When it comes to customer relationship management (CRM), it truly is better to give than to receive. As several CRM experts and business owners Enterprise Apps Today spoke with revealed, businesses that go the extra mile by rewarding customers — with top-notch customer service, discounts or gifts — are often rewarded with repeat business and new customers.
Herewith are seven ways to reward your customers and improve your customer relations and loyalty — and sales — in the process.
Shine the spotlight on your customers. "Whether it's posted on your website, blog or on a bulletin board in your shop, people love to be recognized for what they do," said Michelle Riggen-Ransom, chief communications offer and a co-founder of BatchBlue Software.
That's why free online financial life planning and management service Adaptu.com "features top contributors and participants right on our home page," said Mark Brundage, co-founder of Adaptu.com.
"Highlighting your most active customers and making them feel special is one of the best ways to increase your top customers' loyalty and make them feel part of the brand — and create an advocate for your business," he added. And when customers feel passionate about your business, they are far more likely to recommend it to other people. So next time you hear or are sent a great customer story or testimonial, not only enter it into your CRM system, but also share it online (getting the customer's permission first) and be sure to thank the customer.
Provide an experience, not just service. "Have your customer service team do more than just answer questions," said Riggen-Ransom. "Have them play an active part in educating and empowering your customers on how to best to use your product via webinars, one-on-one startup sessions, or writing blog posts." And make sure to keep track of previous learning sessions and materials shared via your CRM system so you can be sure you are offering customers new — and valuable — information.
Follow up with customers. "Whether it's touching base after a conference or using your CRM system to track when and how you met someone, stay in touch," said Riggen-Ransom. If a customer had a problem with a product and you sent them a replacement, follow up with them to make sure the replacement worked out. Similarly, when you meet with customers at trade shows, conferences and events, send a follow-up note letting them know you enjoyed chatting with them — and answering any questions they may have asked you.
Give presents. Who doesn't like getting presents? "No one, that's who," said Riggen-Ransom. That's why last Christmas, PhotoArts Imaging Professionals of Hattiesburg, Miss., sent clients who had ordered 4" x 6" holiday cards a free mousepad in which they could insert their holiday card or a similar-sized photo. "It was a nice gesture that folks really appreciated," noted Kim Du Boise, the president of PhotoArts Imaging Professionals. And small gestures like that really help build brand loyalty.
By the way it's not just retail customers who appreciate gifts. B2B customers love gifts too. Per Riggen-Ransom, BatchBlue receives a lot of great swag — including chocolates from Electionbuddy, popcorn from Formstack, t-shirts from MailChimp and a big box of cool promotional stuff from SilkWorm — from business partners. And those gifts don't go unnoticed. Each time BatchBlue receives — or sends — a gift, it records the information in its CRM system and acknowledges the gift. Two things every company should be doing.