CRM or customer relationship management software has proved to be an important business tool in recent years, both in estate and letting agency as well as many other businesses. Chances are that CRM software is only going to become more important to your business in future.
Essentially CRM is all about using technology to manage, analyse and automate your relationships with customers. Used correctly, CRM can be a powerful way to handle those relationships, do business better and make more money.
So, sometimes, it’s easy to forget that CRM poses some inherent problems. Customers are human, and so relationships with them can’t be quantified in terms of pieces of data alone. It’s absolutely essential to consider the human element of your relationships with your customers too.
By ensuring your CRM is always people-focussed you can maximise the results and benefits you get from it. Here we’ll offer some thoughts on making sure that your CRM system always works with and for people:
From the outset recognise the limitations of CRM. Remember that CRM is a tool to help you do business, it shouldn’t take over your business.
The bottom line is that computers, facts and figures don’t build relationships with customers .... people do. And, in any business, good personal relationships are generally a much better way of winning and keeping customers than price alone.
The biggest advantages of CRM are probably to be had from using technology and the human touch together in the optimum combination.
Use CRM that allows you to customise. Your CRM should work in the way your business, your staff and your customers work. It shouldn’t force everyone to work the way IT works. Ultimately CRM that is customisable will keep everybody happier and produce much better results.
Preferably, choose a CRM system that allows you to customise your own workflows and actions, and which can be configured to suit each user’s individual role.
Use CRM that allows you to personalise. Your CRM should allow you to personalise so that, for example, communications and points of contact are clearly from people and to benefit people and not just movements of data.
For example, even something as simple as addressing a customer in the way they prefer to be addressed in a call or email can make a big difference to response.
Don’t forget the importance of your staff as part of your CRM system. At the end of the day staff, not computers or data, build working business relationships with your customers.
Getting the best from a CRM system calls for your staff to be properly trained in its use. As part of your training, find out what your staff really think about your CRM. What do they think it does well and what do they think it does poorly, if anything? What do they find is a help and what, if anything, makes their job harder?
And, as well as training your staff to use technology, also offer your staff training in using their personal and human skills to build relationships with customers.
Don’t measure everything in terms of facts and figures. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of some CRM systems. They express everything in terms of time and money saved or made, or sales or commissions won or lost and forget the other things that are as or even more important.
Bear in mind that intangibles like building trust, treating customers fairly, or going that extra mile to give service that goes above and beyond are things on which successful businesses thrive. But these things can’t easily be measured by facts and figures.
Use data with care when making decisions. Don’t be afraid to use good old fashioned instinct when you need to.
Ask for feedback from customers on their experience. While you wouldn’t want to question your customers about your CRM package as such remember that CRM directly affects their customer experience. So ask customers and others what they liked or didn’t like about their customer experience during the buying, selling, renting or letting experience. Ask them what they found worked well or what went wrong, if anything.
Conducting a survey is one way of obtaining feedback. Also study any reviews that customers post about your business.
Experience your CRM yourself to find out what it’s really like! Consider becoming a mystery buyer, seller, landlord or tenant .... or all of them. Find out how your CRM system handles your enquiries, requests and other communications. Consider what was good and what was bad about your experience. (Your customers will probably think much the same.)
You can also use this approach to test your competitors’ and rivals’ CRM systems to see what kind of customer experience their systems deliver. See what their system allows them to do better, and what they don’t do as well.
Expect good things from your CRM .... and don’t be afraid to change it if you need to. CRM should be about more than just delivering on the numbers. It should make your business look and feel a better business as a result. So if your CRM isn’t managing to do that don’t be afraid to consider other providers. Switching CRM could be a lot more practical than you think, as its often possible to migrate your data to another platform relatively easily.
In a world where CRM will have an even bigger part to play in every business in future, it’s important to have a platform that really works for you, not just for the sake of using technology.
Why not take a look at how Apex 27 CRM can help your business? Apex 27 offers powerful CRM features, is easy to use, and is free to sign up and try with no minimum contract whatsoever.