Using marketing automation software doesn't mean you can't offer personalized customer service. In fact, the automation software can help you achieve just that.
When you hear the words "marketing automation," you might cringe sometimes, as you think it means a lack of personalization - this does not have to be the case.
When marketing automation, which is often powered by a customer relationship management (CRM) system, goes bad, it's often because of user error.
We've all received an email that reads "Dear [First.Name:Merge Field]" or something like that, right? However, when personalization works best is when our CRM system is filled with rich information about each customer so that when we communicate with them, we can automate that communication but still speak quite personally to a customer.
I buy flowers from ProFlowers.com quite a bit - for the many awesome ladies in my family. When I receive an email from ProFlowers.com, they refer to my past purchase, and even include the name of the person who I recently bought flowers for.
This is marketing automation, but personalized.
Jermaine Griggs, a minister, musician, entrepreneur, and public speaker, teaches that if the customers in your CRM system are tagged properly then you are able to appropriately use those tags to trigger very personal emails for each customer.
Lisa Macqueen, owner of cleaning company Cleancorp, based in Australia, shared how she's able to increase personalization between Cleancorp clients and the cleaning staff. She explained that each customer gets a personalized greeting card from their cleaning person. Sure, this process is automated, but it's also highly personalized.
CRM systems, when properly implemented, enable you to successfully reach out to each and every customer, as if they were the only customer. Customers are people and want to be treated like they're special, and wanted to be communicated to personally. As a small business owner with a growing business to manage, the only way to offer personalized service to the "masses" is through properly implemented marketing automation in your CRM system.
Work with your marketing person and your CRM expert to help design campaigns of personal delight. These campaigns can be used for new customer sign-ons, to celebrate a customer anniversary with your company, or even to help with a billing dispute.
When customers call you or visit your retail store - you can integrate your CRM system to provide a personal experience here as well. Use their phone number (when they call in) or name and customer number to give them special (or at least personal) treatment even on the phone or in person. Some of the best hotels and airlines recognize you by name when you call them or thank you for your last stay and ask if you'd like the same preferences you had last time when you approach their service desk.
Personalized customer service is not hard, it just takes a commitment to getting it done.
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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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