Friday, June 14, 2013

10 CRM Software Features for Building a Strong Competitive Advantage through Customer's Trust

Customers all over the world are nowadays spoilt for choice. To book a flight, they will be besieged by options, discounts and offers with each airline vying for their attention! Even buying a simple pair of shoes puts them in a dilemma, as every brand not only offers variety in colours and types, but, also offers seasonal discounts. However, loyal customers that have had a good experience with one brand will be more inclined to buy again from the same brand, even if the price is slightly higher. So, what is it that makes customers come back and prove their loyalty over and over when it comes to brands? It’s the fact that they’ve developed a certain trust factor. They trust the brand to be worth the money they spend on it - sometimes waiting a long period of time for a delivery to get their hands on the item they chose. So, what is it that helps build this trust and why, at the end of it all, does this prove to be the deciding factor? Trust building is a long and never ending process, which is why, to stay a step ahead of the competition, one needs to put some conscious measures into place to make this happen.

Building a circle of trust with customers
Ensuring customer satisfaction through CRM success

Stay connected to customer needs
Ever noticed how the best companies always have websites that are updated nearly every day or at least once a week? There is really no reason for Google, a name synonymous with the Internet itself, to have a blog of its own, but, it does! There is a valid reason behind this strategic move - only updating a website when there are offers/ discounts, hardly does any good. Mobile shopping is the new mantra of Gen Next. The number of smartphone users is growing by 42% each year and of the one billion people that already own a smartphone - a whopping 87% have purchased an item online! Shopping online means one only one thing - the website needs to be so informative that a customer should feel they are in an actual brick and mortar store. Experts the world over are predicting that by the end of 2013, there will be as many sales of a product online as there will be of the same product through a store. Thus, making websites as informative as possible needs to become a priority for every business that’s out to make an enviable profit. So, write, inform, update blogs regularly and stay connected with customers at all times.

Respond and reciprocate immediately
Far more important than merely informing and updating customers is reciprocating to customers. Any kind of enquiry needs to be responded to immediately. The eagerness for the rate of response is directly related to higher chances of a sale. Always remember, service delayed is service denied. So, any kind of enquiry needs to be dealt with on a priority basis!

However, there is only one thing that needs to be dealt with on a higher priority basis than an enquiry, and that is a 'complaint'! A customer who is ignorant of a mild shortcoming in a product will not bother to put in time and effort in registering a complaint with a company. So, any customer that has made the effort of registering a complaint with the company must always be provided a resolution before anything else. 'Customer loyalty' is heavily dependent on this factor. An effective CRM software is the best way to handle complaints because this ensures that the complaint is registered and responded to at the earliest through expertly configured assignment and escalation rules. A customer spurned is not only a customer lost, but, is also a source of bad publicity for the brand. Like they say, if ten happy customers praise a brand, it will probably convert into one extra sale, but, one bad comment can drive away ten potential customers. This is a risk that no sensible business out to make a profit will take. So, with a successful CRM solution implemented, dealing with complaints will be streamlined through a quicker response time. What’s more, an effective CRM software will also be able to help a business in a wholesome manner by not only capturing complaints, but, also by storing data and details on previous and new interactions with each client across users. This helps to track social conversations or reported issues/ service requests from exactly the point they were last modified or related activities were initiated.

Personalize human interactions
A survey stated, one in four brand's telecommunication branches operated fully via a call centre and responded to emails via automated replies. There is nothing more humiliating and angering for a frustrated customer than having to deal with a machine and pre-recorded voices all the time. For this reason, businesses should always try to keep interactions with a customer as close to real as is humanly possible. If a grievance is not addressed properly, one should always call back in person to enquire and try to solve the grievance. Many smart companies follow the trend of wishing customers on their birthdays and anniversaries via text messages or at times even by sending a greeting card. This simple act goes a long way in establishing a long running relationship with the customer and it is the kind of attention that a customer is looking for.

Many companies also encourage their customers to interact with them on social media networks. Even the biggest names in the movie and music industries realize the potential of social media networks. They too use Twitter and Facebook to interact with their fans at a personal level and to get real-time feedback on their movies, songs, albums, performances, etc. Many companies are now waking up to the true potential of social media and the reach that it has. Maintaining an active profile on Facebook and Twitter will allow companies to not only get realistic feedbacks from customers but will also allow customers to have a voice of their own, which they know is being heard. Social media profiles too can easily be maintained and regularly updated with the help of a future-proof and flexible CRM software.

10 Key CRM software features to eliminate churn:
  • Online case and lead capture to CRM software for immediate follow-ups and reliable assignment of new records to specialists.
  • SLA Management for internal and external timelines with built-in escalations for overlooked records.
  • Track customer Tweets 24x7 across the globe.
  • Customer 360 degree view with real-time updates through multi-system integration and social media.
  • Automated responses to customer queries and complaints through multiple channels like email, SMS or social networks based on customer preferences. 
  • Auto-populated templates for personalized responses with specific customer's pertinent details.
  • Solutions repository for quickly responding to FAQs and typical queries using pre-approved resolutions.
  • Alert rules to ensure users abide by organizational strategies and policies.
  • Social chatting across users to stay in-the-loop and collaborate effectively.
  • Dashboards for a holistic view of performance across teams and territories.
Building trust may be a little like having a baby – the labour involved in it may seem painful and never ending; but, the satisfaction and joy at the end of the delivery is unmatchable! Ensuring customer satisfaction and the subsequent loyalty can be ensured through 'CRM success' - customer advocacy through word-of-mouth, lower churn and larger volumes of warm leads. So, the moral of the story, if a company does not spend an adequate amount of time building their circle of trust, rest assured, they’ll be back to square one - wasting their time trying to woo customers that aren’t going to stick with them till the end anyway!

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