What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?
As a term you might have heard banded around in the context of sales and marketing discussions, Customer Relationship Management, also known as CRM, put simply means a planned approach to looking after your customers, through a regular customer contact programme, either via telephone, email, SMS, social media, post or a combination of all communication channels. CRM became a bit of a buzzword for marketeers during the ‘naughties’ but there’s nothing new about the concept, businesses have used this approach of regular planned communications with their customer base for centuries, although the focus on this activity in it’s own right has certainly grown over the last couple of decades. Although CRM contains the word ‘customer’ in it, it is usually also applied to a planned communication strategy with prospective new customers and lapsed customers who no longer own or use the product or service. The main benefit of a CRM programme is to maintain a regular touch point with your database in order to keep your business front of mind for your customer base, ultimately resulting in high levels of customer retention as well as new customer acquisition.
Database management is key to effective CRM
If you’re committed to improving your businesses customer relationship management activities with a planned and coordinated contact programme, then the first place to start is to review your company’s database management. An effective CRM programme relies heavily on a well-maintained database of customers and prospects, without this you could have the best contact programme in the world, but if its not reaching the intended recipients then you could be wasting a lot of time. When people think of a customer database, it can sometimes conjure images of an expensive piece of software and paying someone to manage it for you, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, a database could be a spreadsheet or even written on paper (although we would not recommend the paper-based route!). Ensuring you are capturing essential customer information such as title, forename, surname, full address with postcode, email address and mobile number is a good starting point, but you also need to ask customers for permission to contact them for marketing purposes too and give them a clear statement of how and when you are going to use their data. It’s also a good idea to perform a regular check with your customers to ensure you still have the correct contact information for them, we’d recommend every 6 to 12 months but you can adjust this to whatever feels right for your business.
Customer Relationship Management services from Trend Marketing
If you’re not already using a planned approach to customer relationship management, then we’re confident that by working with us to help you set-up a CRM contact programme, you will see a measurable improvement in enquiries and sales. The following are just a few of the CRM services that we can offer to your business to help you build better relationships with your customers and prospects:
- Database set-up and management – we’ll help you to research the right kind of database for your business and then transfer whatever customer data you already have to it. We can also provide ongoing management support to allow you to focus on the running of your company.
- CRM strategy development – understanding your business and customer needs, we can help to develop a communication plan for a regular contact programme to include activity such as newsletters and sales promotions.
- Contact programme delivery – we can create and send out communications to your database on your behalf, whether it’s a letter, email, SMS or any other form of communication.
If you’d like to have a chat about your CRM activities, please get in touch on the Contact Us page.
For more information on customer relationship management, check our the Wikipedia definition.