The relationship between company and customer isn’t complicated from the customer’s point of view. All the company needs to do is provide service. The type of service varies depending on the type of business, but the need remains the same: Quality service in a timely manner at a reasonable price.
Consistently providing top quality service requires tools. Customer relationship management (CRM) applications seem like a dream come true for many companies. They provide insight to customer behavior improving marketing effectiveness while reducing costs. They were never designed to replace service, only to enhance it.
Unfortunately, many companies had poor service before adding CRM. They apparently thought that the new shiny tool replaced the need to care about their customers. They forgot that customers are people. They have unique opinions, needs, wants, likes, and dislikes, but one thing is universal. They don’t want to be managed. All they need or want from a company relationship is service. It’s that simple from a consumer’s perspective.
The combination of CRM and high quality service improves customer loyalty, company growth, and bottom line profitability.
It isn’t easy, but it’s more effective than any other strategy. I call it customer relationship care (CRC). It requires the integration of marketing and service with a focus on the customer experience.
Implementing a CRC strategy requires that the marketing team work closely with the customer care team to identify bottlenecks, policies, and processes that reduce service quality. Everything a company does provides some sort of service for the customer whether it is a marketing campaign, answering questions, or delivering products. When team members start seeing their functions within the organization as serving their customers, it is a game changing event.
Customers and prospects shift from being targets, numbers, and profiles to being individuals with needs and wants. There are fewer complaints and more compliments. Proactively eliminating problems before they reach the customers means that there is less time and effort spent resolving issues. Customer acquisition and retention is easier because alienation is gone.
Making the shift from CRM to CRC isn’t a project, it’s an evolution.
Get it started in your company by changing the way you think about customers, prospects, other departments, and your job. Start looking for ways to eliminate potential problems and share your successes with others. When people see a successful strategy, they want to emulate it. Before long, everyone will be participating, your customers will become avid fans, and your company will be growing in size and profits.