CRM is all the rage. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is something great organizations, large and small, have been doing for years. It’s not a new buzzword. What is new is the technology that allows you to truly manage your relationship with customers.
In the stone age, great organizations had physical books, where they wrote their customer’s likes and dislikes — with a pen or pencil no less, on paper. Great sales people went through their “books” from time to time to alert these special customers when there was a great deal on something that they thought they would want. Retailers were famous for this, radio and television advertising sales people had it down pat.
Somewhere along the line, technology came into place that allowed many of these manual tasks to be automated. No more did a business manager have to fear that their best sales person would walk off, or worse loose, this book of gold. Then, somebody turned this relationship from being two-way into a one way street.
The fine art of CRM is picking and choosing the correct and valuable offers that are of benefit to the customer in question. Not to simply bombard every living person who was willing (or dumb enough) to give you their email address.
I use one of the most popular dictation software extensively. It seems like I get a special offer every single day, sometimes twice in a day, from them. I used to look and see what they were, but it didn’t take me long to start to ignore the cacophony of “urgent” notices. Finally, I took the time to unsubscribe from these unwanted messages that quickly became junk mail to me.
What’s worse, they knew all about me. Where I worked, how many employees work with me, etc. I double checked my profile as I was getting ready to unsubscribe. As someone who observes and effects employee behavior to build customer loyalty, I have absolutely no use for a new medical dictionary for my dictation program. Not since I passed out from the sight of blood in my first three weeks of medical school have I ever thought I would have such a need. It was their product of the day, and they were going to stop at nothing to make sure I knew about it.
So, when you talk to your customers, make sure that you have something to say that is of value to them. You should never just collect an email address. You should take the time to find out their interests, what they like or dislike, or just more about them. Then you can send out intelligent communications that will motivate your customers to do more business with you.
While were on the subject of customer communications, please take a moment to make sure you get their first and last names as part of the signup. It drives me nuts when I get any communication from a company and it begins, “Dear valued customer” — if I was really valued, they could at least mention my name. If you can’t take the time to personalize the salutation, save yourself some money and reconsider your marketing budget.