No matter what industry you serve, the customer experience is at the heart of your business. According to Forbes, 84% of customers say that experience is just as important as the company’s products and services. Case in point, companies that focus on the customer experience see revenue boosts of up to 15% right alongside plunging operational costs.

The customer experience, in turn, is the set of practices that your company employs to help manage relationships with your vendors, your partners up and down the supply chain, and the end client. In years past, customer relationship management (CRM) involved specialized software for keeping track of all your pertinent customer information combined with good, old-fashioned “boots on the ground” customer service.

Naturally, CRM involved a high degree of face time and availability. Unfortunately, COVID-19, alongside a radically changing economy, has upended key elements of the traditional customer experience. Now, customer relationship management is carried out remotely, in a virtual setting. Below are seven tips and tricks for helping you manage your virtual customer relationship activities while maintaining your brand’s reputation.

1. Adapt Your CRM to a Diverse Range of Media Platforms

One thing is for sure: despite COVID-19’s penchant for disruption, technology has risen to the occasion. At the end of 2019, very few people outside of industry professionals could’ve told you what a Zoom meeting was. Now the term is ubiquitous; it is a household name.

2020 gave rise to a virtual pantheon of high-quality alternatives to the Zoom platform. Notable apps include:

  • Google Duo

  • Google Meet

  • Microsoft Teams

  • Bluejeans Meetings

  • GoToMeeting

  • Slack

  • Cisco WebEx

Given the market’s current temperament, the goal isn’t to choose the best one and stick with it; it’s to become fluent in all of them so that you can easily adapt to the needs of your customers.

2. Use Media Effectively to Build Trust

Decreased face-to-face time should not be seen as a detriment but instead leveraged to your company’s advantage. More people than ever utilize the internet to assist with every aspect of their daily lives, and business is no different.

55% of consumers say that brands have addressed COVID-19’s disruption better than their respective governments. Prove them right by focusing your customer management resources on developing marketing efforts that meet the customer where they are in their experience, utilizing rich media like videos, images, and even chatbots to help build customer trust.

Woman working remotely video conferencing outside her home working on customer relationship management (CRM) with her team.

3. Adapt to New Background Noises and Scenes

Disruption is the name of the game. It has been for more than a year. Along with the incredible abilities of Zoom and other video conferencing solutions comes a level of chaos that you and your team cannot always control. Gone are sterile meeting rooms designed to focus conversation and foster calm, polite discourse. At least some of your employees, vendors, and customers are still working from home. Get ready for a steady stream of interruptions. Children calling for their parents. Spouses conducting their own work-related activities. A never-ending meet and greet with everyone’s pets and cats walking across keyboards.

Remote work brings a sense of disarray. To promote effective customer relationship management, you’ve not only got to be prepared for it, you have to be willing to forgive it and embrace the confusion. Think of the interruptions as a way to get to know your customers better.

4. Use Microsoft Platforms to Their Fullest

Microsoft 365 is a mainstay across the business world. To a wider audience, Microsoft is still just the Office suite: Word, Docs, and Powerpoint. However, modern-day iterations of the software are capable of so much more. 

Microsoft 365 includes Microsoft Dynamics, which gives users access to functions such as:

  • Project planning

  • Video chatting and voice calls

  • Conferencing with clients in real-time

  • Shareable task lists

  • Large-scale file-sharing capabilities

Microsoft includes an incredible array of productivity-enhancing apps. Make sure you are utilizing your software platform to the fullest effect in pursuit of CRM.

5. Performing Virtual Tours for Prospective Clients (Including Auditors)

Zoom isn’t just for meetings and sales calls. It’s a way to reach out to potential clients as well. Through the myriad of virtual options out there, you can find new ways to invite your customers to browse your products and operations.

Early into the pandemic, educators and public resources such as museums and zoos figured out a new business strategy by offering virtual tours of their facilities. You can do the same, simulating sales calls and relationship building by giving potential customers a window into your world.

As an ancillary benefit, virtual tours are often safer than on-site tours and can help your company keep audits and regulatory agencies at bay.

6. Value Communication Over Everything

Everything hinges on communication. Unfortunately, new technology has a way of dissuading high-quality communication between an organization’s key stakeholders. It can be challenging to get your entire team on the same page, but it is essential for your continued operations, especially as they relate to CRM.

Good communication revolves around clear expectations and empathy. Societal upheaval is not an easy thing to contend with. Meet your customers where they are, focusing on high-quality interaction. Don’t be afraid to talk to them on a human level by incorporating elements of their personal life as the relationship unfolds.

7. Celebrate the Human Element

Technology lets us achieve incredible things, but it’s not the reason we want to achieve. Do not forget the human element involved with customer relationship management. In the same way that you have to be understanding of interruptions when they arise, you also have to be forgiving of people as they struggle to adapt their workflows in the wake of this economy-changing event.

Throughout your evolving CRM experience, look for ways to temper the rapid proliferation of technology with human interaction, building long-lasting business relationships the old-fashioned way.

Symbia Logistics is the industry leader in logistics and 3PL solutions. For more business trends and news, or to view our full-service offering, please contact us today.