Knowing what makes your customer tick

Smarter analytics techniques can extract invaluable information about consumer behavior but the sheer volume of data can become overwhelming.

Smarter analytics techniques can extract invaluable information about consumer behavior; in turn social media enables customers to react immediately to every business interaction.

The proliferation of mobile devices has driven our desire to be connected to the wider world at all times. It is driving a culture of immediacy. For businesses, this means customers are expecting more from brands and are able to communicate happiness or frustration about services provided or products in real-time.

It is becoming increasingly common for consumers to take to social media to provide genuine feedback about products or services and this generally generates a lot of online conversation with other customers who either share the same opinions or who have had a different experience.

Adjusting to a culture of immediacy

It is vital for any business’ brand communication to remain consistent, whether a consumer is using a business’ website from a desktop or smartphone, tweeting the customer services team or physically in a store

To assist businesses in reaching this goal, all customer-facing employees, whether they are in sales, the warehouse, or at the reception desk, need to have a 360-degree view of the customer and have access to as much information as possible to engage with customers on a one-on-one basis. This will enable the customer-facing staff member to answer questions quickly based on previous conversations, previous products bought and recent social media interactions.

An effective customer relationship management (CRM) system enables employees to deliver a consistent, high-quality customer experience every time they engage with a customer.

Many businesses however use CRM systems to generate reports for managers and get visibility into sales and business performance. CRM systems are not limited to just that. The most effective CRM systems are the hub of all customer interactions, including in the social media sphere

Making CRM attractive

A CRM system needs to be able to pull data from many sources within and outside of the organisation to provide a complete view of every customer in real-time. Additionally it’s of utmost importance that staff are encouraged to use and access the CRM system to promote the culture of customer centricity and eventually do their job more effectively.

To make a CRM system staff-friendly, all the relevant customer information should be viewable on a single page. Sharing and using data across departments should be easy.

Another important feature of a great CRM system is the ability to customise the tool and configure the options to suit the various departments or business units.

Making sense of it all

Employees are more productive when they have access to insightful business and customer data. Today’s businesses increasingly need to invest in real-time analytics to exploit the vast volume of customer data that is contained within and beyond the corporate firewall.

Big data, the mass of structured and unstructured data sitting on company servers, can help gain deeper insight into customers’ habits, such as buying behaviours.

However, the sheer volume of customer information available to businesses can become overwhelming if not managed properly. To avoid information overload, businesses must have a CRM system that filters through all the data available and only gathers the most relevant data that will help strengthen their customer relationships.

Veronica Mikhail is marketing director, APAC and Japan at SugarCRM