The 4-Step CRM Plan
You already know that keeping customers at the center of your business is critical to its success. In fact, you may even have some great ideas about how to improve your customer focus. But what if you’re finding it challenging to transition those ideas into action in a way that makes sense for you, your employees, and your customers? What then?
Every customer encounter is important. That being said, the majority of a consumer’s experience is comprised of a series of small interactions, like simple inquiries or even research. So, how does your company address these little things to create the kind of healthy and positive customer relationships that can help your business thrive?
Lucky for you, there are a few key steps your business can take to implement your customer relationship management concepts—taking them from mere ideas to real action—while avoiding getting bogged down along the path to success. Bonus: it’s simpler than you might think.
Step 1: Focus on just one opportunity at a time.
Eager to improve? That’s great. But hey, go-getter, don't make the mistake of trying to change everything at once. Even if you think you’re ready to jump in to take on every facet of your CRM approach at once, take a deep breath, count to ten, and reassess the situation. Taking the spray-and-pray route could lead to a sloppy, ineffective transition toward the CRM concepts you’ve worked so hard to develop. Put down the Gatling gun and, instead, pick up the sniper rifle. Target (News - Alert) one opportunity at a time—and the solution it will create—and focus on implementing that one idea to completion. This will keep your team focused and will ultimately help ensure quality over quantity in the CRM transition process.
Step 2: Connect your CRM to the bottom line.
‘Why does this matter to your company?’ This is a question you should frequently be asking as you work to improve CRM. If the answer to that question is ‘It doesn’t’, or even if you can’t come up with a solid answer, consider focusing on another concept that will be more beneficial to your company—in the immediate and in the long run. Pinpoint exactly where and how your CRM ideas relate to your bottom line, and how they can help it, to ensure your efforts are leading to a positive outcome.
Step 3: Implement your plan.
When putting the final touches on your plan, ask questions like, ‘What kinds of problems will this solve?’, ‘Who will own the execution of the plan?’, and ‘How long will it take to see results?’ Performing this type of problem solving up front will help your team flesh out the details of your plan well before it comes time to execute. By doing this, you can increase the odds for a smooth transition exponentially. Plus, you’ll be able to see the difference in outcomes between a plan that’s not quite ready for primetime versus one that’s been thought out completely.
Step 4: Wash, rinse, repeat.
Now that your new CRM process is rolling along, how’s it going? Do you like the results so far? Whether you’re running on all cylinders or struggling to gain the kind of momentum you really wanted, be sure to document each step of the implementation process when turning your CRM plan into action. Note which steps were efficient and effective—and which didn’t transition as smoothly as you’d hoped. Once you’ve got a few structures and systems in place for your team members, and you’ve had a few chances to fine-tune how your concepts are implemented, your customer relationship management should be operating like a well-oiled machine. And to give it a little extra oomph, automate as many processes as you can so that your team can simply wash, rinse and repeat to keep the positive results flowing.
And yes, it will be challenging…but don’t get frustrated. Implementing CRM ideas takes time and effort. (A lot of effort.) Don’t be afraid to try different methods again and again to find the perfect fit for your ideas, your team, and your overall brand preferences.
The significance of the customer experience isn’t limited to a mission statement; it drives what businesses say and do every single day. Make it a priority to find ways to show your customers that you value their time and their trust, in a way that enhances and simplifies their lives.
Strong CRM doesn’t happen overnight. But with the help of a passionate team, smart planning and a smooth implementation strategy, your can bring your CRM ideas to life.
About Scott McLaren
Scott McLaren is CMO for Fortegra Financial Corporation, a subsidiary of Tiptree Financial Inc. (NASDAQ: TIPT). Fortegra is a single source insurance services company that, through a network of subsidiaries and preferred partners, offers a range of credit protection, warranty, and specialty underwriting solutions. Delivering multifaceted coverage with an unmatched service experience for both resellers and their customers, Fortegra solves immediate, everyday needs, empowering consumers to worry less and Experience More.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi