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To improve customer relationships, businesses need three things: technology, people and processes. Here’s how CRM software will help.

When small to medium-sized businesses think of business software, they might think of complex tools that take long to implement, eating away the precious time you need to spend with customers and your core business. An irrational fear - especially when it comes to CRM software.

In fact, Customer Relationship Management software is designed to push your business to a more customer-centric and human approach. Here’s how.

Want to learn how other SMEs put their customers first? Here’s how Halito! became a customer-centric business in 5 simple steps.

1. Meet rising customer expectations

Potential and existing customers nowadays expect swift responses. So whenever they contact you, you’ll need to find the information you want easily without losing time. CRM software lets you access customer data in just a few clicks, helping you answer the following questions:Customer centricity access the right data CRM

  • What type of customer are you dealing with?
  • When did they first hear about your company and how?
  • Which emails did your customer open?
  • When did you last speak to this customer?

“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.” - Kevin Stirtz

With every phone call, every email, you want to know in a heartbeat: who am I dealing with, and how can I answer their needs most efficiently?

2. Be as mobile as they are

What’s more, customers don’t simply expect you to listen - they expect you to respond on their terms and conditions. Meaning: at the time, place and platform of their choosing. Especially in sales, your competitors are always lurking around the corner. So you need to be mobile if you don’t want to miss out on a sales opportunity.

Mobile CRM apps allow salespeople to provide a better customer experience, simply by having real-time access to product info, deals and contracts, and being able to respond to customer questions on-the-go. As there’s no need to wait until you get back to the office, you’ll now be able to follow up on leads and opportunities at exactly the right moment.

3. Stay in touch to show your love

The facts are clear: 20% of existing customers can generate 80% of a business’ profits, and the cost of retaining a customer is at least five times less than the cost of acquiring a new one. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to focus on customer loyalty. But how do you make sure customers stay satisfied and loyal? More than anything: by simply staying in touch.

Your CRM tool essentially serves as a vast database of information, helping you retain existing customers by providing them with relevant updates, offers, or other initiatives. It also allows you to segment customers and reach out to the right audience with the right message, instead of feeding them all the same universal, one-size-fits-all info. You could even go as far as segmenting your database based on last interaction, and proactively call (less active) customers to hear their concerns or feedback.

Infographic what is customer segmentation?

4. Foster personal relationships

Great customer relationships stem from ongoing and meaningful interactions. CRM software can help you keep track of important dates or milestones, such as your customer’s birthday, first-purchase date, etc. You can then send reminders whenever these occasions occur and reward loyal customers with special incentives. Using your CRM tool to create a more personalised experience builds loyalty. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a special birthday discount or follow-up email regarding a recent purchase?

"People may forget what you said - but they'll never forget how you made them feel." - Carl Buehner

Customer centricity personal relationships CRM5. Provide quick, high-quality support

A CRM tool can support your entire customer journey - from lead to customer and ultimately brand ambassador. When it comes to solving customer problems and handling complaints, you can ensure no inquiries are lost. Everything is logged and can be accessed online by all those involved. Once a customer sends in a request, you simply assign it to the right person, and track how long you need to resolve the issue.

"Loyal customers, they don't just come back, they don't simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you." - Customer centricity expert and keynote speaker Chip Bell

Some CRM tools also offer crucial support metrics: your first response time, the average resolution time for each ticket, individual performances of team members, you name it. After all, without measuring your current efforts, how would you ever be able to improve?

6. Offer what your customer wants

Building strong relationships means understanding what customers expect. CRM software will tell you what products or services customers were interested in before, what they asked for or what they already bought. You also know what problems they had before, and whether they were happy with the solutions you offered.

“Get closer than ever to your customer. So close, in fact, that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves. - Steve Jobs

In short: the history of past customer interactions in your CRM database helps you offer what customers really want, instead of what you think they want. You could program your CRM software to send automatic email sequences tailored for specific stages in the buyer’s journey, or whenever a customer asks for information or shows interests in your products.

And if that’s not enough to convince you - most CRM tools offer integrations with third-party software that will make your life even easier. As an SME, we don’t need to remind you how precious time can be. Are you ready to face the customer-centric future?