Improving the Customer Experience with Your CRM
16 October 2020
By Nathan Mutsch
Business Application Specialist
Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms are inherently complex, making optimization of the system a challenge, even for the most tech-savvy professionals. There are many ways that a CRM can better your business, but the two with the biggest impact are sales and marketing. Communication is key to any successful business and that is what a tool like a CRM aims to do in an organized, strategic and analytical manner. Let’s review some CRM best practices for sales and marketing toward providing a better customer experience.
Strengthening Customer Communication
Not only is communication crucial to the sales team in serving their customers, but it is also crucial to collaborating as a team. A CRM provides a centralized location to document customer meetings and phone call interactions, enabling better tracking of customer relationships and action items. If you are anything like me, I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch yesterday, let alone what was discussed in a meeting over a month ago. That is where a CRM comes into play – that last meeting is logged in the database as a customer interaction and is ready for your viewing (or your team’s or supervisor’s viewing) at any time.
Having the knowledge of what was discussed in a past meeting will not only aid future discussions, but it will also show your customer that their previous meeting was important to you. It relieves the possibility of repeating a discussion with the customer, which could both annoy and leave the customer wondering why your conversation wasn’t worth remembering.
Collaboration across company departments is also very important and having that customer communication in a CRM is an easy way to share that information with colleagues and managers. Think of your sales team benefiting by being able to go to one place to review:
- Accounts (companies)
- Contacts (people)
- Activities (sales interactions)
- Customer complaints
- New business opportunities
- Leads received via online forms
- Volume/sales (if your enterprise resource planning [ERP] system is connected to your CRM)
Sales teams want to focus on making sales and building relationships with their customers, and having one tool/application for them to use and find everything they need will make it easier for them to focus on their primary goals, rather than wasting time searching through their inbox for their most recent email with a particular customer.
Sophisticated Email Marketing
Marketing teams use many methods to communicate with their customers, but mass email communication remains a staple. Regular email communication keeps your brand top-of-mind and informs your customers first, helping them feel like the VIPs they are.
Your CRM already houses your company’s Accounts and Contacts, ensuring your Marketing team always has the most current customer information. CRMs generally provide a method for customers to unsubscribe from your emails, which is a key requirement of the U.S.’s CAN-SPAM Act and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), both of which carry hefty fines for noncompliance.
CRMs often provide methods of A/B testing, in which one element is altered to analyze if that change impacts the email’s performance. A/B tests can be used to see if the day or time sent impacts email open rates, or if one subject line or another prompts better email open rates, or if a certain photo triggers a better click-through rate. Typically, a CRM will provide built-in analytics with easy-to-read graphs summarizing the results.
Even when not running an A/B test, the CRM can provide useful statistics on mass emails:
- Open rates
- Click rates
Marketing teams can use this data to ascertain optimal times to contact their customers and what topics interest their customers most. With this knowledge, the marketing team can continually improve their customer communication based on actual customer data, rather than someone’s best guess or intuition, which ultimately provides customers with a better experience and more of the information they want.
A CRM provides a central location for departments to collaborate cross-functionally and get the right message to customers in a branded, professional manner. At the end of the day, a successful CRM enables a company to align its strategy with the needs of the customer in order to best meet those needs, thus fostering long-term customer loyalty.