No matter what business we are in, the customer should always be at the center. Virtually every aspect of our business has a direct correlation to how well we treat our customers and how well we manage issues that occur. This includes sales, marketing, production, and revenue.
Customer relationship management is a very important aspect that all business owners should consider seriously and look for ways to improve.
Customer relationship management “refers to the principles, practices, and guidelines that an organization follows when interacting with its customers.” (Investopedia)
In concept, this should a well-defined, thought-out system that your entire organization is aware of and executes with every customer interaction.
This may be counter-intuitive for some folks, as they may think that customer service relies on human interaction and that human interaction is natural for most people. This idea ignores the fact that no matter how big of a smile, how accommodating we are, or how good our product is, problems can still arise within the purchase process.
The key is to make sure we inform employees not only about the strategy but of the company’s customer relationship culture. We can make this possible by:
To create your customer relationship management strategy, or to improve an existing one, I suggest starting with two concepts.
Many things can go wrong in our business, either with our service or our product.
Common issues include faulty service or product, delays in shipping, communication issues.
When these things happen, customers may want to return the product or demand some sort of compensation for lackluster service. This is money out of your pocket, so it’d be wise not to repeat those mistakes.
Therefore, it’s important to:
Consider feedback from customers as a key to uncovering cracks in your system or defects in your product. It can also lead you to the core issue with your services or product, or even issues with your customer relationship strategy.
You will save a lot of time and money when you uncover problems and fix them early on through customer feedback because it allows you to make changes to prevent those problems in the future. It also gives you insight into what the customer is thinking and what they expect from you.
Training your team to handle customer feedback and complaints will ensure that you are getting honest feedback and can also help rectify some of the issues that customers may have.
The managers of your store, office, or production area have to be actively involved in the customer relationship strategy. When it comes to customer complaints, they are often the first or second line of defense.
Making them a key point in the strategy lessens the number of issues you, the business owner, have to deal with by filtering only the most urgent problems for you.
Therefore, they have to be well-equipped to get customer feedback, handle complaints, and lead other employees.
You can educate them by:
If you are implementing or changing a customer relationship management strategy, let the managers know ahead of time so they have time to prepare for these changes. You should also get their input on what changes they would suggest, being that they are the first or second line of defense in customer service.
Once we create a new strategy, train them and give them the tools they need so they become experts at the new system. This may also uncover any flaws in the system or issues you may have not considered. Work through those things together. Once managers are trained, they will train the rest of the employees and set an example for their subordinates.
Recognize and reward them for the work they do. Being in the day-to-day with customers is no easy task, and giving managers their props lets them know that what they are doing is correct and that you appreciate their work.
Tracking the Sales Pipeline
Another good way to see how good your customer relationship strategy is, is by tracking your sales pipeline. The sales pipeline is a picture of where customers are in the sales process. Some people use a CRM system to manage this, or we can use an excel sheet at a minimum. This will give us valuable knowledge of where we are gaining and losing customers. Once we identify this, we can then assess how we can improve customer relations. You can learn more about sales pipeline tracking in this article.
A good customer relationship management strategy will help to increase your sales while ensuring that your store or business has a repeat customer. Ultimately, this may look a little different for every business, so it’s important to consult with a coach to discover the perfect system for you. We suggest scheduling a complimentary coaching session. We only offer 5 per month, but if you act soon we guarantee to connect you with a coach who will work with you and your business.
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As your Business Coach and advisor, I will help you deliver the results you desire using proven tools, methodologies and systems, tested and perfected over tens of thousands of businesses worldwide for over more than two decades. I will hold you accountable for your results and just like a sports coach, push you to perform at optimal levels. Let's schedule a complimentary Business Coaching session to get started.