In days gone by, if you wanted to keep a list of your business contacts, you needed to do so in paper form. Address books, planners and business card storage were all massively popular – and useful up to a point. However, one of the problems with storing contacts in this way is that if everything is kept in one physical address book, only one person can use it at a time.
It’s also generally much slower to find what you’re looking for if you store your business contacts in an ‘old fashioned’ manner, and there’s the potential to misplace details, get names wrong or struggle to read your own handwriting. So automated contact systems definitely make a lot of sense, but if they are going to be useful to you, they also need to be managed properly.
A good CRM system to help you maintain and manage your customer data is well worth developing. For example,
modern CRM software
allows you to do much more than simply note down your customers’ contact details. In order for businesses to work smoothly, it helps to be able to track actions. Managers are able to set deadlines for employees, and staff are able to view the action that has previously been taken in relation to a customer, meaning they should be much better informed when it comes to customer relations.
The business’s processes should also be able to operate more smoothly with this sort of information to hand as everyone involved in a process will be able to track its progress through a central CRM system, rather than everything being carried out piecemeal. This sort of automated system can also help to avoid some embarrassing problems, such as getting people’s names wrong.
On the face of it, addressing your customers personally is a nice thing to do and can make them feel more valued. However, if you mispronounce their name or spell it incorrectly
on a vital piece of correspondence, it can negate any benefits that action may have brought. Take Starbucks as an example. They have a new policy to ask customers for their names when ordering a drink to add a touch of the personal to proceedings – a nice idea, in theory. However, some are worried about the potential for alienation or embarrassment if names are heard or pronounced incorrectly.
This is the sort of risk that happens when processes are run manually. Sometimes, of course, you can’t avoid it, but in general it is usually possible to make use of automated CRM systems to avoid this sort of thing happening. Getting someone’s name wrong can be bad for business, but getting it right every time can be good for loyalty.
Many businesses will be aware of something called the customer life cycle, a large part of the aim of which is to inspire customer loyalty for as long as possible before their relationship with your company ends. Addressing them personally might only be a tiny part of managing this relationship, but it is a small yet important part of CRM.
It isn’t just names, either. Contact information can contain a huge wealth of data that can be useful for your business and enable it to provide a better level of service to customers. For example, it can be used to create customer profile reports, something that good CRM software should enable you to do. Having a good idea as to your customers’ demographics and purchasing history with your company can be useful for your marketing communications as well as the direct service you provide to them, so it is something to make sure you get right at all costs.
Also, if your business is fast-moving and constantly evolving, an automated contact system will enable you to update relevant details much faster than a manual system ever would. As an example, there is now
CRM systems available
that allows you to access all your information through a web browser. It’s fast and responsive, so you can update information whenever you need to – and everyone who uses your CRM system will automatically have access to it, rather than having to wait for a manual system to catch up with the development of your business.
Overall, contact management is an important part of CRM, no matter what type of system you use. Automated systems can help your company to cut down on errors when it comes to dealing with customers, as well as offering other features – such as the ability to generate reports – that can help you improve your service even further. Getting someone’s name right might seem small in the grand scheme of things, but when it comes to customer loyalty, it can make all the difference.