Customer Management (Essential Elements And Process)

Customer Management (Essential Elements And Process)

What is customer management?

How do organizations manage the process?

What are the essential elements of an effective customer management strategy?

In this article, we will break down the notion of customer management so you know all there is to know about it.

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Definition of customer management?

What is customer management exactly?

Why is it important?

What is customer management?

Customer management is defined as the applications, systems and processes used by a company to manage its existing customers and new prospects.

Customer management is commonly referred to as customer relationship management (CRM).

Companies can better manage and organize their customer information and data using a CRM system.

As companies grow, they must properly organize their customers’ information.

This is true for companies in all industries and of all sizes.

That’s when CRM software systems come into play.

Customer management systems and applications allow you to:

  1. Capture customer data
  2. Research and analyze your customer behaviour
  3. Understand your customers’ buying preferences 
  4. Customer demographics

By having good information to serve your customers well, delivering what they need and ensuring that what they get is consistent with their needs, you can dramatically improve your customer loyalty.

Customer loyalty and customer retention are crucial for all businesses.

CRM applications allow you to develop a database with important information about your customers.

That information is a highly valuable asset to your organization.

Using such CRM software systems, companies can increase customer loyalty, improve their customer retention rate and simply their customer management process.

Customer relationship management model

The customer relationship management model represents the stages of a customer’s buyer journey.

The CRM model is as follows:

  1. Awareness 
  2. Discovery
  3. Evaluation
  4. Intent
  5. Purchase
  6. Loyalty

A person first becomes aware of a need.

This is the awareness stage.

That lead will lead them to discover your organization and understand how they can solve their problem or take advantage of an opportunity.

They will evaluate different products and services, form an intent and ultimately purchase.

This is the consideration stage and decision stage.

Following the purchase, their overall experience with the company will determine if they will come back to buy more or abandon the company.

Essential elements of a customer management strategy 

What are the elements of a customer management strategy?

How do you define customer management strategy?

To answer these questions is to understand your customer.

A well-defined customer management strategy has the following main elements:

  1. Your customers’ journey
  2. Your customers’ user experience 
  3. Personalizing your communications
  4. Managing relationships
  5. Creating opportunities
  6. Managing opportunities 

Businesses need to understand why their customers interact with them in a certain way.

Why are they interested in your products and services?

Why do they come back to purchase from you?

The more information you have business intelligence on your customers, the more you can understand their motivations and needs.

This business intelligence is essentially your audience persons

Your customers’ journey

The first element of a customer management strategy is to understand your customers’ journey.

How does your typical customer interact with your business?

Do they reach out to you on social media before buying?

Do they use your mobile application to register for a newsletter before making a purchase?

There are many ways customers can engage with your business such as social media, email, blogs, mobile apps and more.

By properly mapping out your typical customers’ journey when purchasing from you, you can define and improve your strategies to increase your potential for sale, improve your brand and scale your business.

Your customers’ user experience 

One area of critical focus is your customers’ user experience.

How seamless is your website purchasing process?

Does your mobile app navigation offer your users a good navigational experience?

Can customers purchase from you easily?

Thinking of your customers’ user experience is significant.

You can have the best marketing team in the world but if your website is not responsive, does not load fast, is complicated to navigate and checkout process is long and tedious, you will not convert.

Improving your customers’ user experience is therefore the second important element of a sold customer relationship management strategy.

Personalizing your communications

The third element of a customer management strategy is the personalization of your communications.

According to Accenture, 75% of customers prefer to buy from an organization that recognized their name and recommended products and services based on their purchase history.

Think about it, do you prefer to be treated like a human being or as an impersonal source of profit to the company?

When companies don’t care about their customers, customers feel that they are only interested in profits. 

That’s when many lose interest. 

On the other hand, when companies cater to our needs, recognize us and engage with us on a personal level, we feel more valued and may do business with that company.

Managing relationships

Managing your customer relationship is another essential element of customer management strategy.

What do your customers want?

What are their needs?

What are their pain points?

How do you communicate with them?

Keeping your customers informed on the products they purchased, on the latest product information, understanding their history to better serve them in the future are all different ways a company can manage its customer relationship.

Creating opportunities

To grow, businesses need a constant stream of opportunities.

Now, opportunities don’t just fall from the tree.

You need to go out and create them.

It takes a lot of effort for your marketing team to put the right message, to the right person, on the right channel at the right time!

More and more, marketing departments work with the sales team to prospect and find new opportunities.

To avoid any misalignment on how different teams reach out to prospects and engage with the outside world, companies should define a customer management process to be effective.

Managing opportunities 

You’ve done everything right and generated leads to your business, how what?

You need to manage the opportunities.

Now you need to qualify the leads.

It’s may not be worth it to go after every single lead at any given time.

You need to decide which leads are real opportunities, which ones need to be nurtured, which ones must be abandoned.

