If you Google, “What is the definition of customer relationship management (CRM)?” here’s what you’ll find: CRM is a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.
Personally, I think this should be prefaced as the “IT definition” of CRM because here at Rasor Marketing Communications, we have a different definition: CRM means treating the client as a partner, anticipating their needs and fulfilling them as best we can.
One of the best ways I’ve found to nurture our client relationships and keep them healthy is to follow my gut and pick up the phone when I think something is “off.” I’m not talking about regular check-ins with the client (you are having those, aren’t you?) or when there are immediate issues to address such as printing problems or a reporter on a deadline – it goes without saying that at those instances, you pick up the phone and call your client. I’m talking about those times when an email string has reached epic proportions or you hang up from a conference call and sense that the team may be headed into the Swamp of Confusion.
Picking up the phone to talk with your client shows that you care about your partnership, that you’re on top of the situation and that you’re willing to take the time to make sure little problems don’t become large ones.
If your gut is telling you to call today, don’t wait to address it. Today it could be a headache; tomorrow it could be a raging migraine if left unchecked. Check in with your client to fact gather, acknowledge that there is an issue or concern, and get a feel for what their expectations are for a solution.
For other great ways to build long-lasting client relationships, check out tips from this Forbes article:
- There’s no such thing as over-communicating
- Be a useful resource
- Be honest at all times
- Always meet your deadlines
- Eliminate surprises
- Think of clients as more than just “clients”
- Reward your loyal clients
- Have a vision of partnership