Thursday, March 20, 2014

Use Your CRM System to the Fullest

Face it, the way you take care of your customers has changed. It’s grown from an occasional point-of-sale interaction to a full-blown, 24/7 customer relationship management (CRM) system packed with relevant data about those you serve. If you have a large number of customers or clients, you need a good CRM system to keep track and keep them engaged.

Buying a piece of CRM software won’t do it all. You need to customize your system and optimize how you use it to get the most bang for your buck. CRM is about more than just collecting data on your customer. It’s about bringing them back and bringing their friends with them.

Follow and Follow Again

The beauty of a good CRM system is the ability, with one click, to know who your customer is and where a potential sale or project stands. You can track and schedule meetings and discussions as well as keeping tabs on what you’ve sent the customer and what you haven’t. CRM paints an easily-accessed picture of the sales process that you simply need to access.
Another helpful part of the CRM process is the ability to monitor and set reminders for follow up. If you serve a wealth of clients, it’s hard to always be on top of each project. By fully utilizing the power of your CRM system, you can reach out to the client with answers before he or she has even thought of the questions. 

Stand Out by Really Knowing Your Customer

Say you’re an individual who does business with a few companies that sell office supplies. Prices and service aren’t much different. But every birthday, Company A sends you a personalized card. So which company will you remember when the time comes to pick just one?  

Keep track of important dates in your client’s life inside your CRM system and set reminders. Send them a birthday note or congratulate them on an anniversary. It’s little things like a birthday card or note that will resonate with them.

Take Advantage of Customer Feedback 

In today’s digital age, feedback can come within seconds. It can also reach many more people thanks to social media. When you get feedback from your clients, respond to it helpfully and promptly. But also make note of it in your CRM system.

Nothing drives a current or potential client away faster than ignoring their problem. If they’ve gone as far as taking time to provide feedback about an issue, it’s important to them. It should also be important to you. By taking note of it in your CRM system, you can be well-informed the next time you interact with them.

Positive feedback should also get a response and be recorded. A kind word or two from a current customer is as good as any paid ad. Share it across your digital landscape but also thank the customer with a note, card or even a small gift. Like the birthday card, that will go a long way when they decide to refer friends
Boost Your CRM and Your Success 

Your CRM is your pipeline to your customers. Don’t just purchase CRM software to store data. Maximize the system by using its capability for tracking, follow up and reminders of important business and personal events. You’ll be happier and so will your customers.

How to Deal with Inspectors or Regulators Who Show Up at Your Business

No business is ever completely ready for a visit from inspectors or regulators, but understanding how to deal with these unannounced visitors can help take the stress out of the situation.  These visits can be extremely stressful, but following these tips can help make an unwelcome visit a positive review.

Attitude is Everything

Regardless of the situation, you have to make sure that you keep your attitude positive.  The best scenario is for you to ask if you can go along during the inspection, but if you truly do not have the time available, be honest.  Let the inspectors know what is going on with your schedule, and ask them if they could come back later.  

The most important thing you can do during these visits is to be respectful, and friendly.  These regulators are only doing their job, and if they find you communicative and non-combative, it will go a long way in making the best of the situation.

Understand the Benefits of the Situation

Relationships are everything in business, and this extends to inspectors.  The effort you put into communicating effectively, and following up as required with these visits helps build a solid relationship that has the power to be constructive.  These visits are important to your business, and it is up to you whether they are time wasters, or something that has the potential to better your business.

Pay Attention, and Respond

If the inspectors find any issues with your business, make sure you address them as quickly as possible.  Some violations can result in fines that increase daily, so you need to make sure you understand everything the inspector has to tell you.  Most violations are quite easy to rectify if you take the time and effort to do them.

Stay Calm

If you do have a less than good visit, do not overreact.  If there is a problem found that you disagree with, or that just does not make sense, do not get angry.  Angry reactions tend to make the situations even worse, and hinder efforts to fix the problems.  If you truly believe there is a problem with the inspector, report them to the proper state or federal  officials to get the issue resolved.

Ask Questions

If the visit results in serious infractions, make sure you have a full understanding from the inspector.  You have the right to find out the exact nature of the problems, how the infractions were measured, and what all of your options are.  If you find out that legal action is required, do not hesitate to seek counsel with your lawyer to gain a better understanding of the issues.

No business owner looks forward to inspector or regulator visits.  However, if you are prepared for the eventuality, you will handle the situation in the best way possible.  As a business owner you have rights, as well as responsibilities.  Ensuring that you hold up your end of them will make these visits smoother.