Customer Intelligence and Your CRM image

Usherpa Blog - Customer Intelligence and Your CRM

7/22/2018 - by Amanda McCombs in CRM Essentials

Are you using a customer relationship management, or CRM, platform? Are you gathering customer intelligence, often called CI? Do you have a customer relationship strategy, sometimes known as a CRS? If you’re starting to get lost with all the abbreviations, don’t panic! Today, we’re going to break down what each C-whatever means — and why every single one of them is crucial to your business success.

What is Customer Intelligence?

Despite how it sounds, customer intelligence isn’t a measure of how smart your customers are. (We already know the answer to that one: If they’re your customer, then of course they’re brilliant!) Instead, the phrase refers to the collection and analysis of all kinds of data about your customers. This information can then be used by businesses to create stronger, longer lasting relationships with customers. Without customer intelligence, no business can operate on a truly customer-centric model.

While a CRM platform is capable, at minimum, of storing and organizing information about your customers, customer intelligence systems take that a step further with analysis. After all, what use is that information if you don’t do anything with it? The data stored in your CRM might tell you the “who,” “when,” and “what” of your sales, but it is customer intelligence that attempts to answer the “why.”

Strategizing with Customer Intelligence

When your customer intelligence and your customer relationship manager are brought together, you have all the necessary components of a customer relationship strategy. A standard CRM focuses on facilitating communication with your customers, but without the right understanding of how your customers tick, that communication may still fall flat. Only with both information analysis and consistent interaction can you strategize with maximum effectiveness.

A great customer relationship strategy will address all of these needs:

  • Relationship Formation and Maintenance — The most basic function of a customer relationship strategy is to guide the formation of new relationships, and the maintenance of existing ones. What actions need to be taken in order to build and grow your connections with leads and customers?

  • Customer Support — What happens when your customers have a question or a problem? Your strategy needs to include systems to respond to their concerns in a timely manner, and in such a way that customers feel heard and acknowledged.

  • Data Collection and Analysis — Information needs to be gathered from all customer relations, and then that information needs to be distilled down into useful data.

  • Ongoing Evaluation — When your strategy stagnates, that’s when your strategy fails! You need built-in mechanisms that encourage regular evaluation and are flexible enough for changes, should that evaluation demonstrate that they are needed.

Only at the intersection of customer intelligence and your CRM can a customer relationship strategy effectively address all of these things.

Why Should Loan Officers Care?

When it comes to being a loan officer, the playing field can get pretty crowded. That’s why the key to winning more business, more repeat customers, and more referrals often doesn’t just lie in being a great loan officer — it also lies in building trust and loyalty.

Your leads have plenty of options, so making sure they choose you often comes down to making sure they trust you. Trust comes naturally in a strong relationship, which is why the best loan officers focus so much of their time and energy on building and maintaining relationships. Once you’ve closed a deal, earning customer loyalty can win you repeat business, or even encourage those customers to refer friends and family to you. And loyalty isn’t just for customers! Building loyalty with your business partners can ensure that you’re the first person they think of when they have a referral to pass on.

Your New Number One Priority

What does this have to do with customer intelligence? As it turns out, surveys have shown that “brand experience” drives loyalty more than any other factor. People who have a good experience with your business are more likely to bring you repeat business, spend more money, and refer their friends. In fact, more than 85% of them would even be willing to pay more money for the same service if they know they’re going to get a stellar brand experience. That’s powerful!

To create that positive experience, you need a reliable customer relationship strategy informed by customer intelligence. With data on what makes your customers happy and brings them back for more (as well as data on what turns them off and drives them away), you have greater control over the brand experience you’re delivering. That control translates into loyalty — which of course translates into sales.

Capitalizing On Customer Intelligence

Your CRM can do your business much more good if you involve customer intelligence in the picture. But by that same token, your customer intelligence can’t help much without your CRM. Data is great, but without a system for keeping track of it, you can’t use it effectively. That’s why it’s key that you capitalize on your customer intelligence with the help of the right CRM.

So where do you start? There are three key parts:

  • Customer Relationship Manager — A good CRM will be expansive and flexible enough to store all kinds of data, whether that’s big-picture determinations on lead qualifications, or notes about a customer’s dog’s name. It’s 2018, so your CRM should be working for you even when you don’t log in. That means marketing should be built into your CRM, and fully automated.

  • Customer Intelligence — You need to be collecting information constantly about your customers, and then that information needs to be sorted through and interpreted. Just like your CRM, your methods for customer intelligence should be automated, so you can stay focused on selling.

  • Customer Relationship Strategy — Once you have the first two things, you need to put them together. A customer relationship strategy both utilizes your CRM and your customer intelligence, but also drives their continual upkeep.

Of course, the more seamlessly you can bring parts one and two together, the more easily you can focus on part three. That’s why using a CRM that integrates with your customer intelligence platform can be so helpful in streamlining your strategizing. Usherpa has recently done just that by partnering with Sales Boomerang.

Sales Boomerang takes data mining to the next level, automatically tracking information like unqualified leads that become qualified, or when your past customers are in the market again. When paired with Usherpa, this customer intelligence tool is a real game changer.

It may sound like a lot to stay on top of, but your customers are the core of your business — so shouldn’tall of your most important business concerns have abbreviations that start with the letter C? If you can ensure that your CRM, CI, and CRS fit and function together smoothly, you’ll be creating the kind of brand experience that keeps customers and business partners coming back to you again and again.
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