CRM—where software and sensibilities meet

Whoever says managing customer relations is easy, they’re either kidding or they don’t exist.

At one end of the business is you, with your vision for delivering a product/service. At the other end is your customer, whose needs are varied and evolving rapidly. How do you find a middle ground where your vision meets your customer’s needs? And how do you do it without compromising on what you want to give your customers?

That’s where the right CRM software can be a clincher.

CRM software gives you context into what the customer has been looking for on your website (and in your product). It keeps track of everything that’s been spoken and written between your business and your customer. And it helps you perform decisive actions at crucial junctures—whether that’s sending an email, making a call, or pulling up a report.

In a sense your CRM software is like a Relationship Manager, minus the academic degree.

5 ways to manage customer relations using CRM software

Look at leads as individuals, not this quarter’s targets

To do this, though, you need a full-blown view of every lead on your list. CRM software can help by providing a 360° view of leads in one screen. A 360° view includes the lead’s contact information, social media profiles, job title, deal value, their conversations with your business, the notes you’ve made about them, and even the files you’ve shared with them. With this kind of context, you start seeing the person behind the designation, and the rationale behind their preferences.

Communicate—through phone,
email, chat

In business you know you can never over-communicate. And your leads will never know about your business until you plainly tell them about it. Call them up, set up email campaigns, or catch them on live chat. If anyone expresses unwillingness to engage in a conversation, step back right there. As much as you want to be vocal about your business, respecting their privacy is an essential part of the customer relations playbook.

 

Discreetly observe what they’re looking for

When a lead steps into your website, or makes a move in your product, they’re leaving behind a trail of precious clues. Put those clues together by using the activity timeline feature in CRMs. Activity timelines arrange leads’ activities in a chronological list, so you can get an uncluttered view, read between the lines, and make your next move.

Assess yourself without bias, using reports

You have a clutch of deals in hand, but they just don’t seem to be closing. Then you pull up a sales velocity report, and you realize one of your reps is taking longer than others to move new deals into the “demo” stage. That’s an example of how CRM software can help identify root causes swiftly and objectively. And it’s also an indication that sometimes, you need to look at yourself when you want to improve customer relations.

Essential task but not worth the 
human effort? Automate it.

Sending a welcome email is great business practice, but do reps have to send it manually every time? Not when CRM software can do it for them. Same goes with reminding customers when their payment is due. Set a cut-off date for payments, and create “workflows” that automatically remind customers when they’re past that date. Simple, effective, and automated.