You may be familiar with these CRM best practices … but does your team follow them?
Usually, when people in the integration industry talk about creating “customer stickiness,” it’s within the context of selling recurring revenue contracts. Sure, that creates stickiness, but there are other ways to reinforce your connection with customers.
Building a successful business requires gaining customer trust and loyalty—doing so strengthens your base and generates leads as customers share stories about your business.
But what are some logical ways to strengthen those customer relationships and improve customer stickiness? We asked members of the NSCA Membership Committee for their tried-and-true tips on improving sales engagement and strengthening and growing their businesses. It all comes down to CRM best practices.
1. Do the Leg Work
Identify your ideal customers: the ones who stick around for the long term and have loyalty to your brand. They’re out there, but they aren’t always easy to find. Do your research first and know who they are. Once identified, make the call and give the pitch.
2. Leverage Data
Choose a robust CRM solution that serves as a place for all customer interaction. People change companies, start companies, and change positions. It’s important to track the movement of customers throughout their professional evolutions.
Just as important: Mandate that your sales and customer-facing employees utilize it by creating CRM best practices.
3. Hone Your Pitch
Using stories to share experiences, emphasize a point, or change a perception is a great way to get customers to remember you and your solution. It’s the start of building the “stickiness” you’re looking for.
4. Elevate Customer Service
You’ve made the sale. What follows next is what will put you ahead of the others: the best customer service.
This one thing makes a big impact on loyalty and retention. Little things count: speed, quality, thoroughness, and follow-through. What you see as something little may be very big in the eyes of a customer—and what can help your company lead the pack. That might mean you need a team of people to handle the post-sales part of the job. You need to have someone ready to respond each time your customer reaches out … and that response needs to be as close to immediate as possible.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to call a customer. It should also be easy for them to reach you. These days, there are multiple ways to connect. Be sure you’re checking/using all of them.
5. Get Personal
Log the results of customer service calls in your CRM system, ensuring that the team knows about issues related to your customers. That should be part of the CRM best practices you create. Your team should feel comfortable sharing information with each other when it comes to problems they uncover during the call process. Sharing information creates consistency for future contacts.
Your team should be flexible; not all customers are the same. Empower employees to make concessions or add value when warranted. A customer feels like he or she is getting special treatment if you treat them like they’re your only customer. Give every interaction a personal touch! If there’s an opportunity to go beyond the norm, then take it! A few extra seconds of effort can be all it takes to make a customer’s day. That can go a long way in establishing the kinds of relationships you want for your brand.
6. Think Customer First
Empower your employees to think about the customer in every situation and make a positive impact with each interaction.
Your customer may not remember each item you presented during your interaction with them, but they will form a memory of the feeling of the meeting. Being confident, friendly, and intentional in your presentation will leave customers with a strong memory that sticks in their minds so they want more interaction in the future.
7. Be Open and Honest
From the very first interaction, be upfront with customers. Let them know what to expect. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Be clear and straightforward.
It’s okay to let customers know when you don’t have an answer to a question. They’ll appreciate your honesty as you let them know you’ll get back to them with an answer. Make sure to set a date by which to do so and respond within that timeline. By the end of the interaction, your customer should know exactly what to expect and be ready to sign that agreement or place an order.
8. Get Feedback
Customers want to know that the companies they partner with care about their opinions. The best way to show it? Ask for feedback. Has your team lived up to their expectations? Are they getting support when they have questions? Are they satisfied with their experience?
Sending occasional surveys to gather feedback can be educational and help your company raise the bar. Make sure to include a place where they can provide suggestions for improvement. When you use feedback to make real changes, you show your customers you value their input. And when you make those changes, let them know—and thank them.
Ultimately, building relationships by gaining trust, telling your story, creating that exceptional customer service experience, and making them your priority will create loyal customers who provide positive endorsements to strengthen your business.
Focus on the core of your business: the customer. Without them, you have no business.
NSCA Director of Operations Teresa Solorio is also a member of NSCA’s Membership Committee. Its goal is to provide guidance, support, and oversight to help NSCA members receive value from their trade association.