Many, probably most, large companies have large customer relationship management (CRM) teams set up to, in essence, increase profits. A loyal customer is normally one who gives a better return on investment. You might think, however, that for a small company, struggling to survive in the ultra-competitive world of bulk email marketing, it is a waste of resources. If you sell as cheaply as possible won’t customers still beat a path to your door?
Of course they will, right up until another company undercuts you by half a percent.
The best description of CRM I’ve heard is that it is massage, not manipulation, something that all of us who have been to physiotherapists would prefer. CRM is a simple enough process, one easily conquered at its most basic level.
All the books will tell you that it is not all to do with database management and the effective use of your email marketing list. With such an overwhelming consensus it must be right. However, if we ignore the needs of multi-national companies then some doubt comes into the matter.
CRM is merely a tool, although a particularly effective one. A satisfied customer will stay on your email marketing list. The more criteria, or data fields, you have on each customer, the more you can predict their behaviour and ascertain their needs. All methods of obtaining details are of benefit. You need to identify those customers who, or who have the potential to, give the best returns and target them.
Feedback can be of enormous benefit. All means of communication between these top customers and you should be exploited. This requires a joint effort by all staff.
Sales staff might well be privy to an off-the-cuff comment, a criticism or praise, either is as useful. This will let you know the preferences or dislikes of similar customers. If they phone your company then the person taking the call should be aware of their importance and ask, perhaps, at the end whether they have any other concern or comment. If the reply is given without a lot of thought, then you are likely to know what they really think.
Website data will give you an insight every bit as valuable as transactional data, such as how frequently they buy. If they favour a certain style of product then others in the same group will.
Reviews make many companies nervous for many reasons but if one of your valued customers suggests they are pleased with the product, but cannot give five stars because of one particular facet, then design it out. Email marketing thrives on response to data.
If a customer complains then your response should be quick and precise. Accept what they say although there should, of course, be critical assessment of their, and therefore their grouping’s value to you.
CRM in email marketing amounts to, in part, responding to the needs of your customers. Your email marketing software allows you to identify those who are most valuable to you and to ensure your response to their purchases, comments and criticisms increases their satisfaction. Ensure by simple massage that there is a risk for them in moving to the email marketing list of another company.