3 Ways to Foster Customer Loyalty with a CRM Solution

The Informed Customer
Henry Ford once said that a customer could have a Model T in any colour they wanted, as long as it was black. In today’s market, Henry would have had a great deal of trouble convincing a customer that they had only a singular choice. Customers today are better informed and with this information they have radically changed their buying processes.

Paw Internet reported that in 2010, 58% of consumers regularly performed online research about products and services before considering purchasing. This means that your customer is better informed, not only about your product but about your competitor’s products as well.

1. Matching customer expectations
With information comes empowerment and it is becoming more central to everything that businesses do. The empowerment of the customer is driving the need for evolving CRM solutions.

Businesses need to be in tune with their customers and be able to deliver a stellar customer experience across channels - an experience which fosters loyalty and in turn produces more profitable customer relationships.

2. Breaking silos 
The availability of new and easily accessed information sources have significantly changed the customer’s buying process. Customers can research products and services through generic search engines and increasingly through the social networks available. While customers desire more information in making their decision, they also expect that the companies they deal with will have more information about them – regardless of how they interact with the company. They anticipate that the company will have the ability to customize responses to their inquiries and will provide that customization across any and all channels of contact.

While old CRM software captured basic contact with the customer, they also tended to retain that information in a silo form. Telephone customers were maintained and approached in a manner different from the face – to – face customer or the on-line customer. This “silo” application forces a customer to repeat information across multiple lines of contact.

The shift in a customer’s decision making process puts pressure on the company to become more responsive, to anticipate the changing needs of their customers and to provide relevant information, targeted marketing offers and consistently positive customer experiences.

3. Creating a holistic customer view
If a CRM solution is to be successful in today’s integrated market, it must be integrated as well. Today’s CRM software must combine traditional points of contact with information gleaned from social networks or other media the customer may use in their decision making process and it must make this information available across all points of customer entry.

Integrated CRM solutions also enable a company to engage the customer in conversations about wants and needs. They can identify problems more quickly and rectify them, retaining customers who may otherwise be lost. They have become more flexible, integrating with productivity tools such as email – enabling day to day activities to be captured and integrated into the customer profile.

Too often the trap of “as long as it’s black” comes back to haunt a company. Companies must be able to gather the information required to make decisions that positively impact both their customer relationship and their bottom line. Without integration even the best CRM solutions treat information in silo form, locking away critical information which could be used to build customer loyalty and enhance sales and service. The customer today is empowered by the information readily available to them, if this empowerment is ignored the chances are the company will be ignored as well.