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11 CRM best practices

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | June 21, 2016
Experts in CRM discuss how companies can best serve a mobile, multichannel clientele.

“Engage with your customers where they already are,” says Eric Bensley, director, Product Marketing, Salesforce. “In today’s hyper-connected world, every company is expected to provide a seamless, omnichannel service experience. And customers want to engage with brands where they spend their time – whether that's Facebook Messenger, Twitter, video chat or in-app,” he says. “Companies that engage in these channels not only create loyal, happy customers, [they] can leverage these service interactions to get even smarter about their customers.”

4. Understand where customers are in the purchase process/cycle. “People buy when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell,” says Clate Mask, cofounder and CEO, Infusionsoft, a provider of sales & marketing software. “By using a CRM tool to organize and analyze lead data, you can determine who is a hot lead, and who is in need of nurturing so you can guide them towards making a purchase.”

“With a CRM you are able to track where someone is in the sale funnel but also view previous consumer data for your clients,” says Michael Heiligenstein, marketing manager, Fit Small Business. “If you have a product that has a fixed or even semi-predictable life cycle, you [can] estimate when the consumer will be purchasing again. Then you can use your CRM to schedule a follow up exactly when they'll start considering another purchase.”

5. Provide the personalization customers crave. “Sending relevant, personalized emails based on timely and accurate customer data can increase click-through rates by up to 50 percent,” says Jason Rushforth, vice president & general manager, Customer Experience Business Unit, Infor, an enterprise software company specializing in CRM. And “with geolocation, sellers can send personalized messages and offers to customers as they approach a store location.”

Similarly, “delivering personalized website content and recommendations based on data from all of a customer’s interaction channels, both online and offline, improves engagement rates,” he says.

6. Eliminate pain points. “Get serious about fixing the things that frustrate your customers,” says Robert Wollan, senior managing director, Accenture Strategy. “Over half of the top 10 most frustrating customer issues are the same as they were over a decade ago.  Customers actually make it easy for brands to identify frustrating experiences if they are paying attention and will do something about it.

“Complaining on social media about poor experience is the norm for 44 percent of U.S. consumers who admit taking to social channels in order to vent,” he says. “Negative experiences can directly impact profitability and quickly send loyal customers to a competitor. Companies that build great customer relationships address poor experiences and fix them so they don’t happen again, to ensure customers get the experiences they want and deserve.”


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