As a small business owner, you are probably aware that your customer satisfaction is a top priority when it comes to being successful. When you are first starting out as a business, this relationship might be easy to dictate because the customer pool starts off small. But as your business grows, it will become harder to facilitate your customer needs, goals, and overall interaction which means a steady decline in your customers view of your business.
Whether you own an online B2B operation or have a brick and mortar boutique shop, the communication between a customer and an employee is relevant to your success. A positive interaction increases the likelihood of them becoming a repeat customer, while a negative one will have them walking out the door and leaving a roaring online review.
The best way to ensure customer satisfaction is to implement a Customer Relationship Management system or CRM. CRM’s have become steadily popular amongst entrepreneurs, but it’s important to know your options. CRM software can be free or they can cost thousands of dollars. Some systems are better for B2C and others are excessively more difficult to navigate.
To give you get the full scope, here is everything small businesses need to know about Customer Relationship Management.
What Is Customer Relationship Management?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a tool that helps manage all interactions your customer has with your business. There can (and should be) multiple CRM systems in place to organize all of these interactions, from online marketing to face-to-face encounters. The goal of CRMs is to help determine where customer service is thriving so that you can expand on those practices to enhance all customer experiences. Likewise, it also works as a tool that points out the flaws in your business-client communication so that you can learn to adjust when need be.
CRM’s can be used through various aspects of your business. Your sales team and your day-to-day employees will also need to be acquainted with this system. Your CRM will reveal your customer’s habits, including purchasing history, customer requests, and more. Knowing these statistics can increase sales by up to 29%, according to SalesForce. Which means that if you are proactive about familiarizing your company with these management gears, then you are already ten steps ahead of the competition for your small business.
CRM Strategies For Small Businesses
Now that you are aware of the undeniable benefits of a CRM, it is time to put this practice to work. Before you actually set up the software for your Customer Relationship Management, you need to formulate a strategy.
It is important to do this just like it was vital to write down your business plan before inquiring for a small business loan. It directly identifies your own goals and previous customer interactions so that you are intricately aware of the progress of your customer’s journey as well as the missteps. Here are just a few small strategies that you should consider before you start the process of managing and increasing your customer interaction.
Reevaluate Your Business Plan and Goals
You set up your small business because you believe that you have a product or service that satisfies a need. You are so confident in your process, in fact, that you believe your company provides something that your competition doesn’t. While this eager approach is admirable, it may leave your blindsided by your customer’s actual experience.
Reevaluate your business plan and goals to make sure these ideals are still being practiced in your current day-to-day. Identify your company slogan and values and make sure that you are still holding fast to your promises. Can you still claim to be the “Best BBQ in the North?” or can you still provide “The Fastest AC Installation”? If not, try reworking your plans and goals to fit realistic expectations so that your customers don’t walk away feeling robbed.
Identify Your Customer
One of the most practiced strategies for any small business is outlining the “ideal” customer. This is a customer identification chart that clarifies the specifics of what your typical customer might be like. Creating a customer persona will help in identifying their wants and needs so that you can better prep your CRM. This strategy is thorough, as you will need to designate your customer’s online behavior, their general lifestyle, their financial situation, education, location and more.
Set Up Interviews
Another way to retain a better grasp of your customer behavior is by setting up interviews. No one will know your client like your employees, so start by managing interviews with your employees to ask about their customer interactions. What do most customers look for? What questions do they ask? What are some positive and negative experiences you’ve encountered? How did the employee solve problems? And so on.
You can also implement interviews or surveys specifically for customers. Many companies, such as Dunkin Donuts, offer free products (in this case, a doughnut) in exchange for taking these surveys. This is when your customer can tell the business what they thought of their experience. It should also allow them to leave recommendations for improvement or highlight their positive interaction with your business.
Map the Customer Journey
This advice comes from Fit Small Business. Their suggested strategy to map the customer journey helps dictate who interacts with your company and where. This includes social media mentions, online reviews, paid ads, and more.
You can use a CRM to map out the customer’s journey to see what enticed them to come to your business in the first place. It will also show where they stop their journey instead of buying. If they went to your website through a paid ad but left at the landing page, you can surmise that the landing page didn’t sell them. Then you can rework the page to be more inviting until your CRM reflects that the page is working to drive higher sales.
CRM Software For Small Businesses
CRM software was initially marketed towards large corporations, but now there are CRM’s that are targeted specifically for small businesses. There is a lot of software to choose from, which can make it hard to determine which one will best suit your business needs.
In short, here are five CRM software that we recommend for small businesses:
Zoho CRM: Free-$35 per month
Nimble: $19-$25 per month
Salesforce: $25-$1,250 for small businesses
Sugar CRM: $45-$100 per month
Less Annoying CRM: $10 per user per month