Archive for the ‘CRM’ category

Retaining Your Current Customers

April 26th, 2012

When focusing on growing your small business, acquiring new customers should probably be at the top of your list. And that would be the best possible approach for a startup company. But I would suggest that the most important thing for any established business is to keep their existing customers.

You have probably heard this before; it is far less expensive to retain old customers than to acquire new ones, but you should also ask yourself what is the point of acquiring more customers if you can’t hold onto your existing ones? Also, what is the cost to your brand of all of those defecting customers? Are you just replacing angry customers with ignorant ones?

In a world of increasing competition and ease of defection to other products and services, building and focusing on keeping your customers longer can be a significant way to grow your business. Realize that:

  • Businesses in many industries may lose up to 50% of their customers over a five year period.
  • Studies have shown it is 5 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a current customer.
  • As little as a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25 to 95%.

Unaware of these figures, many businesses still focus on acquiring new customers as their primary growth strategy rather than protecting and nurturing those they already have.

Why do customers leave?

 Before we can start keeping customers, we first have to try and understand why customers leave. Studies tell us that the main reasons customers leave, or stop doing business with a specific company are:

  • 1% die
  • 3% move to another area
  • 5% are influenced by friends or contacts to go elsewhere
  • 9% are lured away by your competition
  • 14% don’t stay because they are disappointed with your product or service
  • 68% leave because they perceive an indifferent attitude toward them

Furthermore, research also shows that there is a significant difference between the reasons that companies think customers leave and what their customers actually think. If these findings are true then they have huge implications for business. They suggest that loss of customers is not so much about how good your product or service is, or how competitive your industry is, but rather it’s more about how you are with your customers, and how much they believe you care about them.

The implications of this falls into a few areas that businesses need to focus on:

  • It’s not about you (the business), it’s about them (the customer)
  • Customer service/care involves everyone in your business not just your customer-service people
  • Your relationship with your customers. This may take some time, effort and a lot of trust in your front-line staff because everyone is different and technology and systems are not always the best way to solve a problem. Sometimes it’s about just being a bit more human, taking a bit more time and a longer view of the relationship you have with the customer.

Want to improve your retention of customers? Here are a few steps to help you get started:

Get to know your customers

This is not just about how long they have been a customer or how much money they spend. Get to know them, find out what they like, what they don’t like, ask for their opinion on how you could better serve them.

Segment your customer-base according to their similarities

Segmenting your customers into different groups will make this project easier and allow you to track retention progress in each group. Create a strategy to get to know each group of customers that focuses on their expectations. Since each group is different, it is reasonable to expect they will have different preferences.

Decide which customers are going to work for your business

This is where reality and tough choices kick in. Not all customers are going to be a good fit for your business so choose which customers will work and be very clear about which ones will not. If you can identify the customer that will be disappointed with your customer experience as it does not fit with their needs and you choose not to do business with them (in the nicest possible way), then you will have saved yourself a lot of time and energy and brand equity in the process. They’ll appreciate the honesty. Refer them onto someone who will be able to fill their needs and you’ll create an advocate for your business.

Use Customer Relationship Management software

You’re going to need to have a way of gathering and storing the information about your relationships with your customers. This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology can lend a hand. Talk to an expert about this but don’t be led by the technology. Let your customers lead.

Measuring your progress and success

Set targets, monitor and measure your progress. It’s the only way that you will know if you are improving. However, realize that this can take time and will depend on the nature of your business and current relationships with your customers.

The results of improving your retention

The process of creating a focus on customer retention is not easy, and it takes time. But when you put it all into place you will be pleased with the results. Listening, learning and paying attention will get a positive response from your customers, and that means more business for you. Once you establish a learning relationship with your customers, you can develop a partner-like relationship. And at that stage, you’ll be able to meet and exceed their expectations by anticipating their needs. The deeper the relationship and more complex their needs, the more they will appreciate your relationship with them and the less likely they will be to move their business elsewhere.

Customer loyalty has a direct impact on the market value of your business

It’s been said that the most valuable asset a company possesses is not its buildings, employees or intellectual property, but its customer list. And that’s certainly a defensible position to take. A true entrepreneur, stripped of his or her entire infrastructure, could conceivably rebuild from scratch with only a list of proven buyers.

