6 ways to improve the customer experience with CRM Best Practices | Customer by Chip House May 05, 2023 Your customers and the experience they have with your company may be your biggest potential competitive advantage. All industries are increasingly competitive, and there are multiple brands that produce products that are “good enough” for customers to use. So how can companies differentiate their businesses from competitors? Often the answer is to provide a better customer experience than your competitors. One of the most powerful tools at your disposal for improving customer experience is a CRM, or customer relationship management, system. A CRM is a software tool that helps businesses manage their interactions with customers, prospects, and other contacts. By organizing and centralizing customer contact information and other data, a CRM enables businesses to gain insights into their customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors, which can be leveraged to deliver a better customer experience. In this blog post, we’ll explore six ways that businesses can use a CRM to improve their customer experiences. From understanding your customers’ needs to personalizing your communications, we’ll cover the key features and functionalities of a CRM that can help you create a more satisfying customer journey. Whether you’re just starting out with a CRM or looking to optimize your existing system, these tips will help you unlock the full potential of this powerful tool. So let’s dive in! Why you need to prioritize customer experience In recent years, customer experience (CX) has become a key competitive differentiator across many industries. CX refers to the sum of all interactions that a customer has with a brand, including pre-sale, during the sale, and post-sale. In contrast, CRM is a software tool that helps businesses manage these interactions. While CRM and CX are clearly not the same thing, they are closely related. A CRM can help businesses understand their customers’ needs and preferences, which is critical for delivering a great CX. By prioritizing CX, businesses can reap a variety of benefits, including increased customer loyalty, higher revenue, and better brand reputation. In addition to these benefits, there is a growing body of research that shows that CX has a significant impact on customer satisfaction. For example, a study by PwC found that 73% of customers point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, and that customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. Another study by Forrester Research found that CX leaders outperform CX laggards in revenue growth and customer retention. Furthermore, as businesses become increasingly reliant on information technology, the importance of CX and CRM is only going to grow. In today’s digital age, customers expect a seamless and personalized experience across all channels, including email, social media, and mobile devices. By leveraging a CRM, businesses can gain a holistic view of their customers and deliver consistent, relevant experiences across all channels. In summary, prioritizing CX is vital for success in any industry, and a CRM can play a critical role in delivering a great customer experience. In the next section, we’ll explore the key features and functionalities of a CRM that can help businesses achieve their CX goals. What you gain when adopting a CRM Adopting a CRM system offers several benefits to businesses. Here are some of the main features and functionalities of a CRM system and why they matter for creating a better customer experience. Before adopting a CRM system, it is essential to have a solid CRM strategy in place. This strategy should include defining clear objectives, selecting the right tools, and identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you measure the success of your efforts. By defining your CRM strategy upfront, you can ensure that your CRM system aligns with your overall business goals and objectives. One of the main benefits of adopting a CRM system is that it helps you create a single source of truth for your customer data. A CRM system allows you to store and manage customer data in one central location, making it easier to access, update, and share with relevant stakeholders. In a B2B setting, most CRMs allow you to store both organization-level data (such as organization industry, mailing address, number of employees, revenue) and customer contact-level data (such as name, email address, phone number, title) and to connect that data to all interactions with your company. Many CRMs also allow you to add custom fields which may be important to track items unique to the customer organization. All of this centralized data enables your teams to provide a more personalized experience to customers by understanding their interests, needs, and preferences. Additionally, a CRM system provides several tools to help you manage customer interactions. These tools include email templates, sales pipelines, reporting dashboards, and task lists that allow you to automate and streamline customer interactions, freeing up your time to focus on building deeper relationships with your customers. To ensure a successful CRM implementation, it is essential to follow some key steps. These include defining your CRM objectives, selecting the right CRM tools, ensuring data quality, training your employees, and setting up a clear process for importing your customer contacts and managing the data over time. Finally, some common CRM practices that can help improve the customer experience include tracking customer interactions across multiple channels, providing self-service options, using automation to follow up with customers, and providing a consistent experience across all touch points. In the next section, we will discuss in more detail how a CRM system can help you improve the customer experience by providing a more personalized and consistent experience across all touch points. How a CRM improves the customer experience A CRM can significantly enhance the customer experience by giving you insights into customer behavior and helping you respond to their needs more efficiently. Here are some of the ways that a CRM can optimize the customer experience: 1. Understand your customers’ needs A CRM enables you to collect, store and analyze customer data, which helps you create a comprehensive customer profile for each customer contact, as well as each customer organization. Often in a B2B (business-to-business) relationship, you’ll have multiple contacts you need to work with inside of your customers’ organizations – which requires the CRM to support customer and org-level data storage. With the help of this unified customer profile, you can understand your customers’ needs, preferences, and behavior better. By understanding your customers better, you can tailor your products or services to their preferences and ensure that they have a positive experience every time they interact with your business. A CRM also enables you to track customer interactions, including past product or service purchases, support inquiries, and responses to marketing campaigns, all in one place. By tracking this information, you can identify trends and create targeted campaigns to meet your customers’ needs. 