CRMs drive business growth.

As companies struggle to navigate the increasingly complex customers’ journey, a CRM helps with the management of customer info, establishing an effective sales process, setting up campaigns etc.

Most importantly, CRMs can help a business increase customer retention by as much as 27%.   

But here’s the deal:

A CRM on its own is a dashboard that helps you collect, sort and manage data. It has fancy charts highlighting your campaign success. It has collaboration tools for teams to collaborate.

What it cannot do is help you identify or track the relationship-building process itself.

Let’s explore this statement further.

What Do We Mean by Relationship Tracking? 

CRMs are great, but over time, they have been misunderstood. Companies purchase a CRM in the hope of centralizing and aligning their customer relationship process. The fact is, a CRM is not a relationship-building tool; it’s more of a data management tool.

Using a Real-Life Example 

Company A (names have been fictionalized), is a mid-level digital agency and use the HubSpot CRM to manage their lead and customer data. A few team members in the agency’s account management department are more focused on acquiring new customers than maintaining and nurturing existing customers. These team members are known for their “closing skills,” and the CRM is filled with statistics that show their effort in bringing in new business.

But internally, there is chaos in the team. Customer queries are not being handled on time. Customer responses are not being forwarded to the right people on time. All kinds of communication revolving around the customer is being stalled or delayed because the “top” team members do not make it their priority to nurture existing customers.

The result? Negativity, lack of processes, lack of accountability and eventually losing customers. Company A’s online reviews are bad. All because of a few key players’ lack of accountability.

Despite having a robust CRM in place and one that shows success, the management of Company A cannot figure out the root cause because the CRM does not have a team performance tracking ability!

A CRM cannot tell you how quickly a team member has responded to a customer’s queries. Now, here is the relationship-building part – if the team member responds promptly to the query, they have built the first step of a good relationship. If they took 24 hours to respond to a customer query, they’ve lost the customer’s trust.

Three Important Things You Need to Complement Your CRM Goals 

In our quest to get more customers, more sales, more ROI, we often forget about customer relationships. The goal is often to get more customers than to nurture and help existing customers.

Companies then turn to CRMs and a plethora of other tools like project management, billing management, etc. in the hopes of retaining their customers. While CRMs play a fundamental role in managing customer roles, you will need additional processes and tools that will compliment your CRM goals and help you maintain strong customer relationships.

What you need is:

1. A Process in Place 

Company A does not have a process in place. Everyone’s doing things their way. The company’s focus is more on “getting more business in,” than on developing current business. Businesses like Company A though don’t survive the long haul, but they do make a good case study on the consequences of not having a process in place. A CRM is only successful if your company has a process in place and everyone knows their assigned roles and tasks.

For example, while the team may be sending emails or contacting customers from the CRM, they either fail to write notes or do a half-hearted job at it. You could initiate a process by tasking anyone interacting with the customer to write a detailed note and assigning a task to the next person in line. All communication, customer queries resolution and team collaboration must be transparent and be conducted on the CRM.

2. A Tracking System for Your Team’s Communication 

Communication is one of the most challenging aspects of building customer relationships. Customers today want instant communication and answers to their queries. A company that has a slow response rate will lose leads as well as acquired customers. So how do you track your company’s response time? Well, you can do that by using an email response time tracker.

An email response tracking tool lets you know how long it took your team members to respond to an email. A CRM does not give you this insight. Using this tool, you will be able to determine which of your team members are proactively managing customer accounts, and which may need some improvement. Note though that the CRM’s capabilities is limited to giving insights on customers, not on team members’ performance in line with customers which is why you would need an additional tool to track email behavior.

3. A Customer Relationship Plan 

There are dozens of options within a popular CRM – Zoho, Salesforce, HubSpot are all powerful tools that are complete solutions offering you everything you need to manage your customer data. To make use of all the good stuff in these CRMs, you need a plan and a framework that has specific goals and initiatives which can be measured.

For example, measuring customer satisfaction and email response time could be a goal that you might want to focus on. With this goal, you could even identify which of your team members are truly performing and which of them will need additional motivation or change in attitude towards customer management.

CRMs are mere business tools that help you with managing data. Relationships are built with human communication and connection which a tool cannot replicate. If you truly want to build brand value and enjoy customer retention, you must focus on building relationships, improving processes & enhancing your team performance.

Boost your customer satisfaction, by adding timetoreply’s email reply time tracking software to your suite. Timetoreply does not require any installation, and will not require that that remove or change your CRM.

Explore the timetoreply site for more, or start your free trial here.

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