Written by   |   Oct 12 2020   |   Read 97 times

Cultivating strong customer relationships is vital for every business no matter what the circumstances are in the world at the time. That means it's doubly important in our current climate. As the cascading impacts of the coronavirus take hold of our economic landscape, dedicating time, and resources into high-conversion relationships with your new and existing customers is an absolute necessity.

So how do you develop and maintain those relationships? By staying organised and efficient with how you manage all customer data — from their contact information to your relationship history. A key asset to aid in doing that successfully is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Research shows that CRM systems are "among the top three tools and technologies for creating personalised interactions with customers to foster loyalty and better marketing ROI."

That's why it's critical to identify a CRM solution that works best for you and your business. As companies adjust and adapt to this new environment, we are seeing a demand spike for our services. With Act! CRM a product-rich, affordable CRM solution for small businesses, providing online as well as offline access with local support as well.

Let's take a closer look at the post-COVID-19 outlook for Act! CRM and the role it can play for a business looking to continue building strong customer relationships during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

The Effects of COVID-19

First, it's important to set our baseline as to what the effects of COVID-19 have been on companies' ability to do business. It's been an unprecedented time in which businesses have had to reconsider how they operate in many ways. The principles remain unchanged, however, and it's still critical to maintain solid customer relationships.

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance and value of customers. This has given companies an opportunity to re-evaluate customer care, customer satisfaction, and a company's customer journeys. In a time of economic peril, how can we help our customers weather the storm and demonstrate that we'll continue to provide the same great levels of service for them? Lean economic times means taking drastic steps to convert and retain the customers you have attracted.

Another effect of COVID-19 has been the shift to digital communication. Lockdown orders across the nation and world have rendered face-to-face interaction nearly impossible. With this in mind, businesses have pivoted to utilising remote forms of communication and collaboration such as video conferencing or cloud software. This makes it easier for a company's internal team members to stay connected while working from home. That means that even if they're outside the office, team members can use these digital communication tools and their CRM to stay on top of their customers. They'll know what stage the customer is in, who is looking after them, and what the proper next step to take is.

Finally, the absence of one-on-one meetings with customers combined with the shift to remote work has freed up time for many members of your team. That's why it's an important time to focus on being responsive and supportive to your customers. Invest time into practices that will encourage customer retention rather than marketing efforts meant to attract more customers. Customers are at a premium right now, and maintaining the customers you have should be at the top of your list.

How business with existing CRM are re-evaluating their systems

Businesses have now had time to respond and react to the ongoing pandemic. As they settle into this new reality for the foreseeable future, they're re-evaluating how their CRM is serving them. The "new normal" means they may have shifting needs from their CRM.

For one, it's essential for any CRM to have remote deployment options, ensuring it has the same capability to be used remotely as it would from an office. Act! CRM has multiple deployment options that encourage flexibility in the user experience. Act! CRM is unique in that it is one of the few CRM solutions to provide its users with cloud, on-premise, and hybrid solutions. This decreases the reliance on the end user's internet connection and speed.

Businesses are also examining their CRM to ensure it has all the features they need. For example, cultivating strong customer relationships is about timing and precision. You'll need to know when you need to contact a customer and when you do, what information to give them at whatever stage of the process they're currently in. A marketing automation tool can help you in knowing when to reach out to your customer and with what content you should be giving them. With Act! CRM, you have the option to add in a fully integrated Marketing Automation system.

Cost is another major factor. It's always important to monitor your budget, of course, but it's particularly crucial during times of economic hardship. Many CRM systems are becoming more expensive due to the U.S. dollar losing value in places like Australia. This can make budgets harder to predict, throwing off months of calculations due to economic volatility. That gives a leg up to CRM systems that can reduce this instability. One of the advantages of Act! CRM is that it has a fixed price for customers in Australia and New Zealand. That translates to increased stability for customers — they can rest assured knowing that no exchange rate changes will impact their expenses or, ultimately, their bottom line. They'll be able to receive the same great value without worrying about costs increasing.

Another unfortunate reality for many businesses is that layoffs may occur which leads to staff turnover. This makes a CRM system an even bigger part of an organisation's business continuity. The CRM helps the business maintain all information on their relationship with a specific customer. When an employee leaves, they won't take all customer data with them due to the CRM.

Respond to uncertainty by strengthening your customers' relationships

Yes, it's a time of great uncertainty not just for businesses, but for society as a whole. But that just means it's the time to fortify your relationships with your customers with the assistance of a versatile, easy-to-use platform. Act! CRM helps you stay flexible in how you access customer data while informing you of the status of the relationship and the next steps to take.

So what are you waiting for? If you're a small or mid-size business, Act! CRM is a tool that can guide you through the process of establishing better relationships with your customers. For more on how we can help, contact us today!

Cate Dempsey

As Managing Director, Cate Dempsey manages the strategic direction of the business along with the day to day management of the core team for Act Today.

Starting as CRM Consultant in 2001, Cate has an inside view of what clients need and want when it comes to CRM. Cate is able to bring her client facing experience into the strategy and decision making process, enabling Act Today to be very focused on customer experience and satisfaction.

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