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Web News & Tips - Issue #255

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Web News & Tips
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7 Bits Of Critical Information You Can't Afford NOT To Know About Your Customers

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7 Bits Of Critical Information You Can't Afford NOT To Know About Your Customers

By Lora Adrianse

If you think customer relationship management is just a piece of software, you're dead wrong. Customer relationship management is about understanding your customers. It's about really knowing them as individuals, knowing what they mean to your business, and most of all, knowing what you need to do to keep their business.

Ideally, you need a profile for each of your customers. Most customers will gladly give you the information you need especially if there is a small incentive. Offer them a coupon, a special discount, a gift certificate or even movie passes.

What do you need to include in the profile? Other than personal information, data you track can be as detailed or as simple as you can manage. The key point is to use a process or system. Here are some basic categories of things you want to know for sure:

Customer Value - How much do they spend with you in a month or a year?

Top 10 or 20 Percent - Who are the top 10 or 20 percent of your most valuable customers? These are your "gold" customers. