Relationships matter. The good ones especially.
In any industry – utilities, real estate, trading, call center, retail, e-commerce, professional services like law, public relations and internet marketing – the interaction between the company and the public must be easy and trusting.
Known as customer relationship management or CRM, this management strategy which can make or break a company's earnings and payments cycle, strictly keeps within its sights the corporate credo 'the customer's always right.'
Among bricks-and-mortars, being customer-centric takes many forms, the most fundamental being courteous face-to-face interactions, staff trainings, creating loyalty / points programs, integrating CRM applications in their IT system.
Conducting a business purely over the Internet where you hardly see the customer does not exempt you from making CRM work for you. On the contrary, the need for it is even more compelling.
If you want to get more customers and retain them, you have to invest on a CRM software that allows you to see the status of your company's interactions with customers and from there, plan your subsequent dealings with them. Putting it simply, it makes it easy for you to track and meet their needs.
For those selling services or goods on the Internet, the ideal CRM package would be one that bundles together back office and operational support functions that you or your web administrator can work around with, with the end in view of giving your customers a pleasant experience whenever they visit your website. You can create, re-arrange or modify the content on your web pages to motivate online shoppers to conduct their transactions on your web store.
When choosing a software-package, go for one that also allows you to cross-sell, up-sell others' products, not just your own. Strategically, cross-selling is good for your business financials as it gives you a wider range of products and services to offer to the marketplace. Joined-up applications like web store and products uploading, secure payment (read: fraud protection) and logistics system, automatic shipping calculator (extremely useful for international deliveries), digital promo, search engine optimization (SEO), customer feedbacks – these are guaranteed to give you a wide edge over the competition.
Everytime Buyers register on your web store, your customer database grows into a veritable source of information of past and present interactions that will help you determine what other products / services you can offer them and plan appropriate promotional pitches like competitions, newsletter or email announcements.
There are customers who will look at the sales pitches that they receive on their emails as good extras and there are those who will not but they can always opt out of subscribing to your newsletters. But by and large, customers benefit greatly from businesses that regularly communicate with them, that actively market to them because well, who does not like being pursued and getting free information from the marketplace without having to step into shopping malls?
Listing customer service excellence as your top priority is a win-win situation. A CRM system will put you there.