Thursday, September 18, 2008

How To Retain Customers For Life With CRM

While you are working hard to attract new customers in order to maintain growth, your existing customers expect the same personal communication they had when you first attracted them.

If you want to retain your existing customers for life, you will have to develop a means of utilising time efficiently so that communication with your original loyal customers can be maintained, while your sales force is concentrating on attracting new ones. The answer is Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It is not a coincidence that CRM can also stand for Customer Retention Marketing!

Using modern CRM software you can hold all of your information on each customer in a central location so that it is easily and quickly accessed by all relevant authorized employees. All of the information required to maintain the good and effective communication that makes your customer feel valuable is available immediately in a single location to whoever in your company needs it.

A rapid response with instant answers to an enquiry shows the customer that he is important to you, a vital factor in retaining loyalty. Studies have proved that product satisfaction, while important in initially attracting customers, is not so important in retaining them. Customers like personal contact, which shows them that they are important to you.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 is able to send personalised e-mails to customers to achieve this personal contact. The Small Business edition (SBE) is a powerful tool that allows small to medium businesses keep in touch with existing customers, while managing marketing campaigns designed to attract fresh ones and expand the business.

It is well known that many customers are more loyal to their contacts within your organization than to the company itself, and prefer contact only with their regular sales representative or account manager. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 enables these individuals to have all customer data at their fingertips through mobile or portable communications devices. Retention of customers for life is promoted through CRM enabling personal communication with their contacts who have all the information immediately to hand required to deal with their query, irrespective of its nature.

In cases where smaller businesses do not have the resource to allow this degree of service, Microsoft CRM provides data and reports which enable the company to use Pareto principles to identify the more profitable customers. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of profits come from 20% of the customers. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 SBE allows small businesses to identify these 20% and work to preferentially retain these customers for life. Although the other 80% of customers are important, and should also be made to feel important, it makes sense to focus restricted resources to ensuring loyalty from the most profitable customers rather than spreading them thinly and satisfying none.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 is a powerful set of tools which integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft Office software and is therefore not only easy for employees to use, but can be customized to fit in with their existing working practices. This allows thin resources to be spread more widely by increasing their effectiveness by automating many repetitive tasks.

The loyalty of customers to their personal contacts can be so strong that it is not unusual for customers to move with their contacts. It is important to develop loyalty of your own employees to your company to avoid customers moving to your competitors when your sales personnel do. Microsoft Dynamic CRM 3.0 helps build this loyalty through the provision of powerful tools enabling your employees to provide customer satisfaction quickly and easily without having to learn too many new skills. This promotes job satisfaction, and hence loyalty.

Customer Relationship Management systems, therefore, enable you to retain customers for life by promotion of loyalty, not only of the customer to your company, but of your employees, allowing long-term bonding to cement relationships between customers and their contacts within your company.

Syed Ali, is the lead CRM Analyst for a Toronto based company. His company, offers Microsoft CRM software Solutions Syed can be reached at Tel : (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email

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