Organisations big and small are on a relentless pursuit to optimise costs and extract more productivity from their workforce and other assets. Doing “more with less” is a phrase that has been around for a long time, as well as “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. Whilst improving productivity and measurement are sound business goals, the pandemic has taught us that our teams, customers and suppliers are indeed humans, and require more nurturing and ‘human touch’ than we were probably giving them.
WFH or Living at Work?
Technology has had a big part to play in this disconnect. The golden age of Slack, Zoom, Teams, JIRA (and the list goes on) has meant that many workers can do everything they used to do in the office, just as effectively in the loungeroom, café or igloo. And to be fair, most businesses that I have worked with over the last 18 months have not noticed a fall in productivity. Software has enabled us to work from our home, and also to live at our work. Similarly, organisations have implemented CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems to track their customers, deal pipelines, sales numbers, complaints and possibly to do direct marketing to their customer base.
It is in the name, silly
Tracking contacts and sales is important to a business, however, the real benefit of a successful CRM is held in its name – the ‘customer relationship’. So, how are you using your CRM to better manage a deeper relationship with your customers, as well as managing the numbers? Are you using your CRM to give a ‘human touch’ to your contacts with customers?
As an example, your customer comes late and annoyed to a coffee meeting with you. They explain that the reason they are late is because they “had to drive their son to footy practice, even though he could easily ride his bike the lazy …” What do you do with this information? If you are an outstanding sales person you may commit this to memory so that next time you meet you can ask “So how is the young fella going with his footy?” However most us will not remember this. Once we get back to the car or on the train, we should open up our CRM on our phone and make a note “has son, plays footy”. You probably won’t include the fact that he may be lazy.
Happy birthday to ya!
Birthdays are a nice touch as well. One of my clients stores their customer’s birthday (day and month, not the year) and then the CRM sends a personalised email to them. If a customer lets you know that they have a religious faith, you may want to take note of that faiths’ special festivals or holidays. If a customer has just recently logged a complaint on a product or service, it is better to arm yourself with those details prior to asking them for more business. Depending on your business, most CRM’s allow you to add custom fields that may be relevant to your customer base (e.g., favourite colour, hobby, partner’s name etc.)
Enough about the footy
There will be customers that don’t want to divulge anything personal, and you have to be careful not to invade anyone’s privacy. Whatever information you have, you need to use it genuinely and intelligently. (Hint: avoid constantly joking about a customer’s footy team).
Research is pointing to an adjustment away from a continual focus on productivity and new technology. We need to get back to a human touch and to use our advances in technology for that purpose. Use your CRM as your personal memory bank to store important bits of information that will go a long way in improving the relationship with your customer.