Managing customer relationships is key to business growth. There are businesses just starting out that have one customer, and businesses in operation for over 200 years. All businesses, no matter how small start out with big dreams of accomplishing goals, making profits and making their customers happy. However, for many businesses, the dreams of profits get in the way of customer service. Companies fail because their customer service suffers. Your business doesn’t have to go the way of failed businesses. There are steps you can take to make sure that your business continues to make customer service a priority.
Improving Customer Service Using Software
One way to manage customer service effectively for your business is through the use of customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM software, such as Google Recommended CRM software, manages client details that are vitally important to establish and maintain customer relationships. These software packages keep customer purchasing data, but also details of each customer, such as birthdays, likes, dislikes and social accounts, as well as any information about family members who may also shop there. All of this information is important because research has shown that 80% of business profits come from approximately 20 to 30% of customers. CRM software helps businesses keep track of the customers and their buying patterns that give you the most business so that you can make sure these customers get the best customer service possible. This software also allows you to update your customers on new products and services, but perhaps more importantly, to respond quickly to customer complaints. Customers, especially customers that do a great deal of business with your company, appreciate a prompt response to a question or a complaint, and the more quickly you can resolve the issue, the better your reputation will be with that customer.
While you may want to invest in a CRM software package, butin order to really get the most out of your package, you must have a plan for your customer service relations. What data do you need to carry out your plan? What sort of customer service data is most valuable to your business? How can you use the data most effectively to grow your business? What do you want to know about your product from the perspective of your customers before they purchase and after the purchase is complete? All of these questions are important when you are trying to decide how to manage your customer service data. Businesses who have figured out how to use their data effectively to create better relationships with their customers are using their software to give them the information they need.
Communicating with Customers
In order to communicate effectively with customers, you must understand the customers themselves. First, you need to outline what a good customer experience would be with your company — in other words, what is your customer service vision? You may want to create guiding principles for your customer service vision and use them as guidelines for your business.
Second, you need to understand your customer. Your CRM software package can help with that. You can use the CRM software to give you a picture of what your average customer looks like, and their spending habits. You need to be able to empathize with your customers and be able to guide them towards purchases that will make them happy in the long run.
However, the customer relationships with a business must go further than purchases. You need to understand that flexibility is important in the customer-business relationship. For example, if you have a loyal customer who has purchased a great deal of merchandise from you, and they forgot their return receipt one day because they have a new baby and are just trying to keep their lives going, the expectation from the customer is that the business they frequent would be understanding and allow them to return the item without a receipt. This kind of flexibility and understanding of their needs is what cements a relationship between a client and a business.
While communication with customers seems difficult, it really doesn’t have to be. In the past, communicating with customers was difficult. It was a matter of sending phone calls and writing letters. In the 21st century, however, communication with customers is not as difficult, and technology allows you to target products and services to specific customers you know might benefit from them. In addition, if you are communicating with customers, you will be able to get feedback from them about particular products and work to improve them. Constant feedback from customers, and your attention to that feedback means that customers feel validated, and you receive important information to help your business.
Never Forget the Importance of Customer Service
Research has indicated that if a client has an emotional connection with a business is more likely to give your product or service a recommendation or a positive review. They are also more likely to repurchase an item or service they already paid for one if they are satisfied with the experience. The satisfied customer is far less likely to shop around at other stores for the goods or services you provide. Also, loyal customers are far less likely to defect for a discount — even if it is a large discount. How do businesses retain the loyalty of their customers? It appears that businesses retain customer loyalty by knowing ahead of time what they need, responding to that need by giving the customers what they want by providing that product or service for them, communicating with the client to see if their new product or service was effective, and continuing the feedback process after the sale has been complete for some time. Listening and responding to customer feedback is essential to retain client loyalty. If you are able to develop that kind of a relationship with your customer, you can work towards ensuring customer loyalty for years to come.
If you can balance profit-taking and success with the understanding that the whole reason you have profits is because you have good customer relationships or customer service you will be successful. Through constant marketing and communication with your customers, when they are satisfied and when they have complaints, your business will continue to grow and prosper.