Technology as enabler
Technology has given businesses unprecedented access to new markets and unique opportunities. It has also empowered customers, enabling them to easily evaluate different offerings based on criteria that is important to them while comparing suppliers and pricing at the click of a button. This has resulted in an increase in competition, as businesses have become acutely aware that relying on preferential pricing or good customer service is not enough to guarantee customer retention.
The value of customer retention
Customers expect value with each transaction at every touch-point, tailored to their unique needs whilst meeting their expectations for attention and personal interaction. Implementing customer loyalty programmes have become essential in growing a sustainable business and staff need to be equipped with the right tools to not only better understand the customer, but also to develop tailored, value-added products and services for them. While it always remains imperative to continually grow your customer base, maximising the value you can add to existing customer relationships is just as important to ensure your business’ stability and to increase organisational wealth. Considering the generally accepted principle that it is easier (and cheaper) to keep an existing client than to try get a new one, it will be a missed opportunity to not fully commit resources towards ensuring ongoing customer loyalty and retention.
An integrated system
To really meet customer needs you must know what your customers value and where they are in their buying journey. While this information is readily available in many businesses, often on some form of customer relationship management platform, most systems lack the technology to mine the data to extract the rich insights it can provide. The use of an integrated system will allow for the seamless, continuous updating of customer data, allowing for accurate customer feedback and communication. The result? Customers will remain loyal, translating into repeat purchases and increases in profit margins.
The key to unlocking enduring relationships with customers is through an integrated business management system that provides the tools to assist in efficiently managing the entire sales process and customer lifecycle – from first contact through to conclusion of the sale, after-sales service as well as support. Prospects can be converted into customers more successfully and you can grow sales as well as profitability while improving customer satisfaction. In addition, the system stores and collates data from each department, making it accessible to any employee, so that customer queries can be addressed expediently and appropriately.
Some additional benefits of using an integrated system include:
- Customer data is stored in a centralised location, allowing for easy access
- Contracts and paperwork can be more efficiently handled
- Customer transaction histories can be viewed to assist in creating tailored offers to them
- Accurate delivery dates can be given due to direct insight into production timelines
- Real-time availability of stock can be provided to customers by sales staff
- Refunds can be paid swiftly and accurately
By Craig Johnston of Bluekey Seidor