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Unleashing CRM's Potential: A Guide to Proactive Relationship Management

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Charlie Spaneas

An article in The Wall Street Journal explained the increasing importance of delivering an exceptional customer experience. The author, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, stated, “A company can differentiate itself from competitors in one of two key ways: by providing a superior customer experience or by offering the lowest prices. For companies that prefer the former, digital channels are, far and away, the most cost-effective way of reaching out to their clients.”

This is just one argument in a case that has been gaining traction recently. Making customers feel heard, respected, and delighted in all their interactions with a company will determine winners and losers in the economy.

Using Technology to Deliver Superior Customer Support

Of course, the question is how to deliver an exceptional customer experience. In some ways, we all know that excellence can be defined by what it is not. For instance, a customer receives the wrong order, or a shipment is delayed without them knowing about it.

In frustration, that customer complains to the company providing the product or service. At this point, a company can only react to an angry or disappointed customer.

Proactively managing important customer relationships with the help of CRM can fundamentally alter that dynamic. CRM solutions create customer experiences that can set businesses apart from their competition. A sophisticated CRM provides innumerable avenues to manage relationships in a proactive way.

For example, CRM solutions can track the most important customer data, including any service issues or repair and warranty information. Companies who act on this information quickly can react before the customer is even aware there may be a problem. Another way CRM systems improve the customer experience.

When businesses are aware of a service issue, they can proactively respond with solutions to resolve the problem. There’s no need to wait for the customer to ask for help. And that should never happen if a CRM is configured to deliver reports and alerts when something needs to be addressed.

Proactively managing relationships is also possible during the order and shipment process. The right CRM will provide information about potential delays in the delivery of products.

Acting on this information and making arrangements to ensure that any delay is minimally disruptive will improve the customer experience, even if the circumstances are less than ideal.

The biggest way that CRMs can improve the customer experience is by freeing up a company’s personnel to provide individual and human attention to their clients. This happens when a CRM automates tasks that otherwise would be handled by staff and is consistently updated with the most relevant information.

When this occurs, companies become business advisors to help customers forecast product demand and deliver on their promises. A proactive relationship with customers is a productive relationship.