Customer Relationship Management

Written By Vishal Mehra


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“Customer Relationship Management”: CRM or Customer Relationship Management tool should be the backbone of every small Business. If you have not deployed one so far it is high time you invested in the most precious resource your Business has. Your Customer.

Case Study Travel Business

As a Consultant for Travel Business, you often meet Clients who have grown in the past but have reached a stagnation now, They want a quick fix solution and ask me how can they grow real quick. After doing an Audit 9 times out of 10, I have had the same observation, that they have stopped innovating after they got the Computers and Internet. They have missed the Bus when it came to scaling up on Technology.

I met Mr X the other day, Managing a medium enterprise, having 20 people in the office and he as the head of the Business a Gentleman of around 58-60 years of Age whose first question to me was “What makes you think you can tell me how to scale up? I have been met with many Greeting lines, but this wasn’t one of them, a younger person in the Organisation whom I happen to know had asked me over, the idea was to do an audit of current practices and suggest what they were doing wrong? After about 2 hours of questions and answers, all I could say was, You Guys are not doing anything Wrong because you are not doing anything at all.

There was no Customer Relationship Management tool to record client data, every search was done on Email folder to give me answers, there was no customer acquisition strategy, the products were me-too products and there was no customer engagement program. There was no innovation at all and they were reactive rather than pro-active.
They were customer driven (They have loyal customers) rather than giving Ideas to customers. Being an Old Name they have set customers, this young person wanted to make a difference, scale up and knew they needed professional help, Mr X, on the other hand, felt that they were fine and needed no help at all. He said we have multiple booking engines from where we filter the data and give it to the client. That getting this information without having Client history accessible was resulting in countless hours being wasted was of no concern to him.

So I went ahead and presented a scenario to him, what if he had a CRM which recorded all his customer data and gave him 360 view of his customer telling him what his client had last booked and what he had booked before that, it would help him make the right recommendation to the customer which would save his team member countless hours of doing the same research again when the customer came back saying he wanted a better or less priced option. The time he could use selling more to the other customers, Also what if I could recommend him a Solution which would give him all his data of offerings at a Glance. What if we could put this customer on a curated mailing list and based on his buying habits we could have made suggestions to him on other deals of his liking. We may have had a sale from him sooner. Then I showed him why OTA’s were doing better because they were data driven and tweaking offerings and curating offers for the different set of customers to which finally I got an answer, that why they close more sales.

So I presented him yet another scenario of using Social media to drive offerings, he said but we use Social Media and don’t have enough sales from it, so we shut it down. He didn’t know that by making a Landing page he could capture all this data and reuse it to drive more Business to him. By the time the 2 hours were up, we had made him understand that he needs to move out of Dark Ages and join the 21st century way of doing Business.

Does this sound familar to you?

This scenraio can be in any Business. If you do not have an Overview of your customer, you will not be able to make informed decisions. You will not be able to make the right recommendations to your customers. You will not be able to segment your customers based on their buying patterns. When your customer calls you would be searching your inbox for what was last discussed. A Customer relationship management tool on the otherhand would give you an exact overview of whatever you were looking for.

Customer Relationship Management Tools you can start using today

Hubspot: Comes in 2 Flavours Free and paid. for 99% of small Businesses the free tool works well. It syncs with your email and once you have created records every conversation you have with your clients / leads can be recorded. They have a huge repository of Articles that can help you master the CRM tool. Best part is that is is 100% free till you have 1 million customers. (there are a few limitations that you may have but all features that are a must have work 100%) Try it out.

Salesflare is a CRM for Sales Professionals: After having tested many tools which claimed to be buit for Sales People (read my review here). This affordable CRM is where I personally spend a lot of my time as it helps me not only organize everything but also gives me all the social media information and relationships that I have with various contacts. Paid Solution but well worth it.

Pipedrive: Great tool to have if you have operations which need to be tracked and managed. Does everything what Hubspot does but since this is a paid software it does not have any restrictions at all. We use this for our Operations team.

Both Paid versions come with a Trial Period so you can try these out and see for yourself which one works best for you. Hubspot is free for life, even if you sign up it wouldn’t cost you anything.

As a Small Business owner this should be your first step before you embark on anything else. Get your Data organised. You would be surprised as to how much information you already have of your customers.


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