As the old saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Thanks to big data, an increasingly technological workplace, and the ability to communicate with customers across a wide array of platforms, you have more powerful tools in your customer relations arsenal than ever before.
However, that also means it’s important not to misuse them. Leveraging customer data to gain insights into trends or improve your sales is one thing — using it to badger, stalk, or overzealously pursue your customers will likely scare them off. Everyone has that one newsletter from a company they like that sent one too many emails in a week and hit “unsubscribe.” Customers are busy, don’t like to feel harangued, and are more concerned than ever about their privacy.
Your best course of action is to use the tools you have at your disposal without going overboard. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can use your CRM system to woo (and not stalk) your customers.
Develop a Customer Relationship Strategy
One of the most important aspects of good customer service is consistency. This is especially critical when you’re dealing with a big customer base you’re mostly communicating with through automation. If your team doesn’t have a coherent strategy across the board for managing new, existing, and prospective customers, then your agents may all take different approaches to customer relationships.
This could easily lead to some of those agents acting in ways that are counterproductive and inappropriate (such as persistently following up on a sales pitch and making a customer feel harrassed). Make sure you have a well-researched and thoroughly planned CRM strategy before you take any other steps — it will make your life, and the lives of your customers, much easier.
Choose the Right Customer Service Software
It’s not enough to have lots of valuable data on your customers — you have to have the best tools for handling that data. Good CRM software can use gathered customer data to help you follow up with customers based on their specific needs and preferences, aid with segmentation and automation of customer interactions, and provide valuable metrics on customer satisfaction levels. You can also use CRM software to identify changes in purchasing behaviors on a micro or macro scale to adjust your sales approach, marketing, or deals / coupons as soon as possible. Staying relevant with customers is one of the best ways to keep them for years. Fortunately, there’s a wide array of CRM solutions to choose from.
One of the other mistakes that can easily make customers feel stalked is sending duplicate emails. Sometimes, if CRM software is lacking in quality or not set up correctly (refer back to what we said earlier about starting with a strategy), duplicate emails can get sent because the software isn’t smart enough to spot and remove redundant communication. This could end up with customers deleting your emails out of hand without reading them, or just hitting that “unsubscribe” button because they feel they’re receiving too many.
There are a few ways to combat issues like this — update your CRM data frequently, to make sure you have information on new prospects as soon as it’s available. CRM software that can integrate with other systems is also a huge bonus, as it will reduce the frequency of errors. It’s also important to periodically audit your data, preferably on a regular schedule.
Follow Up on Open Service Tickets
Another crucial aspect of good customer relations: follow-through. This is one of those cases where it’s better to overcompensate than undercompensate. Nothing makes a customer feel unloved and undervalued more than a customer service request or query left unresolved, or agents not following through on their interactions to see how the customer is doing. Make sure your CRM system has a means of notifying and reminding agents to follow up on unresolved tickets, to make sure no issue goes unresolved — that’s a customer you’re very likely to lose and never get back.
This also goes for criticisms on social media platforms: if you only respond to praise and positive comments, but ignore all the complaints or suggestions on how you could improve things, you’re likely to alienate customers. Even if the comment was out of line or over-harsh, it’s important to take charge of the situation and offer the best solution possible — don’t just leave it ignored.
Reach Out to Disengaged Customers
Finally, while it’s important to not annoy customers with a relentless barrage of messages, it’s also important you don’t ignore them entirely — this can make them feel undervalued, or they might even forget to revisit your services at all. This is another area where good CRM software can come in handy — it should have the capability to pull up inactive customers and let you reach out to them in a re-engagement campaign.
Use Your CRM System to Woo (Not Stalk) Your Customers