Thursday, November 24

20 Ideas to Improve Customer Retention with CRM

With the total cost of acquiring new customers many times higher than servicing existing clients it's no surprise that retaining business is at the heart of many organisations CRM strategy, especially in tougher economic conditions.

CRM applications offer numerous service functions but how can they be used to help you hang on to your best customers and protect future revenues?

In this post we've listed 20 quick tips for using CRM applications to create a better understanding of each customer relationship and target the right people, with the right message at the right time.

Proactively staying in touch

1. Schedule simple reminder activities that prompt you, and other CRM users, to proactively follow up with your customers.

2. Search your CRM database to identify customers where contact has been lost using 'date of last contact' or similar time format fields. Or, automate the process by creating a CRM workflow that alerts you if an account is neglected, to re-engage people and retain them as an active customer.

3. Track expiry dates, membership information and other time critical detail in your CRM database and schedule activities around these dates to send timely communications that will boost renewal rates.

Understanding your customers

4. Customise your CRM database to track all the relevant demographics and background detail about each relationship in a single shared database to quickly respond to customer requests however people choose to contact you.

5. Profile customer records that will help CRM users clearly see the value of each account. For example, create a drop down list that grades the account profitability, or use a tick box if a client is a reference site.

6. Segment active and high value customers using CRM groups or lists to keep these accounts visible and send them relevant communications.

7. Connecting your CRM system with your accounting database creates several benefits. As well as improving order processing and eliminating double entry it enables customer facing staff to easily check the order history on each account to anticipate their future requirements and make recommendations for cross sell opportunities that will increase account revenue.

Delivering Outstanding Service

8. Share CRM with all customer facing teams wherever people work via mobile, web browser or desktop client so everyone can use complete and accurate detail to deliver a personalised service that other providers will find hard to match.

9. Use case management tools, including case queuing and routing, to log customer issues for clear visibility of outstanding items to ensure issues are promptly resolved.

10. Apply advanced case management functions including workflows that automatically send customers email notifications when cases are opened, updated and closed on their account to keep them fully updated with progress.

11. Publish online web portals that enable customers to log-in and create new service requests outside regular office hours and check the status on existing cases.

12. Use CRM to enforce service level agreements that prioritise customer issues and trigger alerts if terms are at risk of being breached to ensure your most valuable customers receive a premium service.

13. Develop CRM call scripts that guide users through routine customer processes, ensure service consistency and shorten training time. For example, create scripts for new team members that help them qualify support requests or sales opportunities by prompting them to ask questions, guide customers and take action in line with your process rules.

Communicating with your customers

14. Integrate CRM with an email marketing application to share news, insight, tips and special offers with your best customers. Use campaign reports to assess individual responses through email opens and click analysis to assess interest and make increasingly targeted communications.

15. Include dynamic content in your email marketing messages that reflects a customer's order history, their preferences, demographics or other detail to make sure your message resonates. For example this could include publishing details of the nearest outlet to a client's location or promoting holiday deals based on their previous bookings to predict their current interest. 

16. Invite your top customers to an event and use CRM to plan and manage each event task including automated processes for invitation reminders, post-event follow-ups and handling the resulting leads.

17. Track your customer's social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn or blogs to keep up to date with their activity and make new interactions from CRM that will develop brand loyalty.

Assessing your customer service performance

18. Ask for customer feedback about your service and capture these scores in CRM. For example, include a link to a short survey form in an automated email when a support ticket is closed or when an order is dispatched. Use feedback reports, email alerts and reports to assess performance and take corrective action if problems occur.

19. Use CRM dashboards to continually review service delivery and identify areas for improvement. For example, use real-time metrics to identify recurring support or service problems, or assess what % of issues are being resolved in a single call.  Trends can be assessed across other service areas including what time issues are being logged and the method used so resources can be effectively allocated.

20. Use insight from CRM reports to develop staff incentive schemes that reward users for outstanding performance in key metrics, for example, cases closed per week / month or highest scoring customer feedback per month..

To find out more about any of these points and how CRM applications can be used to help you strengthen customer loyalty in your business please contact us.

Please share any other ideas and experiences you have about how CRM applications can be used to retain customers, members, donors, subscribers and other contacts.

Warren Butler
wbutler@preact.co.uk

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