Every retailer should know that customers are the lifeblood of their business, which is why customer relationship software has become an integral tool for understanding more about your customer base and implementing actions to sustain shoppers for the long term.
Benefits of Building Customer Relationships
While it’s important to always be working towards increasing the visibility of your brand, the higher revenues more often than not come from existing customers.
In fact, according to business.com, customers that come back to your website to buy again spend 67% more than new customers.
One of the main benefits of CRM is that it can help you transform a one-time purchase into recurring revenue. This can only happen when your product offering has value, your sales team has great communication, the marketing team knows what customers want and need and your customer relationships team puts the customer first and foremost every time. A great CRM system helps make all this possible.
Why Use CRM Software?
Depending on which CRM solution you opt for, you can use the platform in the following ways:
1) Building Customer Relationships
The most important thing for any brand to demonstrate is that you understand each of your customer’s specific needs, what they want, and why they should shop specifically from you.
Customer relationship software – particularly when it is integrated with your other business systems, such as your order management, billing & finance and your eCommerce – provides a full and detailed view of your customers, their order history, how much they paid, what products they are interested in, their delivery dates, and more.
It is this level of data that is key to personalisation and will help transform a one-time shopper into a loyal customer.
2) Lead Management
Central to a CRM system for any customer-facing company is the capability to manage leads. Inputting all leads into one system will prevent any potential customers from falling through the cracks.
Having all of the customer data in one place means that multiple people from your sales team can pick up the lead as and when they need to and have all of the information they need to hand.
If your brand has been working off a paper system or another system that doesn’t have CRM capabilities, you’ll find that a new solution that offers lead management will very likely improve customer service and experience.
3) Customer Management
Customers may engage with your brand in several ways including submitting support tickets, making purchases and interacting over email, chat boxes, social media and contact forms, for example.
Before a unified solution became available, piecing together engagement from various sources to attain a single customer profile was a timely task.
Today, a real-time CRM with a 360-degree overview of your customers is possible, which gives all team members from myriad departments a transparent view of each customer interaction.
4) Improved Customer Communication
In eCommerce, problems are always going to crop up, but it is how you deal with those problems that set you apart. Whether you’re helping a customer complete an order, answering their query, or submitting a refund, communication is pivotal.
It’s vital that your customers are kept updated on the progress of their requests at all times. Workflows and automation available through CRM software allow your staff to keep customers informed every step of the way.
CRM software is focused on storing and sharing customer data across your business, it increases visibility, allows you to track customer interactions with your brand, improves internal communication, and reduces duplicated effort, enabling staff to carry out customer-focused tasks quickly and without error.
5) Opportunity Management
The success of many companies relies on maximising the output from their opportunities. Within a customer relationship management system, the capability to gain complete visibility of opportunity records enables enhanced communications not only with the customer but between team members as well.
Seeing and acting on new opportunities relating to current and loyal customers can further keep customer satisfaction high and increase customer retention.
6) Harness the Power of Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is invaluable, even when it’s negative. All customer feedback should be categorised, referenced, and accessible to everybody who needs to see it.
And most importantly it should be reviewed and action taken to ensure your other loyal and future customers don’t have the same experience.
Most CRM software allows you to track customer feedback, and record the reasons behind any negative experiences. By looking at individual cases and running reports that group them together, you will be able to learn from any mistakes and avoid losing customers going forward.
7) Customised Dashboards
Dashboards are a key feature in any CRM system. It translates all your real-time and historical data into an easily digestible overview.
Real-time dashboards enable quicker decisions and smoother daily processes. The best CRM software has customisable dashboards.
For example, your sales reps may see open opportunities and inbound leads on their dashboards, whereas your customer relations teams may see the number of calls resolved and pending requests.
Your marketing team, on the other hand, may see data surrounding the latest marketing campaign they are running, where potential customers are in the marketing funnel or data being pulled in from email marketing tools.
Whatever metrics or information your team needs, with customisable dashboards, all of this is available without even a push of a button.
8) Reporting and Analytics
Reports are always readily available and awaiting analysis from your team. This means that your teams will always be working off the most recent information when making strategic decisions.
The reporting tool can also be used by stakeholders at the highest level as well as on the ground for all-rounded business success.
As with dashboards, reports can be preset for each department based on key performance indicators that matter most to each team and the business as a whole.
Sales performance reports can include metrics such as the number of customer interactions, particularly sales interactions, customer retention rate and existing customers vs new customers.
