Tuesday, July 1, 2008

CRM: Why Ask The Customer's Opinion?

The general perception of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has matured in the last few years, with potential users of CRM ensuring that people and processes form part of an implementation. In addition sensible success criteria are being set to create a compelling business case, which clearly states the potential returns and measurement goals.

Your customers know why they buy your products - do you?

However, I wonder how many companies actually talk to their customer or indeed to their future prospects about what criteria for success they would put on a CRM implementation. If done correctly, will also be an excellent source of leads and will signal to the marketplace that you really care about providing levels of service that delights your customers. After all, while CRM is primarily implemented in response to a demand for increased profit. This should be achieved by making existing customer delighted. In addition, it should make it easier for potential customers to identify what the benefits of doing business with you actually are.

Soliciting opinion from your customers is not only a sound business decision, but extending this approach to your potential customers and prospects can be a very effective lead generation technique. This article will talk about the best way of soliciting opinion from customers and will include a customer and prospect questionnaire that can be tailored and used as part of the assessment phase of any CRM implementation.

Conduct a survey of your customers

The more you talk to your customers the more likely they are to keep buying your products and services. Have you ever driven behind a lorry and seen the sign ?how am I driving ? phone ??? It makes you remember them. So go and talk to your customers. If you have a lot of them, get a telemarketing company to do it. Even better encourage one of your customers to set up a users group, and have the users group run the survey.

Here is a sample list of some of the questions you might want to ask your customers;

Overall, how would you rate doing business with my company?
What aspects in dealing with our company do you like? (Provide a list)
What aspects in dealing with our company do you not like? (Provide a list)
Do we communicate with you often enough?
Do you understand the value our products and services provide?
Which of the following things we are thinking of implementing would make doing business with us better?
Would you recommend our company to anyone else? If yes please provide contact details, if No ? why not?

Who else should you solicit opinion from?
There are three other key groups you should also speak with before you change how you interact with you customers. You should do this, even though you believe that the changes are positive. These groups are;

Your business partners
Key influencers like consultants or trade journalists
Your prospects.

This is an excellent, non threatening way, in which you can introduce new people to your business. If done correctly, will also be an excellent source of leads and will signal to the marketplace that you really care about providing levels of service that delights your customers.

This article was written by Peter Lawless, founder of 3R Sales and Marketing. For previous articles like this, visit 3R's Articles. Alternatively, subscribe to Success our free monthly Information Bulletin with sales and marketing articles.

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