As we closed the first day of SugarCon 2018, I’m left with one clear takeaway from the day. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Business is still business. In the midst of incredible changes in technology, communications and how we live every day, business is still business.
I have always viewed business as a very personal activity. It’s about people. You have a person with a problem: your customer. And you have a person with a solution: your employee. When you connect those people together, that’s called business.
The hottest technology today for helping you grow your business is CRM (customer relationship management). And all CRM initiatives should be designed to make that process of two people working together be easier, simpler…better.
CRM should be about creating loyalty
There are many reasons to invest in a CRM project for your company. Most CRM projects start with the desire to make employees more productive, more efficient. Essentially the idea is that more efficient employees can spend more time with customers. And usually the rationale doesn’t get much further than that. More time with customers and…well, magic happens.
What is that magic that happens when you have more time to spend with customers? The idea is that if you spent more time with your customers and less time entering data into your CRM system, then you could build a better relationship with your customer and create a loyal, happy customer.
That’s a great idea, but it’s missing several steps.
Customer experts create loyalty
Historically, the main value your employees gave to customers was product expertise. But in this day and age, 57% of your prospects have researched your product thoroughly before ever talking to your employees. That means your customers aren’t looking for product experts. They need customer experts.
What’s a customer expert? When you know your customer, know more than their transaction history, know their attitudes, needs, preferences…then you are a customer expert. With that knowledge, you can truly help solve meaningful problems for your customer. If your employees are customer experts, then they will stand out as the best person to do business with. And this is how you create loyalty with your customers.
And when your employees earn loyalty from your customers, something magical does happen. Your customers keep coming back and buy more! Even better, they tell their friends about how awesome you are to do business with. That’s loyalty and advocacy at work.
Recurring customers as a business
At SugarCRM, we call this idea “the recurring customer.” When you harness that loyalty and advocacy, even go so far as to build it into the DNA of your business, you build a very different business model compared to legacy businesses that just focus on “one and done” sales.
Now, let’s take this back to the customer expert discussion. Companies that have the concept of “recurring customers” woven into their DNA go beyond just creating loyalty and advocacy. They actually build a movement, a cult if you will, around their company. And that cult is always built around not just great products, but superior customer service delivered by customer experts.
Modern CRM for the Recurring Customer Economy
What does this mean for your next CRM initiative? Modern CRM is all about helping sellers sell and customer service reps deliver extraordinary customer service…essentially helping your employees deliver the best customer experience. But what savvy business leaders know is that with this exceptional customer experience comes repeat business from your existing customers and the best marketing possible; your customers telling their friends how great you are.
Modern CRM does this with easy-to-use apps that both make your employees more productive, saving time and headaches, but also by turning your employees into customer experts. When your employee is an expert on your customers, then you create loyalty and advocacy with your customers. This is the foundation of the Recurring Customer Economy.
I’ll leave you with a simple question. Does your current CRM make you a customer expert?