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  • Writer's pictureYevheniia Minaieva

How does your CRM impact what Clients think and feel about you?


Digital assistants: downgrading to generic and formal interactions


Online calendars, mental health applications, planners, project management tools, taxi applications… The digital era brought enormous opportunities to delegate and outsource daily routines to online or desktop software. All these products assist us in our professional and personal lives, releasing precious time to focus on more valuable tasks.

Customer relationship management systems are one of the best examples of digital assistance that helps navigate dynamic and reiterative actions and not miss a thing. CRM software takes on generic tasks that are hard to keep in mind and maintain in scale manually. And this is why we love CRM solutions.

But let’s get back to the definition. Half-delegated to a machine, customer relationship management may lose its genuine “relationship” part.

The longer the sales cycle for the product is, the more effort building a relationship takes. It’s about being attentive, empathetic, respectful, and always there for a client, delivering a person-to-person experience under the hood of formal business-to-business. And this is what brings strategic risks: we delegate too much of human to machine. Can a CRM replace warm communication with regular automated messages and follow-ups? Can machine algorithms come out with truly relevant propositions at the right time? Can CRM keep up with clients' individual needs and desires in pipelines? Can a CRM provide enough space and tools for non-standard, creative, and disruptive marketing, sales, and service approaches? Digital assistants in the corporate field bring pace and scale, but standard features downgrade your processes to standardized, generic interactions.

How to use digital automation and still keep the feeling of true care and attention

There are enough articles online about how various CRMs, including Salesforce, meet growing businesses’ needs, and there is no need to repeat the most common CRM features and capacities. What is important to talk about today is how to get the maximum of a CRM and not lose the magic ingredient of person-to-person communication, which leads your business to success.



Key 1: make sure you don’t sacrifice your unique and yearly-proven approaches by changing them to standard processes


Any CRM system is expected to be a reflection of business processes. But, the classic dilemma here is that the standard features of a CRM may not cover all the necessary functions. For example, imagine you deliver flowers, and after a delivery, a client receives a complimentary chocolate with a discount coupon for the next delivery. This is how you stimulate retention, and it works for your target audience. A new CRM may automate follow-ups after the delivery, but adding a package is beyond its capabilities.


So you either refuse this gesture of affection or make some custom adjustments to the software to keep the magic (which is mostly impossible to make without coding expertise).

Therefore our advice here is: don’t sacrifice valuable gestures and interaction points only because a CRM cannot cover it. Finding a way of CRM customization and adjustments is way less costly, as you spend money once but not lose it every time you lose a disappointed client.

Because there is no insignificant trifle in things you do for customer satisfaction, which makes CRM customization and product development a profitable investment.

Key 2: create a detailed customer journey map with all interaction points - and make sure CRM includes all of them.


Do you have a spreadsheet in the cloud or a map on the wall depicting all the ways a customer interacts with your products? The bigger a business is, the more effort it dedicates to understanding all the ways and points a customer interacts with their products or services. It helps them succeed at each step and deliver the best experience for their customers with the best win-win results. And no - intuition and bossy “I understand my business and keep it in mind” doesn’t work here.


Seriously, draw a map and ask yourself whether you track each step, serve at your best, and convert, whether you understand the journey itself. And whether your CRM has blind spots, where a customer stands like a confused John Travolta in the meme, waiting for someone to pay attention to them.


Key 3: be close to the front line of your business, pay attention to details

As we’ve mentioned before, sticking to the standard offerings of a CRM system brings risks of losing unobvious things that keep your clients by your side. It requires your attention in case your business is not 100% online and/or includes lots of interpersonal communication. All your people who write emails, call, meet, or serve coffee stand by the reception - they form customer experience and influence the relationship directly. Their expertise and observations on what works for customers’ happiness and willingness to return may have a great impact when embodied in CRM software and used at scale.


Conclusion

Modern marketing theory measures customers’ loyalty as their willingness to stay customers and continue their relationships with a brand. This means a lot of effort should be invested in keeping clients satisfied and returning, which grows their loyalty and consequently LTV. To do so, companies should be very attentive to what forms a true bond (and conversions) between them and their customers. And make sure their digital assistants, like CRMs, keep the relationships warm and personal despite automation.



Oleg Minko, CTO at Sparkybit
Alexey Nayda, CEO at Sparkybit


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