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CRM - An evolutionary concept to communicate with your customers
By James Gaw

There is probably no other time in history when business conditions have been as difficult and competitive as they are today. Companies are pressuring their managers to work harder and smarter to sell their products. One vital factor that most companies tend to forget is that customers are the only reason they are in business. In turn, customers are curtailing their buying, because the tough times are impacting them as well. It is time Australian corporations realise that customers are not just numbers on a sales graph. They need to help their customers to run a more efficient and profitable business so that they can keep them as customers and keep them coming back.

Existing customers - prime prospects! 

It should really go without saying that your prime source of new business is your existing customers. You already have a track record with them. They trust you and your products. It is easier to sell more to them than it is to find new prospects. It is less expensive too. Management guru Peter Drucker said it all when he said "On average it costs you five times as much to get a new customer as it does to hold an existing one". Jan Carlzon, the man who turned SAS from a huge loss maker into a profitable airline in less than two years echoed Druckerís thought when he said, "All profits come from customer satisfaction". Both were right and their advice is exactly what is needed today.

Communicating with customers 

There is a myriad of ways to communicate with your customers. All the old time methods, such as, sales letters, telemarketing, brochures and so on, sometimes work, most times they donít. It is a hit and miss situation. If we are to retain our customer base we need to upgrade our communication methods to take advantage of todayís technology.

Letís look at one area that companies use to communicate with customers, the customer newsletter. The main problem with customer newsletters today is, that in the main they are self-serving and not at all what a customer wants or needs. They waffle on about how good the company is and the brilliance of their products. Emphasis is placed on their company instead of where the emphasis should be placed, on their customers. The main objective is to retain existing customers and hope that they in turn recommend our products. To do this we must ensure that they see our communications as being useful and valuable to them. Our communications must assist our customers to do better in their businesses, which means that they will be able to spend more money with our company. We cannot achieve this objective if we continue to send out communications that prattle on about how good we are. Remember that, your customer is only concerned with that which benefits their company.

With the traditional media so fragmented and expensive, it is proving difficult to reach the right target audience at a cost-effective price. Your customers are also more sophisticated than ever before so you need to be the same. Your customers are constantly looking for ways to improve themselves, their people and their operations and any help you can give them to improve their business operation will undoubtedly have considerable benefits for you.

Communicating with customers 

A new way of communicating with customers is just being introduced onto the corporate business scene. With Internet marketing being the modern way to reach your prospects you can now send your own fortnightly business magazine to your existing customer base to help them to improve their businesses and by doing so cement your relations with them.

By doing this you offer your customers meaningful help. In corporate communication content is king and this magazine contains articles on management from over 150 of the greatest management gurus in the world. Experts like Anthony Robbins, Al Ries, Zig Ziglar, Amanda Gore and scores of other great thinkers whose combined wisdom will help your customers do better business leading to better business for you from your existing customers who, of course, are your prime prospects. The magazine also contains your advertising and articles from your company. Such a company communication puts your sales messages on your customerís desk every fortnight. Using this idea you get the biggest names in business working for your company every issue. 

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Communicating with Customer Focus
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Top 3 Ways to Boost Your Perceived Value
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James Gaw is a management educator, international speaker and author of the in-house training product QuickCourse. He can be contacted on (07) 3283 3889 or by email at amarquis@petrie.starway.net.au. Website: www.jamesgaw.com

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