Monday, 11 May 2009

From Cyberspace to CRM: Technology Delivers Results

Effective client management and service has always been a key driver for business success but in today’s climate it really is absolutely vital. Customers expect far more than just a competitive price, when times are tough they demand excellent service and it is this that will set you apart from your competitors. Technology eases the way, providing slick solutions to help you deliver customer service more quickly and effectively. The continuing expansion of the internet, social networking and email communication makes getting your message to your clients even easier. So which technologies should you consider to maximise the opportunities within your client bank?

A website gives your business presence
If a client is looking for a particular service today they will more than likely ‘Google’ it. The World Wide Web is the largest shop window in the world and the internet savvy consumer has millions of company profiles and brochures at their fingertips so make sure your website stands out. An interesting website is a great way to clearly state what you do and why customers should choose you.

Feedback technology ensures you can really make client opinions work for you
The only way to really understand what your customers want is to ask them for their views. Doing this enables you to benchmark your service proposition and set a solid foundation on which to build your client proposition and marketing strategy. Good client Feedback technology makes the process of gathering feedback simple so that you can focus on the results; and it’s a much more cost effective way to understand what your clients think than manual, paper-based methods. A timely email received by your client with a simple click through to your personalised, branded client questionnaire ensures rapid, relevant feedback. Feedback that you can measure, analyse and act upon.

Social Networking drives referrals
Social networking sites like Twitter provide a free, easy way to get your message across. If you have a really great meeting with a client, ask them to tweet about it. Soon their friends and family will hear about you, along with their work colleagues, and their followers too. This is viral marketing at its most powerful, passing on your message and building awareness of your brand.

Email communication delivers your message efficiency
Email is fast, it’s cheap and it’s an effective way to communicate with clients. If you profile your customers you can send targeted promotional messages to different groups quickly and easily. If you don’t hold many email addresses as yet, start gathering your client’s email addresses as part of your factfind or client review process. It may take a few months but before too long you’ll have an email marketing list that you can use to communicate with clients quickly and easily, perhaps to update them on events you are running or to send out a regular client newsletter.

A CRM or Back Office solution keeps you on top of your client relationships
A solid back office system keeps your client records in one place, manages leads, sales and business activity, and gives you an audit trail of all communication. There are lots of solutions out there to suit all types of organisation so shop around; and when doing so make sure you focus on your business requirements not the functions offered by a particular solution. A good back office solution will integrate with other tools or provide the ability to export your client data so you can use it elsewhere. So make sure your data is accessible so that you can also exploit the power of other essential business tools such as Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Business Intelligence or Customer Insight solutions.
So if you are not making best use of the internet and technology to enhance your service proposition and build an effective marketing and communication strategy, ask yourself a few questions….
Do potential customers know who you are?
Do you know who your customers are?
Do you know what your customers really want?
How well are you servicing your customers right now?

Technology is there to help you build and maintain strong relationships, generate repeat business and grow your business. Thanks to technology business can now be conducted more efficiently, online; it connects us with our clients and allows us to communicate in a more immediate way than ever before. So take a small step into cyberspace and watch your business take a giant leap into a better way to do business.

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