Do You Truly Understand Your Customers?Posted by
Even if you know your customers by name, do you know what makes them tick?
Customers are the lifeblood of any business, so it’s vital to understand their needs and ensure you’re making the most of them. You can go a long way on experience and gut instinct, but there comes a time when you need to become a little more systematic in your approach to understanding and managing your customers.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools were originally only within reach of large corporates, or aimed at call centres, but these days SMB-focused cloud-based CRM platforms are available with affordable monthly fees and the ability to scale as your business grows. They can help small businesses go toe-to-toe with larger rivals.
CRM offers a central, unified database for managing your customer details, rather than having that critical information scattered across your business. This way all your staff can ensure they’re working with the most up-to-date information – wherever they are – and be sure they’re fully across previous interactions with that customer.
Upgrading to CRM ensures all this sensitive business information is stored securely, with granular control over exactly who can access what. Keeping all this information in one place also ensures important customer details aren’t lost as employees leave the business.
Of course, a robust CRM platform is much more than just a shared customer contact list. It can help win over new customers by overseeing your sales pipeline – letting you manage marketing campaigns and other customer communications, follow up on sales leads and monitor conversion rates.
It can also make the most of your current customers by analysing their behaviour in search of opportunities. You can look for the tell-tale signs of customers who are ready to step up to a more expensive offering, or are perhaps in danger of churning. You can also examine metrics like customer lifetime value to better understand which are your most valuable customers.
The idea is to create a single view of the customer rather than spreading these details across disparate IT systems. Many CRM platforms support add-on modules to add extra functionality such as customer support or loyalty programs, so when you’re comparing platforms it’s worth thinking about what you’ll need from your CRM system in 12 or 24 months, not just what you need today. You don’t want to outgrow your CRM too quickly and need to change again.
Your customer base is one of your most valuable business assets, so it’s worth investing in the right business tools to help you make the most of it.