You may have noticed that we have begun referring to our CRM product Batchbook as a friendly approach to customer relationships. It sounds very warm and fuzzy, but just what does customer friendly mean in the course of using a CRM product and how does it bring in more business?
In short, it means that you value your existing customers above all else and want to involve them in helping you grow your business. You are not constantly looking over their shoulders for the bigger, better, more popular customer walking in the door. Rather, you are staying focused on them and putting as much energy into maintaining a good relationship as you are into finding new customers. And in fact, you want to involve them in that process.
When you are a new business (or launching something new), your customer is not just a source of revenue, but an integral part of your business’ development. They help you decide what new features to build in to your product, how to price it, where to find other people who will buy it, and how to describe it in a way that folks not living it 24/7 will quickly understand. A successful relationship with your customer is not just telling them every time you are running a new promotion or discounting an old product. It is taking the time to personally engage with them, build a better product with them, getting their help in making your business succeed and thanking them for the involvement.
Your early customers are the most important relationships of your business’ life. Why trust them to a software program that wants to drip vague, soap-boxy messages to them at predetermined intervals? Get on the phone, skype, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or livechat and hear what they are thinking. If you can, walk out to the front of the store and talk to them yourself! For new (and new-at-heart) businesses your market research, sales efforts, customer service and brand development are all coming from that same relationship. Spend as much time as you can nurturing it.
Batchbook can help you grow your business by engaging with your customers in a number of ways:
Word of Mouth
We now live in a time when the “and they told two friends, and they told two friends” sales method can be rapidly amplified into “they posted to 20 friends and they tweeted 200 followers and they blogged 2K subscribers”. Give your customers easy ways to share, retweet, +1 or like your messages. Send them many thanks when they do and follow up to see if they, and the person they referred are happy with your business.
Send out a newsletter asking for input on a new idea – and respond personally to anyone who sends their thoughts. Do A/B testing on Facebook and Twitter and respond, retweet, like and follow everyone who takes the time to vote. Let them know the results and how you are using the findings. Value their input and reward it with a better product. Keep all of the information in Batchbook SuperTags so you can easily see the common threads and send updates on your progress.
Your customers are the smartest people alive. They found you, didn’t they? So they are the best ones to tell you how your future customers can find you. Talk to them, ask them what search terms they used (or track it with Analytics). Find out what made them try you, what made them decide to buy you, and even what made them decide to leave you. Again, keep all of these conversations tagged in Batchbook & watch for common issues.
A great way to sell your product or service is to partner up with other complimentary services. And guess who knows best what other products/services your customers are using? Yep, those clever people sitting right there in front of you. Ask them – they’ll be happy to help you help them have an even better experience with your product.
Keep It Simple
At some point your business may grow the point of needing to automate your communications. But don’t rush to the automation. While you are still building the business, embrace the close connections. Avoid the complexity that the automation will add to your team’s workflow. Avoid the relationship distance that automation will throw between you and your customer. Otherwise, you will never learn the who, what, when and how much of selling your product. You will just learn how to use a complex CRM.