Thursday, June 6, 2013

Has Your CRM Failed You…Or Are You Failing It?

There are many flavors of CRM and many uses, but for our purposes today, let’s start with a simple united definition.

As a goal oriented person, I’ll cut to the chase and define it like this:

 A method by which one can improve customer service and increase revenue.

 Sounds like great stuff, right? Who doesn’t want to achieve those two goals?

Are you achieving those goals with the CRM tools that you use?

·      Or, has your tool become a chore to you and/or your employees, so it goes unused?
·      Or, is your tool used sporadically and therefore does not reflect the level of detail that allows you to provide exceptional customer insight?
·      Or, are you too “busy” to use the tool when you are engaging with your customers?
·      Or, do you or your employees not really understand how to utilize the CRM tool so it feels like a waste of money?
·      Or, are you pretty savvy with your CRM (Or hired someone to do it for you) and you have pre-set triggers that send emails, reminders and offers to customers? (This one can be the MOST dangerous if you have done something wrong to a customer and then they receive a reminder to come visit you again, or a ‘canned’ 10% offer on their next visit. This is a HUGE turn off to customers. You have probably lost them if you do this without precautions in place.)

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you are failing to properly use CRM within your organization and should immediately seek help to develop a strategy to solve this harmful problem.

Why is this so urgent?  Competition has never been greater. If you are a brick and mortar company, you are literally dying a slow death (sometimes, not so slow). If you are an Internet based company, your customer is only one click away from using someone else. This is reality.

There is such great opportunity available for you. If you are in a leadership role in your company, you must engage with your customers by using your CRM tool properly – or don’t use it at all.  

How do you do this? Here are three basic actions to take that will make a vast improvement in your Customer Satisfaction:

·      Be certain every employee is trained thoroughly on the system.
·      Ensure there is a mechanism to send unique and special apologies, offers of SPIFs, etc. when you have had a bad transaction with a customer. Be certain that the ‘canned’ reminders and offers do not reach your customers before you have completely reinstated and repaired your relationship to their satisfaction.
·      Demand that your employees use the system. This is especially important if you have a Call Center environment or Customer Service staff. Nothing frustrates customers more than trying to repeat the problem they are trying to remedy over and over again. In contrast, a customer likes to hear, “Thank you for calling Ms. Smith. I’d like to review your notes on the problem that you reported so that I can assist you properly. Is that ok?” Then confirm the problem and get the customer’s confirmation that you understand – and then solve their problem! The potent thing about CRM is that if used correctly, you have the data to view your most reported problems and then fix the issue before the problem occurs. You also have the data to see what resolutions pleased the customer most times and empower and train your staff to resolve the issue with the most likely remedy. (This requires integration of your CRM and your Script Writing Team in your Customer Relations / Call Center Department. It is critical!)

CRM is an extremely powerful aid when used properly. (I had a client who increased share of wallet 4X over in less than 9 months!) However, it can also be extremely harmful or a waste of money if not used properly. And the best advice I can give to those who are administering the tool themselves is to implement the features one by one, test results (seed your CRM database just as you would a DM list), make adjustments as necessary and then implement the next best feature for your customers, repeat.

Most importantly, do not flood your customers with emails, newsletters, offers, etc. This will get you on a junk folder status before you can say CRM!

Good luck! Feel free to write in more questions and as always…Happy Marketing!

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