How can we retain customers and win new ones in this global crisis? The answer: They have to trust us. They gain trust when they feel that we understand and respond to them and their needs. Customer Relationship Management is one path to success. We show why.
"Know your customers and their needs": This is one of the most important keys to success in export promotion, for companies and organisations like BSOs alike, when they are dealing with their network of members, partners and customers. But what do we do, when, as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, we can no longer consolidate contacts in face-to-face meetings? How do we build trust when currently we can only communicate through virtual channels?
There is a proven way to success: we have to prove to our clients, partners and member organisations again and again that we know their needs and that we are interested in them.
This requires preparation! On the one hand, everyone in our organisation must be even more active in researching and understanding the needs of our clients. On the other hand, we need to carefully and consistently gather all information we collect and make it easily accessible in one place.
These are two core elements of good Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It is especially important in times of crisis.
Customer Relationship Management is part of the corporate culture
CRM means first of all: genuine interest in customers and partners. And secondly: Actively searching and systematically gathering information about their needs and characteristics. This is why CRM is a decisive element of good management and a strong corporate culture.
When a company lives up to a motivating corporate culture, it is a matter of course that the whole organisation always inquires customers, partners and member organisations about their satisfaction or new needs. It is the rule of the game that we know exactly what we discussed during the last contact, that we congratulate them on their birthday or on a company anniversary, or that we remember a detail in the last conversation: "Were you able to close that contract that was still pending during our last conversation?" Show interest at the beginning of the conversation and it will create a good environment for dialogue!
Let people talk to people
Trust is created and strengthened when it is not companies talking to companies, but people talking to people. If the relationship of trust is institutionalised on corporate level by this good interaction on the personal level, and if it is no longer dependent on individuals alone, then we have created the basis for a lively, profitable and, above all, long-lasting business relationship.
But don’t we agree: Such information must be readily available. Therefore, in the next article we will shed light on how a well-organised CMR system creates value.
Martin Elbel for SIPPO