If your company have selected the right CRM tool or is close to making a decision, and you are now looking for ways to make the best use out of it or to plan the processes in the most efficient manner, this is the article for you. .

Three pillars of establishing a sound and blooming relations are laying a proper foundation for good relations, adding personalized scent to communication and leveraging the technology. Customer Relations Management is not only one department responsibility, but a sum of an effort of all your cross-division team members, from sales, marketing, customer servicing, and operations. Although following rules refers most to sales and support, they are applicable also to other areas.

Laying down the solid foundations.

1. Take care of the data.

How do you want to make right decisions, and move the business forward if you cannot trust data that you base your sales decision upon? Your all work rely on the information you store in your CRM. That is why you have to be sure that there are correct, updated and reliable. Plan regular data check and review. You do not want to duplicate the proposals you already sent. Or send a message about a discount for a client that is already paying the full price.

2. Make customer's history accessible.

Know your client's purchase history and past issues. You should have detailed information about your customer’s purchase history including dates, quantities, and terms. This would help to renew order or prepare more suited offer if clients decided to repeat the purchase or extend the product line he already has. What is more, people who are engaged in conversation with your customers should know the history of issues/problems and how they were resolved. Both problems found on your site and related to particular company or person. Your team should be aware of the situation and how it was handled, to convince the client it will not happen again. Share customer data with sales, marketing, and customer support reps, so everyone in your company can make the most appropriate decisions.

3. Prepare for the omnichannel interactions.

Today’s customers expect seamless service, regardless of the channel of communication they use. They can interact with you via email, social media, forms, chat or phone. Keeping track of reach out points, and being able to gather context information not only helps your team to provide an equally high level of assistance, that create happier, more loyal customers. It also provides your business with a better undertaking of the client's need, and gives you leverage to create more personal connection and hence provide better services.

Adding a personal flavor to communication.

4. Personalize the conversation.

A lot has been said about it. Make your interlocutors feel individual. Make communication personal. Don’t allow your reps to make them feel like they are just a number in your system or another person from the queue. Use the data harvested in research or from previous requests to make contact personalized. The more data you have, the more personalized you can get and the closer relation you can build Similarly, when preparing for negotiations with a new partner, or for a job interview, you always come prepared. Train your people also to do their homework. For Customer Support Agents, teach them to take a look at the history of issues, orders, previous communication. Moreover, to add notes with valuable information to be able to use it in the future. Speaking about business development managers or account managers, teach them to make it a habit to take a look at the data. Previous notes, dates, order history, also for support requests or projects. They might use the data to up-sale, cross-sale or offer better conditions for returning customers or concerning repeatable purchases.

5. Trained your employees well.

Even if your team is small, it serves two purposes. First, it is connected to servicing and sales. Your first line of contact should be trained not only to take the message (a call, chat or email). Agents should be able to actively approach the situation, listen to the client and ask questions. Focusing on solving the case or understanding the business need, helps to deliver better information and service. Moreover, most importantly it makes the customer feel that his need is being met, or problem is being resolved.

Secondly, it refers to cross-training. If you are small or medium size business, you want to be sure that in case of turnover or prolonged sickness other employees can pick up the slack when it was left and continue to provide excellent service. No matter, would it be following up on sales, replying to support requests or other processes. You should be able to sustain the level of services no matter the situation.

Leverage the technology

6. Take advantage of mobility.

In other words, use tools that allow you to access them from mobile devices. Thanks to this, you can always be in touch and will not let your customers wait long for a reply. Especially, early in the purchase cycle, you want to strengthen the trust and build a solid brand for your business.

7. Follow up the conversation.

Don’t let the unanswered questions hang out dry in the air. Follow-ups are essential to building stronger relationships with the customers - both in sales and customer support. Those are one of the tasks that can be automated, to save your valuable time, and not let to weaken connection or losing a lead that required nurturing.

8. Use Workflows.

No matter how big is your team is now, eventually, it will grow. Setting up processes and workflows right in the beginning saves you lot of trouble. It helps to ensure the customer servicing goes smoothly, it helps onboard new employees, and it provides team members with certainty. Workflows provide steps and information what to do next in sales, support, and feedback from customers. To get started, implement simple lists of steps, flow chart, or a mind map.

9. Set up and use the pipeline.

With the use of CRM, the correctly created process provides visibility into your organization’s pipeline. In this way, managers can accurately predict revenues based on the deals in and the stage they are in. Making it possible to track each deal, enables them also to support and guide sales reps if they come to an obstacle in closing, or encounter a setback.

10. Understand where your clients are in the purchase cycle.

As you well know, especially if you deal not in transactional sales, people buy when they are ready to buy, not when you are ready to sell. By using a lead tracking and scoring, you will be able to determine and distinguish between a hot lead, and a lead who needs nurturing and should be guided towards the purchase. What is more, if you have a somehow predictable lifecycle for a product, you can estimate or predict when the consumer will start considering another purchase. In this way, use CRM to schedule a follow up to get in touch and reach out in the right time.

What is the advice you would share? Leave your comments below.

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