It’s 8 AM… do you know where your customers are?

By - July 6, 2012

Many years ago, I recall seeing a TV commercial directed at parents. The commercial stated “It’s 8 PM… do you know where your children are?” implying parents should be watching our children to ensure that they do not fall in with the wrong type of people and get into trouble. As I thought about this message, I realized that the same message applies to our business. We can’t have a successful business without our customers. If we are not watching our customers carefully they just might fall in with the wrong type of people… like our competitors.

Retaining existing customers and acquiring new customers is the goal of every business. It’s estimated it cost as much as five to ten times the cost to get a new customer as it does to retain an existing customer. Our customers are our competitor’s leads and prospects! With today’s search engine technology, we are only one click away from losing our customer to our competitor. Just as we are hoping our competitor’s customers may one day become our future customers, our competitors are actively working to make our customers their own. We can’t afford not to keep watch over our customers.

Business is a contact sport… requiring that we stay in regular contact with our customers. Most importantly we have to develop a relationship with our customer! And that can only be accomplished in person. The secret is managing the relationship!

The two top reasons customers leave us is apathy and poor customer service. Apathy is defined as our customer’s belief that we don’t care about them. We have to pick up the phone or stop by and talk to them in person to truly convey the message to our customer that they matter. Our customers want us to listen to them. Only then can we understand them and their pains. Listening builds friendships. Listening builds relationships!  Poor customer service is… just that… poor customer service. It includes lack of attention (apathy on our part) and failure to resolve customer issues in a timely and acceptable manner. Too often we assume that if we don’t hear from a customer than everything must be OK. We stop calling them and our focus shifts to other things, like other customers and new prospects. Pretty soon our customer gets tired of waiting on us or fed up with the poor service and falls in with one of those wrong types of people… our competitor… who is only too willing to give them the attention we failed to deliver.

So what can we do to keep our customers “out of trouble”? The secret is managing the relationship with our customers to make sure that the two reasons stated above don’t happen. That’s where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can help! The term CRM is used to refer to a business philosophy and a type of software solution. The CRM philosophy includes company policies and procedures tailored to your business to support your employees in delivering a great customer service experience.

CRM software is offered by a number of different software vendors and product features vary widely. We recommend and support Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 as we believe it has the best combination of features that are designed to help businesses implement the company policies and procedures mentioned above. Dynamics CRM includes features to track Companies, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities, Notes, Activities, History, Customer Support Issues, Marketing, Reports and much more.  Successfully implemented CRM software helps keep you focused and informed! It enables you to make better use of your time. It empowers your employees to provide higher level of customer service and to manage and build better customer relationships. CRM allows you to really get to know your customers.

My favorite quote that helps sum up the power of relationships in business is from Mark McCormack. Mark states, “All things being equal, people will do business with a friend; all things being unequal; people will still do business with a friend.”

Without a CRM, all you have to compete with is price. It’s a race to see who can sell their product or service at the lowest price. That’s a race that ultimately ends in someone going out of business.

Imagine it’s the start of a new day. You’re sitting at your desk with your coffee cup in hand. Its 8 AM… do you know where your customers are? Are you ready to face the day without a CRM system?  At RSM we believe in relationships! We know and understand Customer Relationship Management! We are specialist in helping company’s like yours get the most ROI out of your CRM implementation.  If you are looking for a CRM partner or have a new project, request a Rapid Assessment SM  with our professionals to evaluate your CRM options and identify a road map for success.

By:  Mark Sotlis – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner Kansas City

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