2. Personalize your communications Using the customer data collected in the CRM, you can personalize your communication with customers, which can enhance their experience with your business. Personalization can range from addressing customers by name to suggesting products or services that align with their preferences. By personalizing your communication, you can build stronger relationships with your customers, leading to increased loyalty and repeat business. For example, with a CRM, you could choose to run an outbound sales campaign targeting just the customers in a specific industry, with a specific title, that all own a specific product of yours – like running a report of just your CTO contacts within your manufacturing industry customers that own your SOC2 security tool. As the central customer data repository, CRMs make CX much easier as they allow you to drive the personalized campaigns that customers expect. 3. Free up your time with better efficiency With a CRM, you can automate repetitive tasks such as data entry, follow-up emails, and lead nurturing. This automation saves time, allowing your team to focus on serving customers more effectively. Workflows and automation also ensure that every customer inquiry or issue is addressed promptly, leading to higher customer satisfaction. For example, leveraging a CRMs ability to do workflow automation could help improve CX and reduce the effort in providing it. This can involve automating processes such as lead generation, lead qualification, sales pipeline management, and customer support. Here’s an example of workflow automation in CRM: Let’s say a company receives a new lead through its website’s contact form. The lead’s details are captured in the CRM system, and an automated workflow is triggered. The sales rep is notified of the form fill, the data is flowed into the CRM, and potentially an email is automated and set to go – helping the rep provide a timely response, with great efficiency. 4. Better internal communication A CRM provides a centralized tool for sharing information within your organization, which helps everyone stay on the same page. With a CRM, everyone can see the same customer data, including contact data, interactions, notes, preferences, and more. This transparency (and common location) improves communication, reduces errors, and ensures that everyone in your organization is working towards the same customer-centric goals. For example, with a common location to share notes and interactions with a customer, your sales, marketing, operations, customer service, and even executive leadership teams can see, at a glance, the status of the interactions with a customer. Also, leveraging CRM capabilities such as automated email triggers can also help maintain stronger internal communication. 5. Respond to customer requests faster A CRM enables you to handle customer inquiries and support requests across multiple channels, including email, phone, and social media. With a centralized data repository, you can easily access customer data and respond to requests promptly. By responding quickly, you can improve customer satisfaction and reduce the likelihood of negative reviews or complaints. A CRM system can automate certain processes and workflows, such as lead assignments, response templates, and follow-up reminders. This means that when a customer contacts you with an inquiry or complaint, the CRM system can automatically assign the inquiry to the appropriate team member, provide them with relevant information, and send an initial response. This automation helps you respond to customers quickly and consistently. Similarly, many CRM systems offer mobile access through a mobile app or web browser. This enables you to respond to customer inquiries even when you’re not in the office. With mobile access, you can view customer data, respond to inquiries, and collaborate with your team members on the go –helping your team respond faster than otherwise possible. Also, any customer service business needs to be able to implement a variety of different communication channels, such as a quality phone system, to effectively handle requests and ensure a great customer experience. A CRM system can integrate with various communication channels, such as email, phone, chat, and social media. This integration allows you to receive customer inquiries from multiple channels in one place, respond to them quickly, and track them efficiently. 6. More consistent experiences A CRM provides a consistent experience across all customer touch points, ensuring that customers receive the same level of service every time they interact with your business. With a CRM, you can track all customer interactions, including purchases, support inquiries, and marketing campaigns, in one place. This helps you maintain consistency and add congruence to each interaction, building trust with your customers. Here are a few ways you can improve customer experience with CRM: A CRM system enables you to standardize processes and procedures across your organization. With standardized processes, you can ensure that all customers receive the same level of service, no matter who they interact with. This consistency helps build trust and loyalty with your customers. Also, of note for driving consistent experiences is the ability most CRMs have to personalize interactions with customers based on their preferences, purchase history, and other relevant data. This more tailored and relevant experience for each customer can lead to increased satisfaction and loyalty. Also helpful for standardizing CX is the ability of a CRM system to help you collaborate more effectively with your team members by providing a central platform to share customer data, notes, and tasks, or its ability to give you real-time analytics on various customer metrics, such as customer satisfaction, response time, and conversion rates. Optimize your Customer Experience with Insightly CRM At Insightly, we understand the importance of creating an exceptional customer experience. That’s why our CRM platform is designed to optimize your customer interactions at every touchpoint. With Insightly’s modern, scalable CRM, you can better understand your customers’ needs, personalize communications, and respond to requests faster, all while freeing up your time for more strategic tasks. Our unified customer platform provides one place for customer data and enables you to see a complete picture of each customer, including their interests, preferences, purchase history, and more. This allows you and all of your teams to tailor your communications to each customer’s specific needs and create a more personalized experience. In addition, Insightly’s automation and workflows help you streamline your processes and free up valuable time to focus on customer service. With centralized data and multichannel capabilities, you can respond to customer requests faster and provide a consistent experience across all channels. With Insightly’s CRM solution, you can elevate your customer experience and help take your business to new heights. Sign up for a free trial today or watch an on-demand demo to see how we can help you improve your customer experience and grow your business. Additional helpful links More information on this topic is available on the following pages: Customize CRMCustomize CRMCustomer Life Cycle In CrmCRM SoftwareAgency CRMhttps://www.insightly.com/blog/crm-best-practices/5 Goals You Can Achieve With a CRM Customer Experience | Customer Relationships Chip House Chip House is the CMO of Insightly. He has more than 25 years of experience in MarTech and B2B SaaS, including roles at SharpSpring by Constant Contact, ExactTarget, and Digital River.