How to fill your CRM without impacting the customer experience

There is no question that customer experience is not only important, but essential. Research Reports like that of Walker, have highlighted how customer experience will be the key brand differentiator by 2020.

However, as important as customer experience is, it needs to be balanced with the needs of the business. One area which can often be difficult to balance with customer experience is CRM completeness.

After all for many organisations and businesses their CRM is arguably one of their most powerful sales tools. According to research reports like that of Buyerzone. 91% of companies with more than 11 employees now use CRM software.

Why should I care about the customer experience?

“55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience.” – Defaqto Research (maybe I don’t need to say anymore?). 55% is a huge percentage. It may not sound it next to some other statistics, but 55% of a pool of consumers than numbers thousands gives for plenty of opportunities for you and your business.

At the end of the day businesses need to make money to survive. Yes, there are caveats to that, but in the main it’s true. In order to make more money, businesses need to differentiate themselves and stand out. There are number of ways in which this could be done, but there is only one which is going to be unique and unable to be copied. That is the customer experience. Customers equate a better experience to better value. A company that values its customers is more likely to retain their loyalty. More loyalty means each customers lifetime value is increased. Increasing lifetime value means more money for the business.

Okay, that’s pretty simplistic, but the point is very much accurate. Customer experience helps businesses reduce churn, and increase lifetime value. That is why you should care.

Why should I care about CRM completeness?

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software is one of the most important tools to many businesses. For businesses, being able to track, log and monitor customer relationships is of vital importance. It’s this monitoring that helps businesses to really understand their customers. This understanding allows for a more personalised offering to each customer, this personalisation leads to increased loyalty, and improved Life-Time Value (LTV). It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Depending on the business and the services offered, the amount of data required can vary, but usually the volume of data you can input into your CRM is pretty significant. That data can be used for a whole host of purposes such as for understanding spending habits, offering discounts, upselling & cross-selling, even for those moments of surprise and delight. Each and every data set has its own merits and offers its own opportunities. It is up to each business to decide how to best use that data.

What are the issues in trying to balance the scales?

(This section may sound a little bit downbeat, but don’t worry keep reading and we will give you some ideas for how you fix them).

One of the biggest issues and problems with balancing experience and the need for a full CRM is ‘how companies acquire the data’. I.e. how do you collect all the details you need without forcing customers to give them up, constantly asking them for more information. Yes, the more information you have about each customer is going to help to provide a better service, however, the more information you try to get, the less people actually fill in the form. It becomes a trade-off. Do you want more information on less customers or slightly less information on more customers? The answer is found in the next section.

Another key issue faced is the number of blocks or steps taken for a customer to perform an action. (i.e. how many barriers are there in the way). The more steps that it takes for a customer to perform an action means that they are less likely to take it. However, the more steps that they are willing to take means the more information you can gather.

As you can see CRM and the Customer Experience can quite easily be at odds with one another. Luckily there are solutions . . .

How to create and maintain a balance

There are a number of tools out there than can help you collect data on your users, how they are using your website, and how they are interacting with you as a brand without you having to ask for data. If you can master these tools, you may not need to ask for all the data you currently are.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great example of this as you can set up goals and funnels which will allow you to monitor how people are flowing through your website, and ultimately help you to understand where customers are or aren’t interacting with your website. This will allows you to improve certain areas of the funnel and highlight areas for improvement in terms of marketing, sales and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation).

Heat Mapping Tools

There are other tools out there such as Hotjar and CrazyEgg. These tools will allow you to track how people are interacting with your website. They can record sessions to help you understand where people are getting stuck, which parts of your website people are looking at and how you can make some small improvements which will allow you to improve the customer experience. (I’ve found this extremely helpful over the years).

Take less data upfront

Taking less details up-front is a big winner for the customer experience. The less details you take off people up-front the more likely they are to interact with you. That’s a fact. If you want people to give you more of their data, you have to do it later in the buying cycle (where appropriate). That last point is of vital importance.

In order to have the most minimal of impacts on the customer experience you must make sure when you collect data, it is relevant data and/or is at the relevant point in the buying cycle or the marketing funnel. Asking for data, for the sake of it is a sure fire way, of turning customers away.

Data is currency

You need to provide more value to your current and potential customers than their data is seemingly worth to them (things like name, age, DOB, location etc). This is arguably one of the biggest sins people make and yet it is easy to rectify. The formula is simple.
Better quality content + Relevance to the reader = the ability to get more data.

It’s exactly the same principle when you buy anything. You are willing to part with more cash for a better quality good or service. Data is a form of currency these days. People do not just part with it for no reason or without the thought of getting something they want as a result.

What next?

Balancing the scales between CRM completeness and Customer Experience isn’t an easy feat. The suggestions in this article though, if applied with go some way to keeping the balance right.

The key to it balance is timing and relevance. Asking for only the most relevant data at the most appropriate time should be at the core of your sales and marketing funnel. Get this balance wrong, and your conversion volume will fall and/or you won’t get enough data to be able to maximise the impact of every touchpoint.

What are you doing to balance the scales? How difficult are you finding it to get and maintain a balance?

Ben M Roberts

Ben M Roberts

Ben M Roberts is the Head of Marketing at Talkative. He is a digital marketing strategist, podcaster (The Marketing Buzzword Podcast), and regular conference speaker. He is also writing a book!

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