This post is contributed by the Insightly Content Team. With a combined experience spanning more than two decades, the Insightly content team writes about a wide variety of topics for the small business and startup community, including how to use CRM to improve your bottom line. Read more @insightly.com/blog.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are known for helping businesses gain and retain new clients. Startups and SMBs use CRMs to manage contacts, nurture prospects, analyze collected data, and encourage repeat customer engagement. A CRM can also be a tool to help you create a fiercely loyal customer base that will boost your reputation by sharing the unique wonders of your brand online and with colleagues, peers, friends and family.
Here are five ways a CRM can help you start boosting your brand reputation
- Making sure communication and followup doesn’t fall through the cracks
Firefly Creative Writing is a great example of how using a CRM keeps a company on point with minding many customer details. Once owner and founder, Kay Fraser, selected a CRM, her team quickly began using it to keep itself organized, especially when she introduced activity sets, an automation feature used for creating a series of tasks or events that her team uses regularly, including delegated tasks, recurring tasks, email reminders, and using the link function to connect tasks to projects. By automating routine tasks for all of the major types of projects, Fraser found she could relax and trust that nothing would get left unfinished, as well as easily delegating tasks to her assistant. “I can’t even imagine running my business without Insightly activity sets,” says Fraser. “The number of details I was keeping in my brain is crazy. I have no idea how I did it.”
Firefly is also using their CRM to create profiles of its one-on-one clients to track important emails and record notes on each client’s progress. Fraser has also extended the use of Insightly to her small team of writing coaches, so that they can keep in touch with each other about their clients and their questions. By using a CRM, Fraser and her staff can download all of those chaotic details into an organized system and spend more time approaching their clients creatively and engaging with their own creative work. This, in turn, helps build stronger client relationships and further solidifies the Firefly brand.
- More Personalized Customer Interactions
A CRM system can help your team understand your customers and their individual needs. Using your CRM, you can keep a close eye on each customer’s interactions and transactions.
You’ll be able to respond almost immediately to individual queries, taking your customer service to the next level and building a rapport with each client – or potential client – who makes an inquiry, making it more likely to turn that potential lead into a happy customer.
In recent years, CRM systems have evolved to target unique customers who might be interested in specific events or offers. By having this information at your fingertips, you can use the customer data in your CRM to proactively respond with offers and discounts that will be meaningful to customers on an individual basis, or to those who fit into a targeted segment based on specific criteria such as geography.
A personalized contact approach tangibly increases brand reputation by making customers feel highly valued. Personal invitations to local events with the added incentive of a discount or other significant perk lets your client base know that you care about them.
When your customer feels valued, they’ll want to share the experience with others. Word of mouth is said to be the most effective form of promotion. It spreads fast and, thanks in no small part to the web, has a wide and international reach.
- Tracking Customer Loyalty and Responding to Feedback
Customer experience is said to be the new competitive battlefield. Optimize your support systems by paying attention to customer service metrics, and highlighting areas that need attention. Also, you can see if a particular issue has been raised repeatedly. And then you can make the necessary tweaks and changes to take the customer experience to a more satisfactory level.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one metric many companies (including Insightly) are using to measure loyalty and gather input from customers. Companies with a consistently high NPS tend to experience growth and profitability at twice the rate of companies with a lower score. It is another source of feedback that can help you improve “CX.”
Having these metrics and feedback readily available in your CRM provides important context that will help your sales and support team respond directly, proactively and consistently to customers.
- Streamlining the Sales & Service Process
Regular evaluation of sales and support processes ensure that everything runs smoothly from first contact. Inleaf Limited, a provider of indoor living plant displays for businesses, uses CRM to build out and closely monitor its sales and service processes.
Inleaf begins its sales and support process by entering qualified leads into their CRM system to create a new prospect record. They do this either manually or through a web form which automatically syncs with their CRM. After the sales team visits prospects, it records follow up and tracks activity, such as calls and emails, and sets reminders. Once a prospect becomes a customer, Inleaf uses project management features to check in, schedule maintenance, record visits and note any special requests or actions that may be needed.
Not only does your team benefit from the efficiency, but your customers will rave about the clear, timely communication and support they received.
- Helping You Boost Your Online Reputation
The way you handle a negative review on a public channel can change your brand reputation, for better or worse. So, it’s more important than ever to ensure your customer service or support department is up to the task of making sure all clients feel truly valued.
Listening to an aggravated client and addressing their concerns can turn a negative experience into a wonderfully positive event they’ll want to share. Handle criticism badly, and you lose more than just a customer. The customer could damage your reputation and influence other customers who were already on the edge.
Both positive and negative experiences are shared with surprising rapidity on social media and review sites, and so cultivating brand advocates is an easy way to boost your online rep.
Clients who feel truly valued are often willing to turn evangelical in their enthusiasm, and your brand benefits from credible and convincing free “advertising.” When these brand promoters are tracked in your CRM, it is easy to reach out and ask for a referral or an online review. Reviews add to your arsenal of product/brand credibility, giving prospects confidence in their choice of your offering.
- Target Commonalities
Your CRM can help you to develop robust customer profiles by capturing in-depth information, such as purchase preferences, on each client. You can then use the information to find commonalities between customer segments, including all customers who live in a certain area, customers who have children of a specific age, or customers who are planning to attend a local event or conference.
You can then use these segments to create targeted campaigns, adapting your message to groups based on things they have in common. Finely tuned targeting means your messages reach the right people at the right time, making each communication even more effective.
Over time, you can make adjustments to maximize the results of your strategy. Use your CRM’s email performance reports to see which campaigns are most successful.
Connect the Touchpoints, Boost Your Brand
When you interact with customers at every stage of their journey, from initial lead nurturing right through to creating repeat and loyal customers, you can build a brand reputation that stands out even in a crowded marketplace. A CRM solution fosters your customer communications by providing a platform where you can create customer contacts, set up task reminders for follow up phone calls or emails, schedule automated email blasts with relevant offers and discounts, and more.
Effective and consistent outreach builds the credibility of your brand by demonstrating that you are paying attention to a customer’s specific needs. Seek out a CRM solution that will give you these benefits in a cost-effective way. What is your reputation worth?
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