Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is so much more than a customer list and knowing a few birthdays and zip codes. Columnist Ramon Ray makes the case for CRM in building loyalty through delightful customer experiences.
I recently attended Dell World in Austin, TX. Upon arrival at the Hilton Hotel I was given a customized charge card (with my name on it) to use for meal expenses while at Dell's conference. This was a pleasant surprise, as I arrived to the hotel around midnight and was hungry.
A few weeks ago, I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, for the fourth time this year. When I arrived at the Hampton Inn, I was greeted by a customized welcome letter from the hotel manager.
While these two examples are simple to do, especially on a small scale, the principles of being able to delight a customer at the moment they interact with you is important to understand. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is so much more than a customer list and knowing a few birthdays and zip codes.
Local retailers can use a system such as Shopkeep POS or QuickBooks POS to delight customers at the point of sale. When a customer purchases a product (or before they purchase), why not provide them with a coupon or free product right from the cash register?
For online retailers, when customers logon to your retail store, how delighted they would be if a pop-up appeared on their screen with a personal greeting and a special treat, customized for them? Properly implemented CRM systems can help do this.
Alex Zhardanovsky , CEO of Petflow.com, says that the best way he's leveraged Facebook is that instead of using Facebook to acquire new customers, he uses it to simply engage those who might be interested in pets. Once they engage with him, he can then draw them in deeper. Using this strategy, he can focus on treating his customers in special ways and encouraging them to buy more - and more often. His customer acquisition costs are lower, as well. Whether you're a bricks and mortar retail store, online retailer, or steeped in social media, you can use CRM to constantly delight and surprise your customers.
As you work to ensure your customers are happy, you'll find that they will naturally become your biggest fans and evangelists - reducing your sales costs.
Airlines do customer delight the best with frequent flyer programs. It's time for every small business to consider implementing a "frequent flyer" program for all their customers. Happy customers are not swayed by small price differences and mistakes are granted more forgiveness.
CRM is the only way you'll be able to focus on treating each customer as if they were the only customer and ensuring you delight them at each touch point. Do you have a CRM success story? Share yours in the comments.
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Ramon Ray is Marketing and Technology Evangelist at Infusionsoft and Smallbiztechnology.com. He's a speaker, media pundit, journalist and author. His latest best seller is "The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing".
Some of the events Ramon has produced include the Small Business Summit, Small Biz Big Things with Seth Godin and the Small Business Technology Tour. As a speaker, Ramon has presented at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas with Guy Kawasaki, SXSW, Inc 500 and more.
As a journalist and freelance writer, Ramon has written for Inc Magazine, OPEN Forum, Entrepreneur.com and Clikz.com. Although Ramon is not a comedian, his audiences find him humorous. Despite no law enforcement experience, he is a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy. Although Ramon does not know Jim Henson, he loves to do puppet shows in developing countries. See Ramon's full bio on his website.
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Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.
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12:00pm ET/9:00am PT