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Get Back to the Basics: A CRM Approach

IGet Back to the Basics: A CRM Approach
March 03, 2016 Matt Keenan Jump to Comments
Get Back to the Basics: A CRM Approach

Remember “back in the day” when we actually knew dates and phone numbers by heart, read a physical map for directions or even stopped and paid a quarter to use the payphone. Thanks to digital disruption – a term coined by Forrester Research, all of this information is now at our fingertips. The phrase “back in the day” seems irrelevant because we are living fast and in the moment, always one step ahead. Technology can help us to make smarter, timelier decisions.

However, sometimes our fast-paced, digitally advanced lifestyles can create quite a bit of noise and distraction. The distraction takes away from our attention span and before we know it, we’re subconsciously moving on to the next step before even finishing the last one. As a consumer, we know we do this. As a seller on the other hand, we need to think about slowing down. That doesn’t mean get rid of distracting technology. It means understand how to use technology to your advantage with your target demographic and get back to the basics with your customers. It means ensuring that the customer experience is consistent and fluent across customer touch points. How do you get attention and attract people to your community and/or your website? Once they’re there, how do you keep them interested? You may have the tools, but consistency is the key. 

Identify your customer touch points

It is critical to recognize your customer touch points by tracking your customer journey and determining the key touch points where customers connect with your brand. While there’s no one-size-fits-all list of touch points, it’s important to include points across all channels. Here is a set of examples for home builders:

Before Purchase During Purchase After Purchase
Social media Website Billing
Word of mouth Open house opportunities Service calls
Community involvement Promotions Follow ups
Advertising/Marketing/PR Phone/Email interaction Handwritten thank you notes

Identifying key customer touch points and staying consistent each time provides a user experience that your buyers can appreciate. To identify the touch points that make sense for your brand, take a second to step out of your role and into the customer’s shoes. When you walk yourself through the customer’s journey and understand the total customer lifecycle – attract, sell, service[1] - all the pieces should become pretty clear.

The easy customization capabilities of a modern CRM system can be a blessing and a curse. As simple as it is to tailor the software to a company’s unique sales process, it’s equally easy to pollute the database with data fields and expect sales reps to capture everything from a customer’s dog’s name to his favorite college football team. Once you throw in the fields that marketing and customer service organizations want to track as well, you’ll end up inundating your sales reps with a data entry nightmare they’re sure to avoid. Instead, follow these simple guidelines and let your salespeople get back to what’s most important – selling.

  • ·What is the data you will use?
  • ·How will you use that data?
  • ·Understand why you’re collecting each piece of data (and if it serves no purpose, get rid of it).

Understand what you want the end customer experience to be

Each brand has a different target audience and offers a different customer experience. Maybe you’re selling a quite home in a retirement community or showing a five bedroom, three bath family home in the suburbs. Maybe you’re selling a studio loft in the heart of the city. Each market requires a different experience. They key is consistency –

  • 1.Know who you are
  • 2.Understand what touch points reinforce who you are
  • 3.Train, motivate, and reward your sales people for living who you are

Gartner analyst, Brian Prentice’s report Applying Digital humanism to Customer Experience Design, published May 12, 2015 suggests that “chances are that the customer would share more information with the employee than the organization as a whole. The opportunity for an organization is to apply digital workplace strategies to empower its staff to create connections with its customers that are impossible without meaningful connections existing between people.”

Finally, please take a minute to slow down

It’s no longer “back in the day”, it’s the twenty-first century and digital disruptions aren’t going anywhere. Don’t fight against technology to stand out, work with it instead. Use technology to understand the customer life-cycle but add in a few simple, personal touches along the way, like a quick follow-up phone call rather than a standard email or maybe even a handwritten thank you note. It may be important to know the name of your customer’s dog or their favorite college football team but I would argue that it is more important to create separation from the noise by differentiating yourself. It’s important is to slow down and know what will give your customer an experience that will not only encourage them to spread the word, but will also have them coming back. 

To view Matt Keenan's originally published article on the For Residentail Pros website, please click here. 


[1] Help your buyer find their dream home with a tailored customer experience| Residential Pros, Matt Keenan, Feb 9, 2015

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