Reporting for your marketing teams could include return on investment (ROI), a breakdown of success metrics per marketing channel and even down to specific live marketing campaigns.
Finally, your customer experience reporting features may cover resolution metrics, customer satisfaction and an overview of the customer base.
Our customer relationship management platform provides all this and more. Want to find out how we can improve your business processes and customer satisfaction?
Who Needs Customer Relationship Management Software?
If your company is struggling with any of the following, then CRM software may be of great benefit:
1) Is Your Data Siloed?
When your customer data is held separately, by different departments or staff, it becomes siloed.
Your sales and marketing teams may hold different information on the same customer. So, if one department updates its information, that will not be carried through to the other. This risks information becoming incorrect and outdated.
A CRM platform provides a central source of information across the company. All customer data can be accessed by everyone who needs it and updates are reflected immediately across all departments and users.
With everyone always using the most recent data, there is a consistent and accurate view of your customers. Because all departments can add to it as and when needed, the picture of your customer is consistently as complete as possible.
Whatever department you operate in, you will know what your customers are buying and when, which marketing campaigns they have been sent and whether there are any customer service issues.
2) Are Your Data Formats Inconsistent?
You may have users that are working off different data fields that are incompatible across departments. Or perhaps your data is being drawn from various systems, that use inconsistent address formats or naming conventions.
Or maybe you already have a rudimentary CRM system, but it’s not working well, prompting staff to break conventions and adapt it for their needs, or even create their own systems.
This inconsistent approach makes for inadequate and inaccurate customer data. Your staff will be finding it hard to track down the information they need.
The process of upgrading, or investing for the first time, in new CRM platforms involves sourcing and combining all of your customer information and migrating your internal data into one place.
Formatting and cleaning a large amount of data can be problematic. However, the best way to look at it in our opinion is to see it as an opportunity to analyse all of your internal processes, ascertain what’s working and what’s not and then reorganise into a single approach that will work well with your chosen customer relationship management solution and, most importantly, further improve customer experience.
3) Can Your Customer Data Be Accessed Remotely?
If your method of collating customer data does not allow for remote access, then your staff will be limited to how they can interact with – and ultimately sell to – your customers.
With the rise of working from home, flexibility for CRM users is key. To prevent data from becoming siloed again, it’s vital that your chosen CRM platform can be updated whenever and wherever your teams are working from.
4) Is Your Customer Service Declining?
If your customers are leaving negative feedback more regularly, your current data storage system could be the cause.
Without accurate records on customer purchases, communications, and interactions, staff can’t have a full view of the customer.
This can result in a lack of understanding about who is responsible for any actions a customer requests or updating the system with any steps that have been taken to remedy any outstanding problems.
When your customers must repeat and confirm their details just to get a small issue sorted out, it can be incredibly frustrating – for your staff and for your customers. Data deficiency hinders customer satisfaction and fosters a negative view of your company.
A CRM system helps with this, updating the latest touchpoints with each customer so that they are visible to everyone dealing with them (even staff working remotely). So, the information doesn’t have to be repeated and customer service can be handled more quickly and effectively, freeing your staff to resolve the next issue or continue implementing strategies that will further improve customer relationships.
5) Are You Struggling With Ineffective Customer Targeting?
Without the right information, your teams can’t run campaigns or execute strategies to their full impact.
It can also result in miscommunication between teams directly to customers. For example, if your customer records are only held by the finance team then the marketing department can’t easily differentiate, except manually, who has already signed up to their contact lists.
As a result, your company may send different offers to the same email contact – perhaps both a customer offer and a prospecting offer. The resulting disconnect is evident to your customer, whose opinion of you will likely worsen.
Centralised, accurate data allows you to pinpoint targets that are ripe for cross-selling and upselling. When you know who has bought what, you can identify and segment your customers into groups and run highly targeted sales and marketing campaigns and promotions. Better targeting based on precise data achieves better success rates.
6) Are There Gaps In Your Customer Data?
With limited or incomplete customer data, there is so much your teams can’t see or act on. They won’t know who your largest spenders are, how many customers spend a certain amount, or what percentage are repeat purchasers.
This lack of vital analytical data prevents you from making important business decisions; critical decisions that have a bearing on the financial future success of your company.
A lack of good data can hamper your company’s growth and development, preventing you from scaling up or branching out into new markets. CRM software helps your teams identify these pivotal gaps in customer data so that your brand can have the best relationship with your customers possible.
7) Are You Struggling To Measure Your Marketing Performance?
CRM data is vital in demonstrating which marketing activities are generating the most enquiries or resulting in the most conversions.
