They not only remember your name — Hey, Ben! — but they remember the details of your last interaction — I haven’t seen you since that film festival last fall — and ask you questions about topics you brought up in your last conversation — how’s your knee doing after that surgery?
Later, you walk away from the interaction feeling pleasantly surprised. What made that feel special was their ability to treat you as an individual.
In business, the same holds true. Customers want to feel special; they want to feel that they’re being individually attended to even though they’re interacting with a business. This is where your CRM (customer relationship management) software comes into play.
CRM software manages and analyzes customer interactions throughout their journey with your company. By compiling a mass of information about customers, CRMs allow businesses to enhance their marketing, sales and customer support experiences and create personalized journeys for their customers.
When you are able to bring topics from previous communications back up in conversation, your prospects will feel a closer relationship with you — they’ll understand that you have their concerns in mind. It’s a win-win situation; because you made them feel special, they’ll be more likely to become loyal, repeat buyers and spread the word about your business for you.
We reached out to industry leaders to find out how they use CRM to create these kinds of connections and personalize the customer lifecycle. Check out their advice and apply it to your business to improve your customer relationships and sales potential:
Track all customer interactions and store their information in one place.
“When attempting to communicate effectively with clients and, in turn, build a great digital experience for them, remember that consistency creates loyalty. It’s critical that a company’s CRM tracks all customer interactions and integrates these channels together as one. By this, I mean email, phone, social media, live chat, and any other communication channel. If these aren’t integrated, the customer will likely have a poor digital experience.
For example, if a customer is communicating with a live chat representative today but is forced to repeat all the information they provided via email the day before, this damages the digital experience. It’s a waste of time, and customers will notice. Streamline customer communication with a versatile CRM, and you will build a successful digital experience.” – Dan Roberge, President, Maintenance Care
Integrate your CRM with all your other marketing tools and assets.
“The best way to personalize the customer journey and tailor the sales approach for online businesses is by integrating the CRM setup with your own website backend. Most CRM solutions offer APIs which allow you to define neat trigger events. These events could be anything from a website visitor submitting a contact form, creating an account, accessing a specific page or becoming a customer.
We integrated every stage of our sales process and user journeys with our system setup, so when an event is triggered, the contact is automatically pushed from one stage to another, and useful information is added to his or her contact record. This way our records are always up to date.
With a little finesse, you can target potential customers with personalized messages and email templates customized for each stage of their journey or resolve issues much quicker when a support ticket comes through.” – Nicholas Hopper, CEO, Crozdesk
Tailor your follow-up to customer preferences and behaviors.
“To create a unique customer journey, small businesses should tailor the experience to the preferences the customer exhibits … If Jane reads your blog and then buys something, send her blog articles via email with subtle product references in it. If you notice that many people place an order for a refill of the same product they bought last month, you can offer them an exclusive subscription. If some customers only buy from a certain product category, such as cardigan sweaters, you shouldn’t be trying to sell bodycon dresses to them. Take what they like and give them more of it to show that you respect their preference. Send them only cardigan promos … If you notice that Ben visits your site a lot and browses around but buys rarely, maybe he’s a hesitant shopper and needs a little push. For him, you can have a special email series with content on your product quality, story, methods, and values to persuade him it’s worth it.” – Dimira Teneva, Word Pixie, Metrilo
Segment your customers based on their interests.
“Let’s say you own a smoothie company that specializes in making DIY smoothie kits. A potential customer is searching on Google for which smoothies are healthiest and most convenient to make. The customer finds your article about smoothies and clicks through to your site. The customer has read the article and found it useful and then continues to browse other articles or your website. The customer then decides to sign up for your email newsletter through a sign-up form. At this point, you’ve captured that customer’s data and sent it back to your CRM system to be stored.
You can now use this data to learn more about what interests your customer through the type of newsletter he or she signed up to receive and the type of content he or she viewed on your website. This data can be leveraged to send personalized emails with related blog posts and related offers that you think the customer might be interested in.” – Andrew Kozman, CEO, Mercury Digital
Follow up in a timely, personal manner.
“Customers like to feel highly valued and important. To stay at the forefront of their mind, you can use CRM software to set reminders for yourself to follow up quickly with customers that either just made a purchase from you or had a question about your product/service. The faster you follow up, the better chance that your customer will be likely to buy from you, rather than from a competitor.” – Tracy Julien, VP of Marketing, GuidedChoice
Discover what their biggest pain point is.
“One of the first things we do to one of our client’s CRM is add a drop-down field for “biggest problem” if it doesn’t already exist. We fill this field with two to five customer pain points that our client solves with its products or services. Then, we make sure the client’s lead generation processes are setup to capture this information as early as possible.
For example, if the client is getting leads through an online form, we’ll make sure that form asks the customer to identify their biggest problem. If the sales process starts with a cold call, we make sure this information is being collected over the phone.
Once you know your customers’ biggest problem, you can customize their experiences to ensure that they get the most value possible from you. This information can help you shorten sales cycles and delight current customers. It helps your marketing team deliver the best educational content, helps your sales team offer the most relevant products and services, and helps your customer service team know what your customer cares most about.” – Tyler Sprunk, CMO, Simple Strat
Customers don’t like to all be treated the same. We live in a world oversaturated with mass marketing messages that we’ve trained our brains to tune out. What stands out now is when people feel personally addressed and when someone makes them feel important.
Imagine how different the earlier scenario would be if the two acquaintances in the example above didn’t remember anything about each other. After a seemingly mandatory session of formulaic small talk, the two parties would walk away from the interaction and likely not think twice about it. Instead, the pleasant experience resonated with Ben because it made him feel special.
Don’t let your customers tune you out. It’s now easier than ever to create these special experiences.