Customer relationship management means just that – managing the relationship you have with your customers to ensure long-term satisfaction.
With the growth of social media and technology platforms that allows for quicker communications, customers are no longer as passive as they used to be. They now have multiple platforms at their disposal to connect with businesses and provide their experiences and feedback.
Successful companies listen to this feedback and engage with their customers on a regular basis; using that experience to then seek ways to improve their products and services. With the rise of these communication methods, customer relationship management is now more important than ever. Here are a few tips to help you improve:
- Start Internally
- Be Available
- Don’t Ignore The Positive Feedback or Fear The Negative
- Treat Them The Way You Want To Be Treated
- Be honest and transparent
- Listen To Their Feedback
- Be Quick And Personal in Responding
The first place to start when it comes to customer relationship management, is with your staff. Make sure everyone within your organization understands what is expected of them in regards to your customers and how you want your customers to view your company. This involves a certain degree of training, but also the right recruitment strategy.
Be sure you’re hiring the right people. This isn’t the easiest thing to do, but a proper vetting and interview strategy can certainly help. Be sure the people you hire are personable, empathetic and knowledgeable. Then, be sure to provide the right incentives to retain these people.
It’s important to be easily available to your customers. This means making sure you are on the same platforms they are – whether it be a social media, like Facebook and LinkedIn, or having an easily accessible help desk. Your customers want to be able to provide feedback, whether positive or negative, and they’ll only do so if it’s easy.
Don’t Ignore The Positive Feedback or Fear The Negative
Both forms of feedback help you to grow and improve as a company. Negative feedback lets you become aware of the areas that need improvement the most from your customer’s perspective. This will only add value to your products and services.
But be careful to recognize the difference between negative feedback that is constructive, vs the feedback that is clearly posted by someone who will complain about anything – because we’re all well too familiar with those types of customers.
Treat Them The Way You Want To Be Treated
People are people – not numbers. Sometimes as a company grows, this can be difficult to remember. Many of us learned the “golden rule” as kids – treat others the way you too want to be treated.
Well, it’s a classic rule for a reason.
When reaching out to or responding to your customers, always treat them with respect. Remember that they have emotions and feelings – even if they give you a hard time or seem difficult to manage; you never know what they’re going through in their personal lives, and your respectful, positive approach can make a huge difference.
Be Honest And Transparent
This is my favorite tip of them all. Honesty is SO important when dealing with customers. Respond to them honestly, and be transparent about your policies, procedures, goals, etc. You may see faster growth if you stretch the truth about your products or services, but in the end, it will hinder your reputation when you’re left with a lot of unhappy, mislead customers.
Own up to your mistakes or issues or bugs that occur. Don’t pass the blame (unless, of course, it was actual user error). Trust me, your customers will appreciate it and you’ll end up looking so much better in the end.
Listen To Their Feedback
Okay, I get it. This is basically Tip #3 – but I can’t stress this point enough, so it deserves a second promotion in this article. Listen to your customer’s feedback, and take appropriate actions. Your customers will be happy that you listened to their advice. A satisfied customer means a stronger relationship, which is exactly your goal here.
Be Quick And Personal in Responding
The final tip I have for you is to make sure that you respond in a timely manner. It’s not always possible to respond immediately, but avoid waiting more than a week before responding – even if you don’t have an answer right away. Let them know that you’ve seen their comments and concerns, and that you are working toward a solution.
Don’t be afraid to be personal. Many companies have pre-written canned responses that lack a personal touch – and customers know when they’ve received that type of message. It makes them feel like they are part of some type of process rather than having a chance to talk to a real person. Honestly, with the role social media plays in customer relationship management nowadays, the scripted responses are becoming a thing of the past…and that’s a good thing.
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