To effectively manage your opportunities, you’ll need to determine how you will qualify your prospects.

It’s important to learn about your prospect and be able to capture that information internally to be able to make these decisions.

What is the customer management process

A customer management process is a company’s process to handle its customer-facing activities.

The better a company handles its customer communication and customer relationship, the more it can expect to increase its customer loyalty and retention.

The quality of a company’s communication with its customers and prospects plays an important role in the user experience.

The happier your customers, you can aspire to higher profitability.

The less your customers are happy, the more you can expect your churn rate to increase.

The customer management process is to define a process, a plan, a strategy to implement measures to improve your customer relationship and success.

This includes using the right technology, software tools and applications such as customer relationship management software solutions.

There are five steps in a CRM process:

  1. Generate brand awareness
  2. Acquiring leads
  3. Converting leads into customers
  4. Providing great customer service 
  5. Upsell 

A comprehensive customer management process can be very effective for companies to generate revenues and make happy customers in the process.

Generate brand awareness

The first step of the customer management process is a company’s efforts to create brand awareness.

To make a customer happy and have a chance of selling something to them, customers need to find you first.

There are many ways of building brand awareness. 

For example, companies can manage a blog providing information about their products and services.

Social media platforms can be used to engage with customers and reach out to potential leads.

Brand awareness is an important aspect of the customer management process.

Acquiring leads

When a person discovers a business on social media, on search engines, directly on their website or other channels, the next step of the process is to convert them into leads.

A person visiting a website is cannot be considered as a lead.

However, if a person downloads a whitepaper, signs-up for a newsletter or fills up a form, then you can consider them as a lead.

Generating a constant stream of leads is the lifeblood of a company.

Converting leads into customers

Qualifying leads and nurturing them can ultimately lead to their conversion into paying customers.

A good customer management process defines the way how a company engages with its leads, communicates with them, offers them exclusive deals or entices them to become a paying customer.

The more a company can successfully convert qualified leads into customers, the more it can scale its business.

Providing great customer service 

Once you acquire the customer, now you need to work hard at retaining them.

That’s done through great customer service.

A key factor in the customer management process is to make happy customers.

Happy customers have little reason to go to the competition.

Why go somewhere else when you are happy and well take-care of?

Building processes to ensure customers get the proper support, get answers to their questions, are engaged using their preferred communication channels all affect customer satisfaction.

Upsell 

Happy customers will come back and buy more.

The acquisition cost of a new customer may be high for some companies.

However, once you’ve converted a person or a company as a client, that’s when you can potentially upsell to them at a fraction of a cost of how much it cost you to acquire them.

Upselling should be an integral part of a company’s customer management process.

Benefits of customer management

There are many benefits to customer management.

Customer management must be at the heart of every organization’s customer success program.

Here are some key benefits of customer management:

  1. Increased customer satisfaction
  2. Improved customer relationships 
  3. Increased customer retention
  4. Improved customer experience 
  5. Increasing revenues

Increased customer satisfaction

Businesses should be mindful of their customer management operations as they can benefit in many ways.

One way is to increased customer satisfaction.

Understanding your customers, knowing what they need, understanding how they prefer to interact and engaging with them based on their interests will lead to increased customer satisfaction.

Improved customer experience 

Providing a good customer experience is another way companies can effectively manage their customers.

If your customer has an overall satisfying experience with your business, they will be more likely to continue doing business with you.

Good customer experience is directly related to higher customer satisfaction.

Increased customer retention

Customer management is also about customer retention.

What should a company do to keep the customers from going to the competitors?

A well-defined and executed customer retention strategy will help customers achieve a better relationship with them.

Improved customer relationships 

A direct consequence of a proper customer retention strategy is better customer relationships.

Companies and their marketing teams should work on ways and strategies to work on building a relationship with their customers.

Customers are not just numbers, they are human beings.

As human beings, a good relationship leads to positive outcomes.

Increasing revenues

When you succeed with your customer management, you will ultimately increase your profitability as customers come back to you.

When customers are satisfied, when you’ve given them a good user experience, when you’ve built a strong relationship with them, you can not only retain them but have them buy more from you.

Examples of effective marketing and customer management 

Customer management is critical for the overall success and continued growth of organizations.

In fact, according to Forbes, 90% of CEO’s do believe that managing customers can have a significant impact on their business.

What are some effective customer management strategies companies can employ to improve their customer management?

Let’s look at some customer management strategies that are proven to boost and improve your customer loyalty.

Here are some useful strategies:

  1. Live assistance
  2. Email communications
  3. Tailored landing pages
  4. Interactive content 
  5. Data security 
  6. Omnichannel presence
  7. Automated customer support
  8. Segmentation
  9. Push notification
  10. Influencer partnerships 
  11. Develop a brand image

Let’s look at each of these marketing strategies.

