrong, you have to treat every complaint as if it’s valid. Keeping the customer feedback loop open is incredibly important to keeping you and your product relevant and desirable.
So be honest, and keep all channels of communication open with your customers, even if sometimes your really, really, really don’t want to.
CRM can be amazingly complex, but some of its most useful best practices really boil down to simple common sense. It’s not always easy following the advice above, but if you can manage it you will see huge growth in the value of your relationships with your customers.
Listen to your customers. They are an amazing resource, and giving them what they want is what keeps them coming back – and in the end that’s all you’re really after.