CRM (customer relationship management or client relationship management) leverages data to manage customer interactions and communications. If the data isn’t managed properly, updated regularly, or kept clean, it can create problems instead of solutions.
Although CRM is both an approach to managing client relationships as well as a broader term for the software to manage it, it is really about communications. At its heart, however, is data—a lot of data. Managing that data is the key to getting the most from your client relationship management.
Three Common Client Relationship Management Problems (and Solutions)
Problem: Customer records lack important data.
Customer records are incomplete. They lack essential data which is necessary for ongoing communications efforts. Fields are missing and you cannot continue your CRM programs without the missing information.
Solution: Check with your customer service, sales, and marketing staff to make sure they are asking for all the data when they are in contact with customers. Integrate other systems in your company with your CRM system so purchasing information, orders, and invoices are also brought into the system to complete each customer profile. Make sure your CRM system is set up correctly, so it is capturing all the available information.
Problem: Records are old or stale. Data is outdated.
Stale information is problematic. It may be outdated. Customers may have moved, changed interests, or are no longer seeking your company’s products or services. Old, stale, or outmoded information can be difficult to sift through in order for useful information to be retained and outmoded information discarded.
Solution: Databases can become stale and fatigued if they aren’t used frequently. If your CRM has sat idle for any length of time or no one has been actively managing it, data can become outdated. People change email addresses frequently, for example.
To fix this problem in the future, ask your customer service team to update accounts when people call. For example, if your call center receives an inbound call from a client, ask the client to quickly confirm their address, phone number, and email address.
There are also services available to scrub and clean databases. These services match records from your database to reputable sources of data, such as the U.S. Postal Service’s forwarding database which tracks all notifications to forward mail because people have moved to a new location. Using such a service from a list broker or list company can get your mailing list shipshape quickly.
Problem: A trickle of new prospects into your sales pipeline.
Does your sales pipeline resemble a drip rather than a gust of new prospects? If so, you need an acquisition campaign. Stagnant sales may mean you are constantly reaching out to the same people repeatedly instead of finding and cultivating new prospects.
Solution: Your CRM system is great for contacting your current customers and for keeping in touch with them. What it can’t do for you is prospect to find new customers. You’ll need to ramp up your sales and marketing efforts to get new customers back into your sales pipeline.
Customers First in Client Relationship Management Systems
Put your customers first when it comes to client relationship management systems. Build systems and processes around their wants and needs and you will have the better system than someone else who puts sales first. Keep your data fresh, update it frequently, and your CRM system can be used to improve sales.