Live assistance

Live assistance is when a company provides assistance to its customers live such as:

  1. Live chats
  2. Live video chat
  3. Co-browsing

More and more companies are using live assistance to improve their customer experience and customer service

According to Aberdeen Group, companies using visual engagement tools showed an 83% increase in annual revenues year on year.

Email communications

Email communication is one of the oldest and most effective ways to directly reach out to customers online.

Think about it, there are 3.8 billion global email users.

A nicely crafted email with personalized content can significantly improve your conversion and overall return on investment. 

Using effective email communication strategies can have a positive impact on your customer relationship.

Tailored landing pages

A landing page is a page designed to quickly convey a message to a prospect and provide them with an easy call-to-action to convert them.

Conversion does not necessarily need to be into a paying customer.

Conversion can be to have a prospect sign-up for a newsletter or fill up an online form.

Ultimately, the goal of a landing page is to convert a website visitor into a lead.

Creating different landing pages to cater to the needs and interests of your customer persona, you can improve your overall conversion.

Interactive content 

Interactive content is gaining in popularity with online users.

Interactive content examples are:

  1. Quizzes
  2. Polls
  3. Surveys
  4. Infographics
  5. Videos
  6. Augmented reality

The idea is to provide your audience with an immersive experience.

This can lead to a much greater level of satisfaction and user experience differentiating you from the competitors.

Omnichannel presence

When we say having an omnichannel presence, we mean that companies should be mindful of all the different types of channels customers and prospects engage with them.

You have online channels, offline channels, social media, email, chat, webinars, mobile apps and more.

Where does your target customer hang out?

What channels appeal to your customers best?

When you identify the best communication channels with your customers and then develop a customer management strategy surrounding that, you can deliver a great experience to your audience when dealing with your business.

Automated customer support

Customers are demanding.

When a customer sends an email, submits a request or asks for something, they expect a quick response.

Automating customer support can help achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction.

Some customer requests are simple, some are complex.

If you can automate the simple ones so your support team focuses on the complex ones, you win and your customers win.

One example of automated support is the use of chatbots

According to Ubisend, 21% of consumers believe that the easiest way to contact a company can be through chatbots.

Segmentation

Marketers love segmentation.

Segmentation is when you look at your audience and classify them into groups based on their preferences, interests or needs.

You can segment your audience based on any variable relevant to your business.

When you segment your audience based on a common variable, you can develop marketing strategies aimed at the group.

According to MailChimp, email marketing campaigns achieve a 14% higher open rates when companies used audience segmentation.

There are CRM systems allowing you to segment your audience so you can tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.

Push notification

Push notification is when a company targets its customers with a message pushed out to them.

In the context of customer management, push notification can be used to promote products and services, provide enticing offers to your customers or engage with potential leads.

Influencer partnerships 

Many brands will partner up with influencers to have them promote and advertise their products and services.

Influencers generally have an important audience following them.

Their audience trusts them and they enjoy a great deal of credibility with them.

Customer management is about developing important relationships allowing you to reach your target audience.

That includes partnering up with influencers.

Develop a brand image

Brand image is how you want to be known to your audience and customers.

Developing a strong brand image can help you solidify your customer relationships.

Companies like Coca Cola and Mercedes-Benz enjoy a brand image and awareness allowing them to build and retain loyal customers for many years.

Successful branding allows businesses to connect with their customers at a deeper level.

Customer management can be achieved through branding and developing a brand image.

CRM and data security 

Businesses operate in a complex global legal environment, particularly with respect to data protection and data security.

You have the GDPR, PIPEDA, CCPA and more requiring companies to protect personal data and information in their possession.

Customer management involves data security.

In other words, your clients should trust that you have taken proper measures to protect their data so they can be comfortable in doing business with you.

According to Centrify and the Ponemon Institute, 65% of people indicated that a data security or data breach incident can make them lose trust in the organization.

A good number of respondents, 27% of them, even reported they will stop doing business with the company.

The selection of a CRM software system should be in consideration of data security and data protection.

Takeaways 

Customer management is defined as the applications, systems and processes used by a company to manage its existing customers and new prospects.

It is commonly referred to as customer relationship management (CRM).

Customer management systems and applications allow you to:

  1. Capture customer data
  2. Research and analyze your customer behaviour
  3. Understand your customers’ buying preferences 
  4. Customer demographics

A well-defined customer management strategy has the following main elements:

  1. Your customers’ journey
  2. Your customers’ user experience 
  3. Personalizing your communications
  4. Managing relationships
  5. Creating opportunities
  6. Managing opportunities 

Furthermore, a comprehensive customer management process can be very effective for companies to generate revenues and make happy customers in the process.

There are five steps in the CRM process:

  1. Generate brand awareness
  2. Acquiring leads
  3. Converting leads into customers
  4. Providing great customer service 
  5. Upsell 

Customer management is crucial to the overall success of a business.

We hope this article helped you in your understanding of customer management.