You think you know your customer. You don’t.
For any company looking to continually add value to the customer experience, it pays to know as much as you can about the customer. Many businesses I talk to say that have a customer service system or sales tool, but when pressed they haven’t got a single view of that customer across all interactions they have with them. Things like how they came to be a customer, what they bought, what their experience of the product (including post-sales support). These are all nuggets of information gold, but what use is gold if it just lays there on the ground, scattered and without the means to scrape it all together and gain the maximum value from it?
Do you have a comprehensive view of your customers?
For a lot of companies critical customer information is stored throughout the organisation, in various business units and in multiple disparate information systems that don’t integrate with each other. Marketing campaign information resides in one database, sales data in other, project delivery information (for example in the case of an IT system deployment) in another and product support activity in yet another. The problem with this is that no one in the organisation has a comprehensive, end‑to‑end view of the customer. And without that information, opportunities to generate further revenues from that customer can be lost. Also at stake is the perceived professionalism of the business: When a customer talks to their product provider, they like to think that that business knows their history with them. But how can this happen when no single person in the business has all that information? The key is knowing everything you possibly can about the customer when you need to know it.
Connecting critical information
What’s required here is a business management solution that can tie all that information together and present it in a way that makes sense. For a customer account manager, this type of solution can prove invaluable. Rather than dig into three or four different databases to produce independent reports, you’ll be able to access all the data you need – data that details the full life cycle of the customer – from the one database.
You will end up with a full, holistic view of your customer, covering the marketing activity they responded to, the sales pipeline they travelled through, the product delivery and installation processes they went through and all the incidents, issues and activities to do with post-sales support.
Moreover, you’ll be able to do all that without relying on your marketing, sales, operations or support departments for that information. It’s right there for you to access, analyse and take action on. What you may find is that a particular customer is an ideal candidate for a product that your marketing data tells you has not been marketed to them. Or that a prospective customer has shown strong interest in a product (in response to marketing), has gone part of the way through the sales cycle, but has not bought the product because of unresponsiveness from the sales team. Or that a long-standing customer has stopped buying because they’ve had bad experiences with your organisation’s product support in the past.
Delivering a better customer experience
Without the tools to enable a complete view of the history your customer has had with your organisation, you could be missing out big time. And that’s what many companies are doing today – missing out. However, more and more businesses today are recognising the value that an effective business management solution, in the form of a powerful customer relationship management (CRM) system – can bring.
One of the key benefits of this type of solution lies in its ability to enable you to improve the way customers are dealt with the second, third and fourth time around. Let’s say you’ve marketed to a customer, they’ve made the purchase and they’ve been given the required post‑sales support. When it comes to marketing to that customer again, you’ll have the benefit of knowing everything that worked, and possibly didn’t work so well, throughout that complete marketing‑through‑to‑support process. You’ll know their product preferences and pain‑points, what type of marketing campaigns they best respond to, the type of sales and service activities that best suit them, and the type of support issues that may need to be dealt with post‑sales. All from the one, overarching CRM system.
In many of the conversations I’ve had with managers in our customer organisations I’ve been told that “Oh, we have systems in place that tell us everything we need to know about our customers; we’re pretty right with what we’ve got.” But more often than not, it’s evident that they actually don’t. What they typically have is several systems that work independent of each other and which collectively can only provide a fragmented, incomplete picture of a customer.
Boost profits through CRM
If that’s the situation you’re in, I encourage you to look closely at some of the powerful CRM solutions available today. You may be surprised how easy they are to use, and how valuable the information they produce can be.
Ultimately, it’s all about return on investment. The right CRM system will enable you to seize on new revenue opportunities, shorten the sales cycle, enhance customer satisfaction and boost the bottom line.
If you would like to talk to a Professional Advantage consultant about your business management and customer relationship needs, contact us on 1800 126 499.
Read more about Professional Advantage and Microsoft Dynamics CRM here.
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