This is part 2 of a post on using small business CRM for more than just sales. In part 1, I talked about how to use CRM to help manage the early stages of the relationship. Now let’s look at the last two stages of the customer relationship.
The Relationship Building Stage
The stage that comes after the sale is perhaps the most important to manage with your small business CRM. This stage is where you either wow your new customer and lay the groundwork for a long term relationship, or you completely flub it and lose out on future opportunities.
Building strong relationships with customers is one of the hallmarks of a successful small business. In relationship building, you have an advantage over bigger competitors. They have their systems and salesforces, but they often lose track of the individual customer relationships in favor of pushing big numbers.
Good relationships start with delivering on the promises you make while selling to the customer in the first place. After a sales rep makes a sale, she often needs to move on to new customers. Even if your sales team stays involved with the relationship, they still rely on office support to deliver a great customer experience.
During this stage your small business CRM acts as a central information hub. With the customer details you’ve collected, you can ensure that things like product delivery and customer service go off without a hitch.
In Batchbook, you can record any customer communications for future reference. You can also create Custom Field Sets to record important sale details. And, of course, To-Dos can be assigned to team members when a specific task needs to get done. This way, everyone can see who the customer is, what they have bought, and what they still need.
The What’s Next Stage
Every relationship reaches a plateau. If you aren’t careful to keep it exciting and fresh, it could fall apart. In a small business, this stage is usually hit around the time you invoice your customer and they pay you. This is where both parties decide if there is any point in continuing the relationship. Was it just a one sale relationship, fun while it lasted but time to move on? Or can you build something more lasting and keep that relationship going after the “honey-moon” stage.
You need to treasure each of your customers (with the rare exception of customers you should fire). It is in this “what’s next” stage that you really need to step up. Your customer may be super satisfied with you, but unless they need to buy again right away, they aren’t going to go out of their way to keep the relationship going. That’s your job.
Your small business CRM is full of useful details about your customer. Use those details to help you stay in touch. Try sending out emails customized to your contact’s interests, or with special offers for products similar to what they have bought. Also be sure to continue to engage with them on social media and, when possible, with a personal touch. Your CRM can help you group past customers into categories for easier outreach.
When it’s all said in done, good customer relationships are formed through a concerted effort by your whole team. Make sure you don’t hide important details in silos. Instead, use your CRM to nurture long term relationships.