To create stronger customer relationships, you must understand how to get the most from your marketing data, and, thanks to CRM (customer relationship management) and social media analytics tools, gathering customer data has never been easier. The data is great for project management, customer research, closing sales, and general marketing activities – so how do business leaders, salespeople, and marketers use their CRM data to understand how to foster better customer relationships and extend the lifetime value of their customers?
Let’s look at why some companies fail to provide better customer experiences and what successful use of CRM data and human interactions to foster positive experiences looks like.
Why most companies who claim to focus on customer relationships fail
No amount of data, no matter how clean, will ever equal a relationship. Knowing your customers in a CRM system isn’t the same as knowing about them, and not knowing about them is one of the biggest reasons companies who claim to have positive customer relationships actually don’t. They believe an automated, personalized message is enough and while yes, automated, personalized communication should be part of your strategy, it can’t be your whole strategy.
The foundation of a positive customer experience
Consumers feel many complex emotions for businesses, but this article focuses on those we’re most familiar with: positive and negative.
According to Tony Bodoh and Betsy Westhafer in their book ProphetAbility, when a customer gives a 5-out-of-5-star customer review, “They almost never give that level of review without describing a memory of a human connection that created a shared experience.” The idea here is “human connection.” Positive human connections are the foundation of positive customer experiences.
Even if you’re an online or B2B business, you can create human connections with your customers and prospects to enhance their experience. For example, give them opportunities to speak to your employees in the way they’re comfortable with at their stage in the buyer’s journey, whether that’s on the phone, via a chat-bot, or on social media. Set expectations early so you can exceed customer expectations through positive interactions.
Putting data and human connections to work
It’s time to put your customer data and human connections to work – but where do you start and what should it look like? Start by breaking your contacts down into their buyer personas. Depending on your CRM platform, you should be able to segment your contacts into basic buyer personas and/or segments.
Here are some examples of how knowing about your customers and using positive human connections can create better customer experiences:
- Track customer preferences for future messaging and promotions. Keep your brand message consistent while delivering information relevant to individual customers or prospects. Remember that preferences can change as customer needs change, so note updated interests as you interact with them.
- Don’t bombard customers with messages – know how and when your customers want to be contacted. (No one likes a flooded inbox and voicemail.)
- Tell a story with the data you already have. Capture attention and engage emotions. Make your customer the main character and your brand the hero of the story.
- Create a customer feedback loop. Keeping this feedback loop going from both ends keeps customer expectations in line and allows your employees to meet those expectations.
There are many more examples of how a company can exceed expectations for a positive customer review, but always remember that knowing your customers doesn’t equal a relationship with them. Knowing ABOUT your customers and using their data to foster growth creates positive customer relationships and helps your business grow.
Need help utilizing your data and/or creating more positive customer experiences? Contact us!