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.
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.