by Glenn San Luis
It is important for businesses, in spite of the pandemic, to figure out ways to retain the loyalty of their customers, which translates to revenue retention, and sometimes, growth. Customers sitting on unspent, delayed purchases wield significant power and thus it is important to identify and to keep these customers. The high cost, however, to understand and to serve these customers could erode profitability unless they are thoroughly understood and managed.
Hence, client/customer relationship management (CRM), through data gathering and “personal touch,” would have to be planned and managed In these tough times, to ensure maximum results with minimum cost.
Mr Jeff Chua, an entrepreneur and our resource person on sales leadership, shares with us three ways we could optimize our CRM.
1. Rigorous selection. We’d have to be more selective and careful about the clients with whom we choose to engage and communicate.
For example, when selecting key customers, selection criteria should include the sustainability of that relationship and the potential lifetime value of that customer. Some pandemic criteria should also be used: how this may have hindered (or helped) the customer, how they have adjusted, i.e. all work-from-home or not, and so on. Businesses should do due diligence, and list or rank their top customers. The ultimate success of the relationship depends upon the resources being invested in the customer, and investing resources in the right customers is critical to the long term success of your organization.
2. Research and Adapt. From the point of view of our customers, sometimes businesses are slow to adapt to their needs. There are also complaints about the low quality of people that are engaging them. One example is the lack of basic research or analysis of the customer. Some clients told us that those assigned to handle their CRM did not even look at their website before making a visit or zoom meeting. The “gift of gab” or being smooth and pleasant alone, does not impress the decision makers of the 21st century. The quality of analysis of the customer and the planning of the current situation and variables that are at play has become even more essential.
3. Customer Point of View (POV). Ideally, our customers would appreciate our brand values, including the extra service that we give them to help them achieve their objectives or their needs. But before our customers can connect with our company and brand, we have to see things from the customer’s point of view. To ensure that that thinking is embedded, we must train our CRM team to plan and to reference customer POV, right from the start. It is important for us to first understand what is happening in their business environment. From there, the sales associate or CRM professional can come up with proposals that are value-based and enumerate the benefits of the engagement or project. The goals of the engagement with the customer must be specific, measurable, actionable and time-bound.
Chua will conduct a virtual workshop on “Client Relationship Management: Handling and Maintaining Clients in the New Normal” on May 26 – 28, 2021.
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The author is the Executive Director of the Inquirer Academy.