Do your customers think you’re deaf?
Sometimes we shut off when there’s something we’d rather not hear. But when you run a business, you have to be all ears – and open to every single piece of feedback from your customers, the good and the bad. Negative comments can either be viewed in a dim light or one that enables a bit of reflection.
If you think about it logically, it’s the not-so-gleaming reviews of our products and services that ultimately make us better. They’re the ones that make us strive to improve and enhance and prove that we’re better than our previous models. The last thing you want is for your customers to feel neglected – like you’re not listening or worse, that you hear them, but you just don’t care.
Why it’s time to look, listen and learn
It may be a good few decades ago that we were taught to look, listen and learn. But it’s that exact principle that will deliver us greater customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately better returns today and tomorrow.
Looking at your CRM is one of the best ways to retain existing clients. And it’s a well-known fact that retaining existing clients is significantly cheaper than securing new business. Yet doing so can be a lot more challenging if you don’t have the right tools or your staff aren’t competent in using them – or worse, afraid, confused or apathetic about using them.
Frequently checking your CRM can give you so much information about your existing clients – what makes them tick, what turns them off and most importantly, what keeps them returning to your products and services rather than turning to your competitors.
You can configure your CRM to automate prompts that alert you to keep regular contact with your customers. The result? They feel like you’re reaching out to them on a personal level, tending to their needs and reminding them of your product or service range that is always there to help them with their individual requirements.
You can also simply automate time-sensitive information in each account within your CRM for example, knowing when a customer’s password for their login is due to expire. You could send them a helpful reminder, nudging them to create a new one. This in turn, gets them thinking about you again and puts you at the front of their mind – where you want to be at all times. Constant contact builds relationships and relationships – when quality leads are nurtured correctly – create more sales and a better return.
Listening to your customers via your CRM
How many times have you had a conversation with someone but sensed they just weren’t listening? You were both talking but everything you threw into the conversation just got spat back out with a random response about something completely unrelated. Frustrating isn’t it? Well, that’s exactly how your customers feel when they constantly nudge you with comments on how to improve or queries about your products and you ignore them. They get tired, bored and irritated and turn elsewhere to find a company that will listen to them.
Taking on customer feedback and proactively working to implement their suggestions will both reassure the customer that you are listening plus help to secure satisfaction and loyalty. You can use your CRM to make this process easier by capturing customer feedback scores. For example, you could include a link to a short survey form in an automated e-mail when a support ticket is closed or when an order is dispatched.
Remember, there’s no rule stating you can’t check out what the competition’s customers are saying either – and taking stock of whether the competitor is listening. If they’re not, make sure you’re filling that gap and convert customers as well as sales!
Learning about your customer via CRM is rarely straightforward. Remember to have an open mind and be willing to accept that there might be some pretty radical changes and differences over time. What you think you know about what your customers want from social CRM may well be completely wrong.
Research has shown that customers don’t love you for your online personality but actually, they want to receive additional benefits such as discounts (61%), or they want to make a purchase online (55%) or simply they want to check our reviews and product rankings (53%).
Surprisingly though, check out the top three reasons businesses think those same customers interact with them via social media: to learn about new products (73%), to learn general information (71%) and to submit opinions on products and services (69%).
Keep track of your CRM, keep listening and keep an eye on the competition and their customers to ensure that you don't fall into that trap.
Gareth is Director of Digital Marketing at Clever Little Design. He's interested in B2B marketing, search, technology and customer service - and essentially how the customer should be placed at the centre of all marketing (and business) strategy.