5 Ways CRM Can Personalize the Customer Journey
At the end of the day, what makes one customer experience better than any other? A personal touch.
Today's customer relationship management (CRM) software enables organizations to form relationships with their customers that flourish like never before and enhance customer loyalty. It no longer has to be guesswork to figure out how, where, when and through which medium messages are delivered to customers; it can be based on actual digital data.
Here are five ways your company can use CRM to attract new customers, nurture existing ones, and generate passionate brand loyalty through personalization.
Smarter Digital Media
Depending on the length of the purchasing lifecycle, CRM can help identify which consumers are potential targets for offers months in advance of purchase. By analyzing like-minded target audiences for past purchases, buying behaviors, and timing, display media can be placed in a way that won't feel invasive to consumers - rather, it addresses their "in the moment" needs for relevant and timely information.
The stage of a consumer's journey will be evident based on data points like which sites users are visiting from and which messages are generating interactions from each individual consumer. Leveraging this data, display media in channels like search and social can be dynamically tailored to deliver more relevant messaging and helpful information to consumers, rather than awkward and inaccurate annoyances
Tapping into Next Best Action
With an awareness that your products and services may be the solution to their problem, the most likely next destination for a buyer is your website. The opportunities to personalize an experience ramp up exponentially once you have them on your pages. Now you can provide the guidance and next steps in the purchasing decision that are essential to converting a prospective lead into a customer.
This is, again, a crucial time to use data to inform and tailor the digital experience of the buyer. Let's say a user wants to learn more about a lawnmower, for example, and seeks out information directly from you, the seller. Based on their previous behaviors online you may know something about their demographics. When buyers from this region of the world, in this age cohort, with this level of education see the sticker price for your lawnmowers, their next move is typically to ask, "What makes this more expensive than other options?" On your website, you prominently feature the Compare/Contrast page alongside the sticker price so buyers can easily view data that compares and contrasts a given lawnmower with alternative higher and lower priced options from your product line.
Additionally, many purchases involve complementary components, and CRM data can be used on-site to suggest cross-sell and upsell items based on popular purchasing behavior.
A Customized Buying Experience
Deep into the product consideration process, an inquisitive buyer may seek more product information from a company's sales team. It's important that organizations are well-attuned to the customer journey of their target audiences, so they can seamlessly connect buyers to sales across a range of different channels, including by phone, email, chat, or video.
When someone contacts your sales team, it's critical that Sales is fully informed of the situation. They need to have concrete data about the mindset of the potential customer, where they are on their journey, and which factors are most likely to encourage them to take the decisive step towards making a purchase. With this information at their fingertips, the sales team will be empowered to connect on a deeper level with the customer, will be prepared to meet their expectations and, ultimately, will be more likely to close a sale or move a customer down the conversion funnel.
An organization that fully utilizes CRM will have the capacity to understand the driving motivations of their target audience and how to nurture a relationship before, during and after a purchase is made. While it's important to be prepared to react to inbound customers, there are also times when your organization should take the initiative and proactively reach out.
For example, an auto garage that performs an oil change for a customer could enter the date of the customer's last oil change into their CRM software as their change is completed. Now armed with this information, the garage can do a number of things to deliver a great customer experience and build loyalty with that customer. They could send the customer a timely coupon for their next visit, knowing they're within a few weeks of needed a new change. They could contact the customer in advance about new offerings they have, so the customer doesn't feel that they're being up-sold during their next oil change. They can target that buyer through digital media that maps out all their nearby locations, trying to keep a customer loyal to your brand in case they prefer to get their vehicle serviced near their office next time. Knowing when and how to reach out to customers could be the difference in whether or not you see them again.
A game-changing human touch
Although CRM systems introduce a new level of digital automation into customer relations, they also offer many ways to make the customer's experience feel more human and more personalized. This is the key strategic advantage that is unlocked by today's CRM technologies. In the world of digital buying, CRM tools raise our understanding and visibility into the specific human needs and expectations of the buyer at each touch point in the purchase process.
If you can find ways to leverage these insights to make your interactions with customers more appropriate and personal - by checking in with a new customer to see how they are enjoying that lawnmower they bought last month, for example - you'll be able to develop a strategic advantage over competitors. Viewed from this perspective, CRM has been re-defined as the process of making the buyer's journey more seamless and more human.
By practicing this new form of customer relationship management, leading companies now find themselves rewarded with higher conversions, increased sales revenues, and ultimately, a fiercely loyal following that returns again and again.
Main image via Sean MacEntee/Flickr
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