Congratulations! Thanks to your hard work, you closed the sale and have a brand-new, happy customer. But don’t pop the cork on the champagne bottle quite yet – your job isn’t over. In fact, it’s just beginning. Maintaining strong customer relationships is crucial to maximizing profitability. With competition for customer wallet share growing fiercer, and the cost to acquire new customers growing higher, companies that focus on increasing customer retention rates gain a significant advantage. Providing exemplary customer service (even immediately after a successful sale) is essential to making loyal customers.
Show Your Appreciation
This may seem like an obvious point, but it’s shocking how often companies simply ignore a customer after a sale. You know that old saying – the opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s apathy. If a company signals indifference to a customer’s decision to choose them over a competitor, the customer will mirror that indifference and take their business elsewhere. Because why would a customer stick with a company that doesn’t care about them? Expressing appreciation to a customer shows that you value them and their business. A token of appreciation doesn’t need to be big or flashy – a handwritten thank you note, a coupon, a small special offer – can go a long way toward making a customer feel special. A positive emotional experience is what binds a customer closer to a company.
Know Your Customer
Working hand-in-hand with showing your customer appreciation is actually knowing your customer. What are their likes and dislikes? What are they looking forward to? What do they need right now, and a few months down the line? Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system is extremely valuable in keeping all of this important information in one place. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, sales reps can view all pertinent information on a customer record, such as contact details, location, and all past interactions with the company. By leveraging this information, sales reps can better understand and anticipate customer needs, and thus create more meaningful engagements. Microsoft Dynamics CRM also enables companies to include personal details about the customer, such as relationship status, birthday/anniversary, and can also link people who are related to that particular customer. For instance, in the below example, a sales rep can see that Emilia Clark is married to Dominic Clark – if Dominic Clark is also a customer of that company, the sales rep can link his customer record to Emilia’s as well.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps sales reps see a complete view of the customer, which facilitates more targeted – and more conversion-worthy – engagement.
To better serve your customers, you need to hear from the people who know best: your customers. As with any relationship, open communication is crucial for a mutually beneficial relationship between a customer and a company. Your customer wants to get the most value out of the time and money he gives to your company; your business wants to make him keep coming back. Encouraging feedback, especially negative feedback, helps you better understand what works and what doesn’t. Negative feedback is particularly valuable in that it a) helps you pinpoint and correct specific issues that are causing your customer headaches, b) helps you prevent other customers from experiencing those same issues, and c) gives you another opportunity to delight your customer. Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables sales reps to store all interactions with a customer on the customer record – from email, to phone, to in-person. This interaction history serves as a helpful reference point for future communication, leading sales reps to better connect with the customer’s needs. For example, in the case of Darla Worth (screenshot below), a past issue she experienced was a delivery of poor quality paper. While that issue was resolved and she continues to be a customer, a sales rep can follow up with her on if her paper orders have still been meeting her standard of quality. This attention to detail and consideration can be the difference between Darla being a company advocate or a company antagonist.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM keeps track of all interactions between the customer and the company, providing a useful reference of any previous issues, questions, or requests.
Investment in Customer Relationships Pays Dividends
The bottom line for any customer service initiative is the fact that if you invest in the customer, then the customer will invest in you. By putting in the effort to genuinely connect with your customers and make them happy, you can benefit from a long-term revenue stream. If you have any questions on how a CRM system can help you more effectively strengthen customer relationships, please email CRM@ignify.com.
Ashley Harbaugh is a Marketing Coordinator at Ignify. Ignify is Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.