The goal of most CRM implementations is to loyalize and monetize customer relationships. In other words, the more you can deepen and strengthen relationships with your customers, the better your sales opportunities. To enhance customer relationships, custom-tailored communications strategies are used and tracked through a robust CRM database. The result is customer-centric communications that power today’s CRM.

But if loyalty is the goal of CRM, defining loyalty must be front and center. You can’t achieve a goal you can’t define.

Customer Loyalty Defined

Each company defines customer loyalty differently. Much depends on your company’s sales cycle. A wedding planner defines loyalty by how many referrals a bride provides to her business (which demonstrates a job well done and a satisfied client), while a supermarket chain seeks weekly transactions to demonstrate brand loyalty. Loyalty is important to both businesses, yet defined differently based on the industry.

As a first step, define customer loyalty based on your industry. Ask yourself: 

  • How do we define loyalty?
  • What is a reasonable expectation of return visits? Sales?
  • What is this expectation based upon?

Ways to Cultivate Customer Loyalty

There are several ways in which your business can cultivate customer loyalty. Loyalty is based upon satisfaction. Satisfied customers are repeat customers. If you cannot fulfill the basic promise or premise of your brand, customers will take their business elsewhere. 

Businesses often struggle with common situations that lead to shaky customer loyalty: 

  • Popular products frequently out of stock
  • Delayed shipments
  • Poor communications with customers about their order status
  • Incorrect merchandise shipped
  • Dissatisfied customers or customer complaints handled inappropriately
  • Misrepresentation in marketing communications (overhyped benefits) 

If you look over the list above, you’ll notice one important thing: every point is something that can be addressed within your business by improvements in products, processes, data, and communications. In other words, customer loyalty is within your power to influence. 

Using Your CRM System to Build Loyalty 

Your CRM system can be an integral component of a loyalty campaign. When your CRM is integrated with other business systems, you can: 

  • Provide customers with timely and accurate order status.
  • Answer questions about orders and shipments no matter which department customers reach when they call.
  • Send tailored communications at regular intervals that speak directly to a customer’s wants, needs, and desires.
  • Track problems, resolution times, and service issues. 

Other data that can help you improve customer relationships may be derived from a combination of order and shipment data, customer service data, and sales data. Together, this creates a good baseline picture of how well your company is doing to engender loyalty among your customers. 

Measuring Loyalty 

After you’ve defined what loyalty means to your business, you can delve into the metrics of your business transactions and view past performance data to assess current loyalty. If you define loyalty as two transactions per quarter, you can visit your sales dashboard and confirm which percent of customers are making two or more transactions per quarter. You can then tag the data and plan strategies to boost loyalty among those who haven’t ordered from you within that quarter. 

Before rushing to send marketing communications to those customers, you may want to call a few and ask questions about their satisfaction with their last order. Such an approach is softer and more personal than mass communications, and can unveil potential problems that customers may have been reluctant to address with your sales team. 

CRMPlus: CRM Systems to Help You Acquire, Retain, and Develop Loyal Customers 

CRMPlus Consulting is a small boutique firm specializing in the art of customer management. We work with clients to ensure their CRM selection and implementation achieves their goals. To learn more about our approach and the solutions we offer, download our CRM Success Kit today or call us at 813-343-2173.

You’ve heard of spring cleaning, that time when homeowners everywhere tackle the accumulated grit and grime of wintertime to make their homes spring-fresh. We’d like to suggest a fall database cleaning that scrubs your data shiny and fresh, too.

It’s a smart idea to choose a time each year to review your CRM database and clean it up so that you can start the new year with a sparkling, fresh data set. Some companies schedule data scrubs for the end of the calendar year, while others prefer the end of their fiscal year. Regardless of when you choose to clean your data, you should review and clean it regularly. A CRM system is only as good as the data contained within it. If your data contains errors and duplicates, poor customer relationships and excess costs can result.

If this is your first time cleaning your database, take heart. You don’t need a pail and a scrub brush. Instead, you need time and smarts to review your data, and some external tools and/or vendors, too.

Let’s get started.

Cleaning a Database: Make It a Habit

First thing’s first: make cleaning your database a routine task. Schedule it on your annual tasks for the same time each year. Choose a time when you won’t be conducting any campaigns, or many campaigns, so that you have a block of time to work on the data while it’s relatively stable and not in flux from information flowing in and out. By scheduling it on your calendar as an annual occurrence, you’re less likely to forget it. The more frequently you clean your data, the easier it is to clean it again next year. Just like cleaning your house is harder when the house is dirtier, routine data cleaning reduces errors and makes the tasks faster each time you do it.

Check for Duplicate Records

Duplicate records take up valuable space in your database. They can lead to confusion among your personnel accessing the data, and information can be entered into the wrong places. It’s also annoying for customers to receive duplicate communications from you.

Exact matches are easy to spot, but what may not be as easy to spot are more subtle duplicates. “Joseph Smith,” “Joseph L. Smith,” and “Joe Smith” may all be the same person, or they may be three different people. Such records may need to be personally verified by phone calls or other methods to ensure you don’t accidently delete a viable customer record when you’re cleaning your database.

Confirm Preferences

Confirming customer communication preferences is another way to clean up your database. Many companies send an automated message to customers annually, double-checking to ensure they still wish to remain on their database and asking them to confirm their communication preferences. It’s a good task to include in your annual clean-up.

Cleaning Zip Codes and Addresses

Lastly, you may wish to confirm zip codes and addresses, and to update customer records for people who have moved. Many data companies specialize in list cleaning. For a nominal fee, they will run your list against known records of deceased persons, moving/mail forwarded lists, and “Do Not Mail” lists from the Direct Marketing Association. The resulting list will be cleared of any customers who are deceased, and addresses will be updated with new data if the customer has moved. Perhaps even more importantly, flags will be appended to your list to note which customers requested not to be on any mailing lists.

Smart Data Management Saves Money

It takes time to clean your list, and it takes a little investment to send it to an external list service to clean it up and suppress or edit bad addresses. So why invest time and resources to do so?

If you regularly mail catalogs or other direct marketing pieces, cleaning up your list of bad or useless addresses can save you anywhere from .50 cents to over $1.00 per address, depending on what you are mailing. Postage, printing, and mail house costs can quickly add up. Every address you fix saves you considerable money.

You’ll also provide better customer service when your list is clean. Keeping only one customer file by removing two duplicates ensures that “Joe Smith” not only gets contacted when he wishes to be contacted, but that his record is accurate and not accidentally spread among three different files in the database.

So even though it will take you some time and investment to clean up that list, rub-a-dub-dub, scrub and scrub! A clean list makes for a happier marketing campaign and better customer service.


If you’re new to CRM systems, download our free CRM Success Kit to learn more about selecting and implementing a CRM system for your company.

At CRMPlus, we look for ways in which your new CRM system can help the people in your organization do a better job. It’s all about the people, not the software. Let’s talk about how we can help.  Call us at 813-343-2173 or contact us today.