Customer Relationship Management


Customer Relationship Management

NOV 10, 2023


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Streamlining processes and improving profitability are outcomes of well-executed CRM practices. Thriving businesses typically have a good hold on data analytics, are invested in ongoing innovation, and, most importantly, know that hard work, commitment, and customer understanding are the bedrock of good CRM.

To bring some light and colour to an otherwise data-driven conversation around CRM, we have pooled our insights and formulated three top tips to help either re-set or affirm the path that you’re onto equates to successful CRM.
CRM is a love story, not a one-night stand
If the goal in business is to be surrounded by a stable base of customers who value you as much as you value them, then being in business is much like being in a long-term relationship.

The frantic pace of the dating scene is where it all starts – where the hope to meet someone to love, look after and support you is high on the agenda. Reaching couple status is the north star, and gosh, it looks like a nice place to be - people in relationships are so happy and loved up! It can appear so good and natural that it’s easy to think “couple life” is a stroll in the park.

Of course, that is not the reality, but suffice to say that once you’ve found your person (or customers), to keep them, you need to do more than exchange numbers and buy them dinner once or twice.

Staying in touch, initiating conversation and being open and honest about who you are is the baseline requirement of a relationship – and a long-lasting one will require a commitment to this over and over. This is CRM. Being committed to re-inventing that initial spark once it becomes wallpaper, watching and accepting as your partner (or customer) grows and changes, and being open to new and different needs that present themselves is the long game. Keeping hold of a relationship requires constant work.

Couple life isn’t quite the stroll in the park that it appears to be from the outside, but remember that one-night stands, first dates, and re-presenting yourself over and over is not exactly a stroll either. That sounds a lot like mass-market advertising, which you also need to ensure new relationships can be found, and you get the opportunity to forge them intelligently using your CRM!
What you want is a trap! Re-orientate toward your customer when thinking about your CRM
Since the late 1990s, there has been an explosion of CRM providers. In addition to savvy direct marketers, online forums and aggregate sites have been formed to help assess the right CRM for any person/business. Hmm, it sounds like the evolution of the dating scene. Online dating app, anyone?

The problem we all face is this: With many systems and service providers available to cater for businesses, large and small, the decision-making process becomes fixated on the functional benefits of the options available - features and price. And we all know that “criteria” is not the formula to an enduring romance.

Rather than focusing on the functional benefits of a CRM platform, decision-makers need to ask and answer the two questions below:
1. What do my customers expect of my brand?
2. How do my customers prefer to connect with my brand?

Suppose your customer expects expertise, sage advice, and timely information from your brand because you’re, let’s say, a financial planner. In that case, that’s what you need to deliver – not a deal or a promotion to “buy more now”.

If your customer expects seasonal bargains because you’re a fast fashion retailer, that’s what you need to deliver, perhaps without the sage advice and information.

If your customer has indicated that they prefer to hear from you via email, then take them off your call list, or if they enjoy seeing your regular catalogue in the mailbox and flicking through each page and “dog-earring” their favourites, then perhaps stay out of their inbox – it could be like Siberia to them!

Understanding customer expectations and preferences is the first step in creating long-lasting interactions. Create shortcuts in decision-making by asking the experts within your circle about the platforms they use and then move on to the more important decision: What do my customers want to hear from me, and when and where do they want that to happen?
Seeking advice from experts is a sign of strength, not failure
More of today’s long-term relationships involve a side of counselling compared to those in previous generations. While counselling often begins with a problem that needs fixing, therapists are seeing a significant rise in couples under 30, signalling a shift to relationship maintenance rather than crisis management.

Professional help has become a fundamental part of life, and just as counsellors assist the long and hopefully prosperous relationships of the future, CRM experts exist to help businesses nurture their most valuable assets.

At Equality Media + Marketing, we help our clients manage their customer relationships by understanding who their customers are. We piece together all the breadcrumbs of information customers have left for our clients but have gone unnoticed over time. Our experts bring together sets of data to fuel insight and show an understanding of the what, where and why of brand communications.

Seeking advice before the wheels fall off is the way of the current generation. It’s an approach that brands and business decision-makers can learn from to equip them better to put their best foot forward as new customer relationships emerge. There is no need to wait until a relationship is broken to fix it; make it long-lasting from the very start.
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