If you’ve decided to use, or are already using a CRM system in your company (and if not — why not?) then you already know just how much more smoothly customer service can flow once the software is fully integrated and all the bugs are worked out. Unfortunately, the software can only work within the parameters you set for it. If you don’t understand fully how to use it, and few of us really do understand the full 100% potential of any CRM out there, you can still have a ton of holes in your customer service game that you aren’t even aware of.
Here are my 8 tips for using your CRM to its true potential:
1. Track and Hang on to Everything
Yes, you need to track your sales, contact information and contact history with clients. Nobody’s going to dispute that. However, it’s never been easier to go the extra mile and store their special interests like UFC or golf, and their hobbies and interests — all in one place. With a CRM, you can keep all this data on a single page and make a point to spend a few minutes a couple times a week doing a quick Internet search on those interests and hobbies that can help you further the relationship beyond typical business calls, meetings and texts.
2. Find Your Top Fishy
This will go against everything most of us have been told about customer service: ie., every customer is your most important customer. While that’s true in theory, most of your profits only come from a small percentage of your overall customers. Use your CRM to analyze your sales data and identify your top fishies: the ones who infuse the most cash into your business. Then you can make sure you’re allocating the most resources to those most important to your bottom line.
3. Follow up With Exisiting Customers Constantly
New customer acquisition is important. It’s also very expensive! Set up alerts in your CRM to make sure you follow up with your existing customers to make sure they don’t forget about you. Set up a follow up schedule that makes sense to your business and how it runs. A simple thank you email, or “how are we doing?” can go a long way toward hanging on to your heavy hitters and making them feel like you value their business.
4. Don’t Set Yourself up to be Ignored
Getting through your customer’s built in media filters can be tough. Plug their contact preferences into your CRM as soon as you acquire them as a client and make it a point to always scan their file before sending out email blasts or trying to contact them on social, by text, phone call, etc. Every professional has their own individual preferences, and will generally ignore or plain not see, emails if they prefer texts; or questions made through social engagement if they can’t be bothered.
5. Respond to Inquiries and Complaints Instantly
There’s no excuse for letting a question or complaint linger for more than a couple of hours. We do live in a social world and an antsy customer knows they can tarnish your image pretty quickly if they have the reach to do so. Set up your CRM’s social monitors to alert you whenever posts are made by any of the social accounts associated with your clients and their employees (this is why it’s so important to capture this data when the first contract is signed). An auto-responder message that posts a simple “We will be in touch with you immediately, feel free to call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX if you don’t wish to wait” can go a long way to quelling any storms that are brewing.
6. Don’t be an Info Miser
Some managers feel that employees shouldn’t be trusted and don’t allow cloud-based access from outside the the office, afraid they’ll go off on their own and take clients with them — etc. This can be severely limiting when that employee spots an existing or potential customer in public and they don’t have access to info that can help them start a successful conversation or close a sale. Worse, what if they get contacted by a client off hours and they’re sitting there on the phone like an idiot not knowing anything about the client’s details?
7. Integrate Your CRM With Other Data and Contact Systems
All good CRM’s will integrate relatively seemlessly with other data trackers, apps and contact resources. This includes, but is not limited to website contact form submissions, email providers, company servers, data tracking apps, document software, IM software, and more. With open source CRM’s coming out of the woodwork every day, there’s no excuse for using a CRM that doesn’t integrate fully with your current customer service management system and protocols.
8. Use CRM’s to Keep From Making Clients Feel Jostled Around
There’s no reason why a customer should ever be shuffled around to a different contact every time they call. With a CRM in place it’s never been easier to assign specific agents and salespersons to individual clients, to streamline their experience and make them feel more valuable and their needs better understood.
Main image from Property Base