Nothing makes a business hum like a roster of happy customers. For most small businesses and midsize companies, there is no substitute for building satisfying customer relationships. When you are in sync with your customers, you can develop insights into their requirements, tailor products and services to meet those needs, and create customer loyalty that drives profits.
5 Ways to Leverage Your ERP System to Build Better,Stronger Customer Relationships (Part 1)
While most companies set out on an ERP implementation with visions of efficiency and streamlined operations dancing in their heads, an ERP system is also a killer solution for improving customer service. Because all the transactional data involving every customer and every order resides in a single integrated database, that information can be automatically scoured to give you unprecedented visibility into what’s really going on with your customer. Herte are five strategies for using that information to take customer relationships to a whole new level.
Strategy #1: Know What Customers Want – Even Before They Do. One effective way to engage your customers is to anticipate their needs. When a customer routinely purchases your products, you should be able to identify patterns in buying behavior. From these patterns you can determine which actions to take to optimize customer satisfaction. For example, if a customer often orders 50 new widgets at the beginning of each quarter, you should have those products in inventory to meet his or her needs. If a new quarter begins and the customer doesn’t place the usual order, your sales team should contact the customer. A sales representative can offer to fill the regular order, meet any new product needs, or address previously unrecognized service or satisfaction problems. By working proactively, your company can drive sales and perhaps prevent your customer from taking business to a competitor.
An ERP system can help you not only fulfill current needs but also predict future requirements. You can use an ERP solution to gain a better understanding of which goods customers purchase, the timing and frequency of their purchases, and the profitability of each customer. A solution that provides a 360-degree view of the customer account – including sales, marketing, and service interactions – can help you manage customer value and deliver differentiated service. Software can recommend next-best offerings for your customers and personalize these offerings based on marketing profiles or target groups.
Strategy #2: Maximize Up-Sell and Cross-Sell Opportunities. It’s important to recognize opportunities to sell higher-quality products or complementary products that might benefit your customer. Imagine that you regularly sell components of a certain grade to a manufacturer. Your sales representative can promote an upgraded version of those components that could improve your customer’s product.
By presenting the benefits of this upgrade, the sales rep can clearly demonstrate your company’s commitment to your customer’s success. The same approach applies to complementary products or replacement goods. A customer who routinely purchases a product from you may be pleased to learn of items that could increase the value of the original purchase. With an ERP solution you can identify goods sold to a customer that are nearing the end of their expected lifetime so that your representatives can proactively offer replacement items. In taking this step, your company may prevent the customer from experiencing unnecessary downtime.
Concluded in Part 2