The basic objective of CRM is to drive topline growth by getting in more customers and retaining existing ones. A good CRM initiative is driven by the philosophy of customer centricity. Becoming a customer centric organization requires a lot of groundwork, not the least in having clarity on who your customers are and what is it that they are looking for from you. Exceeding customer expectations is the next step but it comes much later and for most companies it happens in a fitful manner that does not bring the satisfaction of a job well done.
The fallout of not knowing your customers and their desires include wasted marketing efforts, poor sales, and losing existing customers. This triple whammy is enough to bring your business to its knees. There is only so much you can do with product pricing and quality, if you really want a strong differentiator that gives you and edge over the competition, then it has to be your customer service.
So, how do you plan to find out who your customers are? Before we get down to that, it’s important to reiterate that CRM succeeds only when you get out of the ROI mentality; if you can find out who your customers are the ROI follows. The principle holds whether you are looking to launch a new product or promote an existing business. The basic concepts behind finding your target customers have not changed for over a millennia. What has changed is that you can now store data and heaps of it outside your head. You can also process it in myriad ways to find out facts that can help you communicate with the right audience so that you can sell more and sell better.
The first step in getting to know your customers is to know the right questions to ask. Its human intelligence and empathy that gets business and creates opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling. The CRM systems are merely facilitators that help by storing and processing data. An enterprise learns about customer desires, motivations, peeves, etc in much the same way that a grocery shop owner strives to do except for the difference in scale.
Once you get an idea of what your typical customer is like, you then proceed to gather more information on people that fit your typical customer’s profile. You initiate a communication process with them. You try and learn about their views on your product, need for a new product, service reliability expectations, etc. You can tailor marketing strategies to fit customer profiles once you have enough customer data on hand. Getting to know the customer’s point of view on your business will help you run it in a more customer centric manner and that is the prime objective of CRM.