A few weeks ago, I was minding my business, parked on the side of the road in Newark, New Jersey – with my family. We were waiting for church to start in about an hour.
A U-Haul truck pulled to the side of the road, so the driver could take a phone call. While pulling over, the truck grazed the side of my car and left the bumper hanging off the car!
Through a neighbor I went to visit a local auto body shop to get my car repaired – and this is where the beauty of customer relationship management (CRM) kicked in.
- They sent provided regular updates, via phone call, on the status of my car. Sure, they could have sent me an email, but I was happy to get a regular update. This was possible due to the systems they had in place to track the progress of cars through the repair process.
- They provided regular updates about the car via text. This was a quick and added layer of comfort to me. Customers get most upset due to lack of clear communication.
- At the conclusion of the car repair process, I was sent a link to take a survey. Why was this important? It shows me that this local auto body shop cares about its customers and wants to do better and better.
This is a very simple way that a local auto body shop ensured they kept in touch with customers. But it shows that CRM does not have to be complicated. It can be simple and effective.
There are two other things I learned in observing this auto body shop.
- The work they did was great. Not only did they keep in touch but they did great work, cleaned the car, and just were awesome.
- They had clear business processes as well. CRM does not work in a vacuum. It works best with a company that has a clear process in how they work and layers CRM onto that process.
What more could the auto body shop do with their CRM system?
- Send me updates, specific to my car, about how to take care of it during the seasons. This will bring them in more revenue, from a satisfied customer. Remember, it’s cheaper to market to existing happy customers than to go offer NEW customers.
- Referrals: The auto body shop could ask me for referrals to other people who might need their cars repaired; they could invite me to give a customer testimonial and they could ask for a testimonial on local business listings like Yelp, Google, or Foursquare.
CRM is all about making one customer feel like they are the ONLY special customer. CRM need not be complicated, just effective.
What’s the local business in your community who rocks in customer service and is using CRM effectively? Let me know!
Sandy Rubinstein is the CEO of the independently female minority-owned marketing and advertising firm DXagency. ClickZ caught up with her to find out about her role as CEO, and what advice she would give to women who want to work in the digital industry.
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