Not being able to track leads effectively means your marketing staff can’t evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts. You won’t be able to measure whether the budget you put behind a specific campaign was worth it or whether the performance could have increased had additional budget been allocated.
Having this data is critical to informing the success of campaigns and the future allocation of your marketing budgets.
8) Is Your Brand Growing?
It’s impossible to say at which point in a company’s growth a CRM system becomes essential. But the evidence seems to point to the cut-off coming at around 10 employees. So even startups can benefit from a CRM system.
If you are growing – or aiming to – then investing in CRM software allows you to continue to maintain great relationships with your customers, whether you have only a few hundred or several thousand.
CRM helps improve efficiency across teams, provides relevant data for staff to get the most out of their efforts and ensures a better customer experience.
Benefits of CRM Software
Arguably the most important metric for measuring business success is whether or not current customers choose to continue shopping with you.
Understanding each of your customer’s specific needs, what they want, and why they shop specifically with you and then working with the data you have obtained throughout the years to deliver something that shows the relationship goes both ways will result in higher customer satisfaction.
A good CRM system will organise all of this customer information in one place to help your team and the brand as a whole improve customer satisfaction and generate more income.
Here are some additional CRM benefits:
Benefits of CRM for Small Businesses
For small businesses, in particular, operational costs need to be kept as low as possible while revenue and profit see steady growth.
According to Smile, 41% of an online store’s revenue comes from 8% of its customers. The likelihood of a customer coming back to your store and purchasing again is 27%. With second and third return visits, that likelihood of another purchase jumps up 54%.
Your ideal CRM software will play a pivotal role in helping your teams improve customer relationships and generate more sales with lower budgets:
Happy Customers Provide Referrals
Small businesses can save money on marketing to new customers by focusing on obtaining better customer retention.
Customer referrals can drive motivated traffic to your online store. Testimonials, reviews, and shared promotions; all help to encourage people who have never bought from you to buy, based on the fact that other people (who are generally more trusted than anonymous retailers and websites) have received a positive experience when shopping with you before.
It’s a glowing advertisement, and what’s more, it’s practically free.
Loyal Customers Spend More
It’s no secret that longstanding customers are valuable to your business when they’re buying from you regularly.
But just how much additional revenue a repeat customer generates is probably underestimated by many retailers.
The total spend-per-order for a customer who is considered to be in the top tier of your loyal customer base is significantly greater than those who are in the lower tiers.
In 2021, Talk-Retail cited a white paper that shows that one loyal customer is as valuable as twenty-two non-loyal customers.
The interdepartmental connectivity made possible by CRM solutions makes it easier to monitor the experiences paying customers are having when they shop with you, increasing the chances of turning a one-time shopper into a loyal customer.
Financial Benefits of CRM
We’ve already touched upon the financial value of leveraging customer data through a CRM system to increase the value each converted shopper brings to businesses.
An additional benefit of looking into CRM systems for your company is the ability to streamline sales processes.
CRM software does more than showcase key data on a dashboard. You can also:
- Build sales pipelines,
- Review and streamline processes to spend less but gain more,
- Automate some tasks to allow your team more time to work on converting leads into paying customers,
- Provide accurate forecasting,
And so much more.
Rather than think about how much it costs to engage new customers, educate them, gain their trust and encourage them through the customer journey to a purchase (which is considerably more than retaining customers), think about the cost of losing a loyal customer.
Drawbacks of CRM Systems
As with everything in life, there are pros and cons, and even the best CRM software can have drawbacks. Some of these include:
- CRM platforms can be costly. While the costs are more than worthwhile in regards to the returns you can expect, upfront costs may be high.
- In addition to literal costs, the time costs associated with picking a new CRM tool, preparing to transfer from your old system to the new one and then get used to how the new software works can be extensive.
- A CRM system helps to smooth processes, but if an audit hasn’t been carried out to ascertain what functionality you need, you may end up with a bloated system that charges you for features you don’t need or use.
- Depending on the previous CRM system you had in place, or if this is your first time investing in a CRM platform, your staff will need to undergo training.
- Some employees may be hesitant to move over to the new CRM software.
The good news is that these drawbacks are not game changers, and many of these can be overcome by being selective in the system you invest in. The right CRM software will be provided by a brand that has experience working in your industry and can make the transition as smooth as possible while ensuring you’re only paying for functionality that will help your business operations.
At NoBlue, we believe that your chosen CRM platform should help not hinder business operations. As Netsuite CRM implementation partners, we can ensure you’re getting everything you need and more from your software.
