If customers were predictable and bought the same products, in the same frequency at the same time, year in year out, a solo CRM system would manage everything more than capably.
But as we all know, that is just not the reality in business. Customers have unique behaviours and trends. They are rarely something we can pinpoint and forecast, we can keep track of them and target them, but rarely can we use the CRM as a crystal ball and have absolute certainty of their movements.
And with the arrival of SmartPhones and tablets, it’s becoming even more complex to have a definitive overview. That is, unless you’ve co-ordinated your CRM system to cope.
More and more companies are switching to multi-access CRM systems, for a complete 360 perspective on their customers. But why is this? Let’s explore…
Channel their habits with a multi-channel strategy
New research from International consulting firm Deloitte found that individuals who use more than one medium to do their Christmas shopping are likely to spend twice as much as the average shopper.
Vice Chairman Alison Paul commented: “There’s always been a retail adage that your multichannel shopper was your best customer. What was surprisingly was the difference. The person who is not shopping across all channels is going to spend half as much as cross channel. It’s not just a better customer you’re getting; it’s a significantly better customer.”
It just makes sense to have a system in place that would not only track your customer’s behaviour, but also make it easier for users to have a comprehensive view of their customer’s buying habits, in order to deliver better customer service and run reports more efficiently.
Organisations that integrate various channels within their CRM systems have a huge advantage over companies with single platform CRM systems. Their co-ordinated approach means that their customer service assistants have a better, more well rounded view of each individual’s interactions with the company, collating data on each channel on their previous communications and purchase behaviour.
Two can play that game
If you think about it; CRM is a bit like a game of tag. Your customers approach you for products and services, then you chase them, they come back, you don’t chase them as much, they stray, you chase them more. It’s like the business equivalent of cat and mouse. But let’s now think about this logically…
If your business is enabled with multiple channels of interactive customer contact, it can increase the number of times it is able to sense and compare customer behaviour across channels.
This increase the ability of your business to adaptively learn what your customers are doing and then craft strategies to retain and extend those valuable relationships.
Customers may also respond by the channel they choose, not necessarily the one chosen for them. For example, a bank may send its online customers an e-mail offer for an insurance product with a URL to click if they are interested. The customer could throw a spanner in the works though and stop at their local branch to discuss the offer with a service representative.
Now, the bank must have a sophisticated multi-access/multi-channel CRM system in place to be able to process this data and also so that the bank’s staff can keep track of that customer before they slip through the net.
Keeping track of your customer’s footprint
A multi-access CRM system will help you pinpoint when customer activity is overlapping and also keep an eye on their electronic ‘footprint’.
Multiple streams of data may however confuse things and result in ‘diffuse feedback’ (when customer behaviour is spread over different channels and lead to conflicting results) so be sure to manually check out the environment too and don’t just rely on the robots to suss it out for you.
Use the right CRM tools for the job
CRM tools are constantly evolving and pushing the boundaries. There are even more ways now to keep track of your customers by adding new CRM tools to your current system.
Many CRM tools are online and include social data as standard aspects of each record. They also include a comprehensive view of the customer relationship, including project management, collaboration and payments.
Below is a list of five intuitive CRM tools that collate as much data in one place as possible:
- Maximizer CRM – a modern, small business CRM which is popular with growing businesses thanks to its flexibility and relative low cost.
- Worketc – combines CRM, project management, payments, sales, support and a powerful automation engine to help specifically with SMEs
- Batchbook – known as the CRM developed specifically for SMEs and entrpreneurs. Batchbook covers the necessities for contact management and includes social media monitoring. Customer records link to social networking profiles, their last three tweets, most recent Flickr photos and a LinkedIn summary
- Nimble – will automatically identify your customer’s social profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter so your team can easily connect, listen and engage your most important business contacts
- Highrise – the theory behind this is one is that your address book does not do enough and your CRM system tries to do too much. Highrise will keep track of your customers, conversations and tasks. Over 60 feature add-ons will keep you well occupied