2016-03-04 00:00:00Starting UpEnglishCustomer relationship management is essential for driving sales and keeping your customers happy. Here a 5 best practices to optimize your...https://quickbooks.intuit.com/global/resources/row_qrc/uploads/2016/03/5-Best-Practices-for-Customer-Relationship-Management-for-Small-Businesses-Featured.jpghttps://quickbooks.intuit.com/global/resources/starting-up/5-best-practices-for-customer-relationship-management-for-small-businesses/5 Best Practices for Customer Relationship Management for Small Businesses

5 Best Practices for Customer Relationship Management for Small Businesses

4 min read

Customer relationship management (CRM) follows the entire lifecycle of a customer’s interaction with a business. The main arms of CRM include marketing, sales, support and feedback. No matter how large or small a business may be, its clients and customers go through a CRM cycle.

If you have a small business, it’s vital to use the right CRM software that allows you to set up effective strategies for employees and the customers with whom they’re interacting. Streamline these processes, and you’ll reap the benefits of a long, happy relationship with your customers.

1. Ensure Online Platforms Are Responsive

Your potential customers are looking for you online. From a marketing perspective, it’s worth it to have a responsive website so customers can easily access your information via phone, tablet and desktop computer.

To figure out what design works best for your small business, work with a web developer or use a template provider like WordPress or Squarespace. Spring for the paid subscription to remove any ads and get a true domain. Because more users now access the internet via mobile devices rather than desktops, it’s crucial the user experience is good.

Hard-to-navigate sites won’t pass muster on mobile devices and will result in customers leaving your site for a different, more user-friendly one. Encourage conversations and sharing by making your website and social media pages places where customers want to engage.

2. Set Up Workflows

Even if you only have one or two employees, workflows are essential to nail down processes and make sure the entire customer experience goes smoothly. Training new employees as your business continues to grow is also easier when you have workflows in place.

Workflows give employees a definitive answer on what to do next when it comes to sales, support and feedback interactions with customers. They can be as simple as a bulleted list of steps saved as Google Docs, or flow charts that explain the steps in a graphic format.

3. Cross-Train Employees

Related to workflows is ensuring employees are cross-trained in multiple areas of the business, especially if there are less than 25 employees. If there’s turnover or long-term sickness, having employees trained in different areas helps ensure others can pick up the slack when needed. From support requests, to sales initiatives and marketing campaigns, cross-training means the customer experience will remain positive no matter who’s handling it.

4. Create Content, and Make Changes From Experiences

Handle the marketing part of customer relationship management by making regular changes and additions to your content. Address the new situations your employees come across. For instance, if you get the same question twice, create a new question and answer on your FAQ page, or write a blog post with the question as the title and a detailed explanation as the post.

This will not only help future customers find the answer to the same question; it will also create new content for your website, which is always a good thing, as it helps your business get found via search engines.

Another aspect of your experience with customers is the opportunity to continuously improve your CRM process. If there is a continuous roadblock, a negative customer reaction or a step your employees don’t understand, use that experience to make a change.

5. Put Milestones in Place

Finally, a proper CRM process in the four areas mentioned earlier (i.e. sales, marketing, support and feedback) would be nothing without goals and milestones. Once these are set up, you’ll be able to track your progress, customer satisfaction and continuous improvement.

Software solutions can help manage these processes. For example, a point-of-sale system like QuickBooks Point of Sale powered by Revel Systems has powerful CRM functionality. It tracks revenue and order history so you can better tailor your product or service offerings. Software can also help you set up gift card and loyalty programs, analyze customer buying preferences or export data to another CRM platform.

Just because CRM is mainly for the customers’ benefit, small businesses can still see benefits from great processes. Learning through customer questions and behavior can help drive better service, products and goals. For more tips on keeping your customers happy, check out our article on eight customer-retention strategies that can boost sales.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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