Customer relationship management (CRM) software organizes all your marketing, sales, and service records for previous and potential customers. Since it keeps all of this information in a centralized location, agents can easily connect with their clients, upsell them on additional services, and provide support whenever it’s needed.
But modern CRM systems are much more than simple data repositories. Instead, they’re used to actively track client communications, bolster teammate collaboration, and drive customer engagement over a long-term basis.
In this article...
Creating Open Lines of Communication
Today’s CRM solutions are ideal for creating and maintaining open lines of communication with customers. Not only do these channels let businesses cater to various demographics and, in some cases, individual customers, but they can help potential customers feel more comfortable with a company before making a purchase.
Because communication is so vital to the overall customer experience, most modern CRM solutions provide many different methods to connect and communicate with a customer base or target demographics.
Using preferred communications
Between phone numbers, physical addresses, emails, and even social media profiles, it’s difficult to keep track of everyone’s preferred communications. With CRM software, however, businesses can store complete contact information, including preferred channels, for each customer or lead.
This alone drives and strengthens communications in numerous ways, including:
- Receiving faster responses from individual customers
- Enabling a marketing team to format messages and insert hyperlinks
- Ensuring consistency and familiarity with sent messages and replies
Distributing surveys and tracking results
According to recent research by Gartner, 75% of businesses have experienced increased revenue growth as a result of their efforts to improve customer satisfaction. There are few better ways to measure customer satisfaction than by asking previous customers for their direct input, and this is most easily achieved by distributing surveys and tracking the results.
Most modern CRM solutions make it easy to track multiple surveys across various customer demographics. Some solutions even include built-in survey functionality to automate the processes of distributing surveys and recording their answers. Others can disseminate this information directly into charts and graphs for easy-to-read comparisons and reports.
Tracking prior communications
Avoid sending repeat messages to customers whenever possible. Apart from annoying a customer base, the process of sending and repeating the same communications over and over again is a waste of time and resources. In some cases, repeated messages are viewed as errors or mistakes, which can also hurt a business’s professional reputation.
Thankfully, most CRM platforms make it easy to track prior communications. This is helpful when navigating a lengthy email campaign, when sending out importing notices or when distributing surveys to a customer base.
Marketing, Promotions, and Upselling
The process of managing simultaneous marketing initiatives or advertisement campaigns is a complicated and confusing endeavor. From tracking different email blasts to promoting the products and services of business partners, there’s a lot to look after in modern marketing strategies.
Providing custom discounts
Everybody loves a discount. Whether it’s a buy-one-get-one sale or a specific percentage off the retail price, companies have been discounting products and services for decades.
To drive customer engagement even further, some organizations have started providing custom discounts. Instead of offering everyone the same discounts, which may or may not be applicable to each customer, modern CRM platforms make it easy to integrate custom or one-time discount codes for individual customers. It’s a great way of saying thanks to valuable patrons while rewarding them with something that they can actually use.
Promoting your partners
Current CRM solutions can help to track and promote partnerships, too. Forming a partnership with a business that offers complementary products or services can help drive customer engagement and satisfaction for both brands. Primary benefits include:
- Sharing resources with another brand helps reduce costs and improve profit margins
- Co-sponsoring events and initiatives can expose products to new markets
- Offsetting business risks with another brand can soften the blow when a new initiative or service doesn’t work out
Customer Service and Support
It’s nearly impossible to maintain a successful business in the 21st century without providing exceptional customer service and support at every turn. Not only do customers have certain expectations regarding customer support, but they are now more likely to voice their complaints than ever before.
According to the 2020 Customer Rage Study, conducted through a joint effort by Customer Care Measurement & Consulting, Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, and Kraft Heinz, 66% of households have experienced a problem with a consumer product or service in the prior 12 months. Many of these respondents shared their complaints with neighbors and on social media.
Generating automated responses
Per the aforementioned survey, 55% of respondents expect companies to respond to complaints posted on social media. Customers want to know their voices are being heard and their issues are being addressed in a timely manner. As a result, most CRM platforms support some sort of automated messaging system.
Automated messages don’t need to be elaborate — they don’t even need to appear as anything other than automated messages. In many cases, simply giving a timely reply and letting your customers know their message is being directed to the appropriate personnel is enough to de-escalate any potential issues. At the very least, it lets them know their message was sent and received.
Tracking support tickets
Support tickets are a straightforward and highly accessible means of tracking customer issues, but they also provide another opportunity to strengthen customer engagement. These tickets provide a clear timeline, starting with their initial contact and extending through the final resolution, and they provide a digital paper trail that is easily followed and verified by supervisors.
That’s why most CRM solutions include built-in support desk functionality. It helps keep track of support tickets, ensure timely replies from support teams, and closes tickets upon their resolution.
Most modern CRM platforms include several key features that help drive customer engagement even further. Although these features won’t be found in every CRM solution available on the market today, the implementation of these key features — or a lack thereof — may be a deciding factor when choosing a dedicated CRM platform.
To make the most out of a chosen CRM solution, look for the following features that help drive customer engagement to all-new heights:
- Comprehensive recordkeeping
- Live online chat
- Onboarding support for new customers and clients
- Automated alerts and notifications for new product launches or important updates
- Compatibility with other software, particularly Microsoft Outlook, Access, and PowerPoint
- Social media integration
Driving Customer Engagement with CRM
It’s tough to imagine a business without a dedicated CRM platform. While it’s certainly possible to persist and succeed without a modern CRM system, there’s no denying the benefits they provide. Whether you use CRM strictly for customer engagement or for the other advantages it offers, CRM software can help to retain customers, maximize profitability, and gain an edge over the competition.