How to Get a 360 Degree Overview of Your Customers
When a customer interacts with an organization, it is important for the receiver to have enough information available to give the customer a great experience. It is also important to be able to prioritize customers to get the best return on invested time.
When implemented properly, CRM gives companies not only insight into the opportunities to grow business with each customer, but a way of measuring their value. Despite what you might think, not all customers are created equal. Some are a drain on customer service resources despite spending very little.
Other customers do business frequently, often buy new products and services and may even be strong influencers in their market. CRM helps to prioritize sales and marketing efforts to this group. It also gives companies a better way of understanding customer needs and wants in order to improve the way the product portfolio is offered to them.
Let’s take look at two examples:
- Let’s say that you have a sales person getting ready for a contract meeting with a major customer. When they meet, it appears that the customer has talked to the consulting department in your company about some important issues in your product, but he hasn’t heard back from them. He is disappointed and wants to postpone signing the contract indefinitely because he lost trust that your company can deliver what they need. The salesperson is embarrassed and upset over having lost the sale. He believes that if he had known about the issue in advance, he could have opened the meeting by ensuring that he would solve the problems, and thereby get the customer’s trust.
- Or, a customer has purchased a product from your company, but hasn’t paid after repeated reminders. The Finance and Accounting department send the case to a collection agency, and terminate the agreement because of a missing payment. The Sales Department is not aware of this, and six months later a seller starts a sales process the same company again. And the cycle repeats itself.
In both cases, these people could have benefited from shared communication from other parts of the business.
How to get a 360 degree overview of all customer interactions
Now that you have a CRM solution, how do you ensure that it gives you a 360 degree overview of all customer interactions? We suggest two things:
1. Everyone should register all relevant customer interaction:
- Track phone calls: All employees who have customer interaction should record the gist of phone calls in the CRM system. Customers may raise issues on the phone with sales people or customer service. Even if the problems are solved there and then, these issues are valuable sources of information for later, perhaps if you want to check the customer history for reasons for termination.
- Track your emails: Always archive important emails in the CRM so it is part of that company’s communication history. You probably send and receive emails to and from customers, prospects, partners, or suppliers every week, and once in a while you get something really valuable to a project or sale. In many cases, others in your organization could benefit from accessing that information.
- Register prospects and customers: When a prospective customer actually fills out a form on your website to gets in touch with you, that is a strong signal that he or she is interested in your product. And you need to do everything you can to show that person how your product can help. This is much easier to do if you have them all in a central system.
- Register sales: When receiving a lead, always open a new sale on that company’s contact card. You are then able to forecast your sales and control your pipeline. Then others can see that you are in a process with that particular company, and will hopefully not interfere with your sales process. You can also make sure no prospects are slipping through the cracks by creating a selection of all your open sales and monitor this selection.
2. Share customer interactions across departments:
CRM software combines all sales, marketing and customer service information into one central database. As well as recording customer information such as phone numbers, addresses, and last contact made, the software also records what was discussed, what the next follow up date is and even the status of an open item. This information can then be used to manage, measure, and keep track of marketing, sales and customer service activities as they relate to the customer. Overall, it builds greater customer loyalty and a better customer experience.
Since a CRM system centralizes all customer-facing information, silos and finger-pointing are significantly reduced. Sales can’t blame Marketing for not communicating with them. Marketing can’t blame Sales for not implementing their campaigns and Customer Service can’t blame Sales for disgruntled customers. Everyone has the same access to customer information.
It also allows employees in areas such as sales, marketing and customer support to make quick and informed decisions on everything, from up-selling and cross-selling, to improving the quality of customer communication and responsiveness, and coordinating sales and marketing campaigns, just to name a few.
Of course, we understand why some companies want to only test the waters with a few licenses, but if you really want to get the most out of the CRM solution, everyone in the company has to adopt the customer-centric view. This is where you will derive the most value and your customers will get the best customer experience.
If you’re interested in how you can get more value from you CRM system, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.