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17th December 2012

New year resolutions for better business relationships

At this time of year we all start thinking about our New Year resolutions (in anticipation of over doing everything during the Christmas break!).  Usually, these involve giving up bad habits or focusing more on the things which are most important to us – like relationships.  So why not plan New Year resolutions for our business relationships as well as our personal ones?

Unfortunately, just because a business has invested in a Customer Relationship Management solution, doesn’t make them excellent relationship managers overnight!  The strategies, processes and cultures related to data management, communications planning and user adoption have a huge impact on your ability to take full advantage of the technology available to you.

Here are some suggestions for 5 New Year resolutions for CRM users designed to improve your business relationships for 2013:-

1. Listen to customer feedback

The annual paper-based customer satisfaction survey is a thing of the past (or it should be).  We can now integrate online survey applications such as Clicktools with our CRM database so we can get instant feedback from customers during their experience whether it is during the sales or service process, after an event.  More importantly we should act on the feedback and not ignore it until next year

2. Make each communication count

Why do businesses continue to send out mass email communications despite the fact that they have the technology to segment and target based on key profile data?  Whether this is due to data quality or limited resource, we need to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and imagine how much more likely we are to respond when we receive relevant messages at the right time.

3. Collaborate better with colleagues

It is easier than every to share information and best practice across an organisation so why keep it to ourselves?  Using tools such as salesforce.com Chatter allows us to benefit in real-time from our colleagues’ experiences and relationships so let’s start using them.  Missing vital titbits or history regarding a key prospect or customer can make or break a business opportunity.

4. Become more social

Social media is not a key channel for every business but we can’t ignore the fact that it has changed the fabric of our society.  Many of our customers expect social channels to be an option and although it may not replace more traditional communication methods, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can play a key role to find out more about your prospects and customers and encourage new relationships.  So we should all explore what being social could mean for our business.

5. Keep your data clean

Everyone in the business needs to get on board when it comes to data quality.  We all need to be dedicated to updating contact details, profile information, logging key interactions and preventing duplicate records so that we have a true and full picture of each individual the organisation deals with.

So try and make these best practices second nature in the New Year and start as you mean to go on.

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