Customer Relationships - A Process
Turning leads into new customers is always positive, but an entrepreneur’s ability to manage existing clients bodes well in both a highly competitive marketplace and a recovering economy. In fact, customer relationship managers will tell you that the proof is not in the pudding, but in the repeat sales.
Statistics indicate that the cost of developing a new customer is five times that of keeping an existing one, so it makes sense to focus on the latter.
Customer Relationship Management or CRM is an effective tool for inspiring customer loyalty. Its core principle is meeting and exceeding expectations through intimate knowledge of the customer and the highly-evolved relationship between both parties.
The logistical challenge of keeping track of customers boils down to capturing raw data, and often requires time, money and manpower. Obviously, the smaller the business, the easier this task can be. Gone are the days of the old-fashioned rolodex. A comprehensive contact management system can be purchased for a nominal monthly fee or a one-time upfront cost.
Entrepreneurs with smaller bases often believe a note-taking system will suffice. While this may be true, digital tools offers capabilities that pen and paper lack. Some business owners can add records into a database such as Outlook or implement a modified approach in spreadsheets or tables.
Effective contact management software doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg, in fact proven solutions can easily be found for under $100. More than an address book, these sophisticated programs allow you to:
- Improve responses to customer queries
- Identify trends in buying patterns that can lead to increased sales
- Identify hot prospects/leads
- Link and sift data
- Generate detailed reports on customer activities
- Automate routine paperwork for salespeople giving them more time to sell
- Track phone calls, letters and emails
- Add notes
- Forecast sales opportunities
- Schedule meetings
- Strengthen customer relationships
- Close more sales