An essential part of modern business, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is basically the relationship between an organisation and it’s customers. Whether you are a sole trader with a handful of regular customers or a multi-million pound turnover organisation the principle of CRM stays the same; it is just the scope that varies.
To achieve successful CRM, your relationship with a customer must be ongoing, co-operative and built for the long term; this in turn means that you will save on the expensive process of acquiring new customers (a lot costlier than retaining current ones).
Good CRM not only improves the service to customers it will ultimately reduce costs, wastage and complaints. On top of this it can also enable instant market research; opening lines of communication with your customers gives you constant market reaction, and help grow your business through customer retention, referrals and a reduction in customer turnover rates.
Like any other organisational initiative, the ultimate purpose of CRM is to increase profit. For CRM, this is achieved mainly by providing a better service to your customers than that given by your competitor.
Customers want a good service, a quality product and an acceptable price but most of all they must have their needs satisfied; needs which often extend far beyond a suppliers’ proposition – often including the buying-selling process, the handling of communications and the customer-supplier relationship.
In an ideal world, a business exceeds its customers’ expectations, which in turn maximises customer satisfaction and increases the credibility of its goods and services.
Expectations are always changing and assuming you know what they are is dangerous you must always ask and always determine them on an on-going basis. Different customers will have different expectations for the same product and one size certainly doesn’t fit all. It can depend on:
- social and demographic factors
- economic situation
- educational standards
- competitor products
Quality, price, product, location and customer service are all drivers that determine why a customer does business with you and asking what is important ensures you know the reasons your customer remains loyal to you. As a business, you need to ensure you are under promising and over delivering!
Forward thinking organisations understand the vital need to maintain a strategic focus on CRM and to resource and manage it appropriately. For them a strong, modern and competitive CRM system enables them to strengthen their supplier-customer relationship and they are constantly looking to upgrade and improve their systems so that they continue to stay ahead of their competitors.
Discover more about what a successful CRM system can mean for your business and what solutions are currently in the marketplace by attending The Manufacturer Connect on 21 June in Birmingham.
Apply for a free place at v.themanufacturerconnect.com
Written by Kate Birinder, Head of Marketing and Research, Hennik Research