Find out more about choosing the right CRM platform for your needs.
Common Questions Asked When Contemplating Buying Into a New CRM Solution
As with all business purchases, you must be sure that every expense improves the everyday working of your staff, doesn’t hinder customer experience and helps your business grow.
Below, we’ve answered some common thoughts business owners think of when deciding whether or not to invest in a new system:
“We’ve Never Needed CRM Software Before, Why Do We Need It Now?”
Buying habits and customer expectations have changed. In the age of ‘omnichannel’, people want to choose how they interact with your company, and they expect a seamless experience regardless of whether they choose to shop in-store, over the phone, or online using their desktop PC, laptop or mobile device.
Customers in both the B2B and B2C space have become used to the high level of service they receive from companies like Amazon which includes, amongst other things, a truly personalised shopping experience.
Today’s customers want you to know who they are, what they’ve enquired about or ordered in the past, and how much they’ve paid. So it’s more important than ever to have an all-encompassing CRM system that brings together all of your data into one place.
We’re not just talking about software to store customer contact details, it’s a record of every single conversation and interaction every member of your team has ever had with a customer.
It provides insight into each customer’s interests, order history, what they’ve paid in the past, and their behaviour. Ultimately, it leads to a better understanding of who you’re trying to sell to.
Great CRM platforms will help your teams cope with changes in buying habits and customer expectations. Your brand will provide a more personalised customer experience, improve segmenting, and create more professional and targeted sales activities and marketing campaigns.
“We’re Doing Fine With Spreadsheets, Why Would We Spend Money on CRM Software?”
Whilst spreadsheets serve a variety of functions in business, problems arise when there is a heavy reliance on them, or they are being used to manage key business processes.
It’s incredibly easy to make errors when using spreadsheets, and for large organisations, even simple errors can end up costing millions.
If you can’t trust your data, how can you make the right business decisions? And if you’re looking for a view of how your business is performing with regards to customer service, sales and marketing, then searching through dozens of spreadsheets can be very time-consuming and hugely prone to error.
It’s also incredibly easy for spreadsheets to stack up and there be no discernible system in place as to how they should be managed and how they impact the business as a whole. Particularly if you are experiencing growth, the number of spreadsheets you are relying on can very quickly increase, only adding to the confusion.
Multiple staff members may not be able to edit spreadsheets at the same time, which can result in duplicate copies of the same document flying around. This can make it difficult to ensure that the ‘master’ copy is up to date.
With CRM software, all of your staff can enter data simultaneously into the same system, which reduces duplicated effort and the risk of errors. This allows you to manage all CRM functions within one streamlined solution and provides you with a single view of your customers, your sales and marketing activities.
“We Don’t Have Time to Implement CRM Software Across the Business, and Time is Money!”
Whilst in the short-term you will need to spend time and resources choosing and implementing the right CRM software, and then providing high-quality training to your staff, the long-term benefits will provide a very real return on investment.
Here are some ways that you will save time and resources in the long term by implementing CRM software:
- As all staff are viewing and updating the same centralised system, there will be no more duplicated effort which will save time and reduce costly errors. This also allows for much better communication throughout your entire organisation.
- There will be less time spent on administrative tasks, which means your sales staff will have more time to spend with your customers and prospects.
- You and your staff won’t have to spend time hunting through various spreadsheets and notes to get information about your customer service, sales and marketing activities.
- Automatic reminders mean your staff can easily remember which tasks to complete that day, without having to spend time hunting through notes.
- Easy access to the right data means your teams can produce more targeted and personalised sales and marketing campaigns, resulting in more new and repeat business. You will also be able to take advantage of more upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
- A single view of every interaction and conversation you have had with a customer will lead to better customer service and higher customer retention rates.
- Easy access to the right data will allow you to make timely and informed business decisions, allowing you to react to changes faster than your competitors.
Hopefully these will help you get your request for a new CRM system implemented. If not, we would be happy to provide a demo to showcase the positive impact an upgrade can have on business operations.
We hope you’ve found this guide useful. If there’s any additional information or help and advice you’d like from our team we would be happy to help.
We’ve been helping companies leverage the power of CRM systems for over twenty years. Our work has won awards and we are QAS International certified.
The specialist industries we support include:
- Fashion and apparel,
- Software and IT,
- Professional services,
- Wholesale distribution,
- Media and publishing,
- Food and beverage.
We’d love to hear about your current business operations and discuss how we can help you make further improvements for your customers and staff.