Interestingly, anyone who may wish to acquire your business will assess your company’s market value by taking your customer list into account. Should you ever choose to sell your business, it will be easy to point to a well-maintained customer list and express customer loyalty as a considerable value.

Cool Product: BatchBook

November 22nd, 2011

Customer Relationship Management

by
BatchBlue

Batchbook is customer relationship management software (CRM) created to be useful, user-friendly software for businesses that have a limited budget but wish to track contact information about their customers and any points of contact that the business has with them (phone calls, e-mails, purchases, returns, reservations, etc.). If you need to collect industry and business specific information about your customers that can’t be handled by basic e-mail management software, and desire an easy-to-use system with excellent customer support, then you need to check out this product.

Contact Management
Batchbook allows you to keep track of your business, personal, and social networking contacts and share them. You can create a flexible, easy-to-use contact database from scratch, or import your contacts from an existing system. In addition to standard contact information, you can use SuperTags to create custom fields to capture the information that’s important to you (such as customer information, personal details, or social networking profiles). The Contacts tab offers a variety of filtering options and powerful batch actions so you can efficiently manage your network.

 

 

 

Social Media Monitoring
With one click of the “Search Social Network” button, you can easily find and add your contacts Twitter, Flickr and LinkedIn profile information. When you view the contact record, you will have links to social networking profiles as well as their last three tweets, most recent Flickr photos, and a LinkedIn summary will appear alongside their contact information and communication history, giving you a more holistic view of their social networking activity. You can also add other feeds such as work and personal blogs by using the Social Media supertag.

 

Custom Fields with SuperTags
A SuperTag is a tag with a lot more power (hence, the super hero status!). By turning an ordinary tag into a SuperTag, you can group contacts together and create custom fields for only those contacts. SuperTag your “press” tag to track custom information about your press contacts like publication, topics, and preferred contact method. SuperTag your “customer” tag to store customer data such as birthday or account information.

With SuperTags, you can choose from different field types, including text, number, yes or no, phone number, email address, website, date, recurring date, multiple choice and even RSS feed. Every SuperTag field is searchable through Batchbook’s powerful advanced search and reportable through Batchbook’s Lists & Reports.

 

  

Communications Tracking
Batchbook Communications allow you to log emails, phone call notes, or any other communications with your contacts. Follow the communications stream of your entire team by subscribing to the feed. Want to see the last time your company contacted a client? Simply look up your client and that information is displayed on their contact record.

Also, with BatchBox email forwarding, you can send emails directly to Batchbook. Batchbook will automatically store the email as a Communication, attach it to the relevant contacts (and create a new contact, if needed), and retain any attachments.

 

 

Email forwarding with BatchBox
With BatchBox email forwarding, you can send emails directly to Batchbook. Batchbook will automatically store the email as a Communication, attach it to the relevant contacts (and create a new contact, if needed), and retain any attachments.

You can also create To-Dos from email via BatchBox by including “TODO:” at the start of the subject line.

 

 

To-Do Lists
The Batchbook To-Do list lets you manage your tasks quickly and easily. In addition to managing your own tasks, you can assign tasks to other users. You can even create To-Dos by email via BatchBox email forwarding.

 To stay on top of your tasks, you can set email reminders, subscribe to the feed or even print out a handy portable version of your To-Do list.

 

 

Lists & Reports
Batchbook’s Lists & Reports allow you to build a list from all contacts, an advanced search or tags to better manage your contacts. Use a list to easily generate mailing labels, export, or back up your data or create customized, printable reports from your contact data. Use these reports to generate call lists, add to presentations or to take notes when you’re traveling, in the field, or working off-line.

 

 

Web Forms
Batchbook web forms fit your data-gathering needs, whatever they may be. Customize a web form to capture the information you need from your website which will then be added directly into your Batchbook account.

 Use your web form to generate leads, collect newsletter sign-ups, invite visitors to a class or webinar, conduct surveys, or anything else you can imagine.

Sales Process Management
Your contacts are the lifeblood of your business; sales are its heart. Batchbook allows you to track your incoming leads, create custom workflows for your sales cycle, manage all contacts and communications associated with a deal, save any custom data pertaining to your deal type and build reports for tracking your sales pipeline.

Batchbook gives you easy, yet powerful tools for managing your sales process.

 

Click here to watch any of several short video demos and see how great this product is. 

To learn more, and to check out pricing
visit the Batchbook website.