Measuring Customer Relationship Success

by , Feb 14, 2012, 6:50 AM
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Metrics.

They’re important to every marketer, and becoming even more so. We can only understand what we can measure, and we can only measure what we can provide analytics for.

That’s all well and good when you’re talking about the obvious metrics that most e-marketers want to measure and analyze. How many website visits? How many click-throughs? Where did this prospect come from? What’s the search ROI? Which ads are providing the most conversions?

We've all come to accept that creating customer loyalty is an integral part of any ecommerce strategy and focus. And we all have an idea of how to create that loyalty … we even know, in general, what criteria are critical for CRM success.

These factors include:

  • An understanding of who the customer is, and what the customer wants and needs from your company;
  • A strategy that includes documented milestones, dates, and persons responsible;
  • A focus on customer satisfaction that will led to eventual acquisition through the creation of company enthusiasts and evangelists;
  • A strategy that integrates the roles of everyone on the CRM team and beyond as necessary;
  • The creation and implementation of customer-experience objectives;
  • Metrics to measure success, along with data to support the metrics and processes in place to respond to them.

All of this makes sense: we all know what customer satisfaction looks like, and putting it as an end-goal into a clearly documented CRM strategy is the first step to CRM success. But then we’re back with the original question: how do you go about measuring CRM success?

One way to measure success is through the use of customer surveys. There are a lot of obvious advantages: if you use consistent standardized survey questions, then you know that you’ll be collecting the same information from everyone included in the survey, which is one of the best-practices prerequisites of using analytics.

Unfortunately, the reality is that very few customers really want to fill out questionnaires. That’s understandable: when was the last time you elected to “rate this transaction” or “tell us how we’re doing” online? Your customers probably feel the same way: it’s an imposition on their time and energy.

Sometimes it takes an incentive. Is there something that you can offer them in return for filling out the questionnaire?  Even something simple, like a downloadable PDF of useful tips, a white paper, or a case study can do the trick. And then there’s the truth: the goal is to learn how to better serve your customers, so just tell them so. You care about how they feel, you want to improve your product or service, and you need their help in order to do so. Most consumers are pleased to hear that a company wants to improve its services, and they are willing to respond.

So now that you have a sense of how to get people to fill out your questionnaire, you need to create the instrument itself. What do you need to find out through the questionnaire? It depends on your company, your industry, and your goals, but you may wish to consider including some or any of the following:

  1. quality and speed of service
  2. responses to crises
  3. pricing
  4. complaints/problems
  5. CRM — how well are we connecting with our customers?
  6. types of other services needed
  7. courtesy of CRM team
  8. your positioning in clients’ minds

Another way to measure customer satisfaction is through the use of tools that measure public perception of your company through social media channels. My company has one such tool; there are others that can help measure your company’s reputation online. They can help break down some of the noise coming out of social media channels and provide actionable metrics you can use.

All of these metrics, however, will do you no good if you’re not able to use them to effect positive change within your company. So integrating your metrics into a solid CRM strategy with the components outlined above is what will bring you the ultimate CRM success—that’s measurable!

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