Yes, you read it right—because knowing what not to do can be a surprisingly positive approach to successful Customer Relationship Management.
CRM weaves a vital connecting grid integrating all aspects of your business. From marketing and sales to service and finance, it serves as the central repository for information. Identifying and avoiding common weak areas is an essential part of building a strong process.
1. Never keep contacts in email address books or spreadsheets.
Clients prefer to do business in a place ‘where everybody knows your name.’ But your CRM is much more than a listing of customer names and phone numbers. It provides a history and analysis of interactions with all past, present and prospective customers and vendors. By tracking personalities, preferences and most-valued attributes, relationship-building and sales opportunity information is readily available in real time for all functions across your business.
Such data not only needs to be accessible to all, but also controlled in how it’s used.
Only a carefully created and monitored singular CRM can be your company’s reliable ‘source of truth.’ No spreadsheet can offer that.
2. Avoid entries in multiple locations.
This is one of those more-is-not-better scenarios. Every employee across your company should have confidence that the client information and history they’re accessing is correct and up to date. If there’s more than one source for data entry and retrieval, there’s obvious room for error and inconsistency. With a properly developed and maintained CRM, there’s no need for wasted time and effort on any additional client data sources.
3. Don’t overlook a very important process for VIPs.
As intuitive as it might sound, remember to have a process for noting VIP status in company contact data. All customer contact is important, but let’s face it, if your client’s CEO calls in, you want to make sure everyone from your receptionist to service team is aware and can respond at the appropriate level.
4. Do not forget to link CRM and operations.
It only makes sense for CRM data to effectively feed into all areas of business operations including administrative tasks, contracts, billing, reporting, finance and accounting. In addition to the most current contact info for such tasks as invoicing, CRM data is valuable in quoting and reviewing sales opportunities.
5. Steer clear of ‘not my job.’
As the single source for company and contact data, your CRM is a critical part of all company functions. As such, a team approach works best in keeping it ‘healthy.’ Every colleague should take personal responsibility for updating, maintaining, and using the CRM data. Make data entry easy and use keywords or statuses to identify information gaps for follow-up. Make sure information is verified and updated regularly.
Your CRM plays an overarching role in all aspects of your business. Taking time to mistake-proof the process will help ensure it’s a productive partner in your business.