Everybody knows how to get more out of your customers - it’s easy. You just hang on to them and get them to buy more, right?
Plus you find more customers. And then give them all great service so they never leave and, finally, do all of that without letting costs go through the roof. If it really is that easy, why do so many of us fail to execute on that simple plan?
Well, one reason might be quite simple - do you know who your customers actually are?
OK - perhaps you do have a collection of records about customers but still struggle to get that complete view. Apparently smarter, and often larger companies have struggled for years to gain a single view of their customers. Think about a circumstance close to us all - our local bank, for example. It may know us as a current account customer, a pension holder, an insurance policy holder, but each of those items of information are often held in different parts of the organisation.
So, as we have said many times before, the answer to the problem, is customer relationship management, or CRM. A centralised, or 360 degree approach to data, processes and customer management. So why isn’t every company in our day-to-day lives "on the CRM bandwagon"?
Well, as I alluded to in my last blog, while the concept gained a lot of attention around the turn of the millennium, many companies either set their ambitions too high or neglected to think about internal processes & culture, and thus a lot of projects failed.
Yet, despite all the bad press, Aberdeen Group, examined 261 companies back in 2011 and identified, in their report that best performing 20% of companies surveyed managed an impressive 91% customer retention and 88% customer satisfaction.
These days, companies that are now taking it in more bite-sized pieces tend to deliver projects that are usually less expensive, less complex, quicker to implement and stand a far higher chance of success. These smaller projects could be just automating one or a number of customer focusing sales processes, driving communications through campaign management or providing an outlet for customers to self-self. And with more & more CIOs now reporting to an MD or strategy unit, there's now a chance for real & measurable partnerships between the business and IT towards successful project delivery.
And successful project delivery equates to real returns -- you can read more about how Zest Publications achieved great returns to their sales team, or how Lincoln Waste drove cost out of their business by eliminating hundreds of spreadsheets. Where there is true understanding of the potential gains & engagement at board level to realising the savings or growth, most companies see the wisdom of investment.
So, pause a while, look at your company & calculate the potential gains from implementing CRM. And ask yourself - what is stopping you from doing something about it?