You’ve probably heard it said that it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to get a new one. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t seem to heed this advice very well. Instead, they focus all of their efforts on customer acquisition while, in large part, ignoring the customer base that they already have.
Make no mistake—you need to devote time to generating leads and landing new customers. But here’s the thing. If you don’t have a good plan for customer retention, your company will have a hard time being truly successful. You have to spend time nurturing the customer relationships that you already have so you can keep your customers happy and loyal. These will be your most profitable customers if you play your cards right.
That’s where online CRM software comes into the picture. When you think of CRM (customer relationship management) software, you probably think about how useful it can be in cultivating your leads and landing new customers, but a lot of people don’t realize that online CRM software can also be an incredibly useful tool for customer retention.
What makes CRM software so useful for customer retention?
- Automate customer outreach—Staying in regular contact with your customers is important for numerous reasons. First of all, you don’t want your customers to forget about your company. You always want to be in the back of their minds so that when the time comes that they need your products and services, they come back to do business with you. Staying in touch with your customers also helps build stronger relationships. Every relationship is built on communication, so as you continue to reach out to existing customers, those relationships improve. With the right software, you can automate some or all of the customer outreach process, ensuring regular contact is maintained with your customers.
- Track customer behavior—The more you know about your customers, the better. Information is one of your biggest assets. A good online CRM program will make it easy for you to track customer behavior, such as buying patterns, demographics, interests, and so on. All of this information can be used to help you improve your customer relationships.
- Improve responsiveness—Responsiveness can make or break customer relationships. When customers contact you, they want you to be able to help them without passing them from one person to the other or putting them on hold while you try to dig up the information they need to solve their problem. The great thing about CRM software is that it gives you the ability to pull up information on every customer, including notes about past conversations with the customer, emails sent to the customer, and so on. This helps improve responsiveness when a customer contacts you because you have all that information handy and readily accessible.
- Tailor messages to fit their needs—Every customer is different, and if you want to get the best results from your marketing, you need to tailor your messages to appeal to the different segments of your customer base. With a good CRM program, segmenting your customers is easy. You can classify customers by demographics, buying patterns, and any other number of factors, and then, you can tailor messages for each group.
Using online CRM software is simply a smart way to improve customer loyalty.
Craig Klein is president of Sales Nexus in Houston Texas. Sales Nexus is a leading online CRM software for small businesses and sales organizations. Craig’s passion is helping small businesses hire, train, measure and manage sales people through their sales process. Follow Craig on Google+ and Twitter to learn more.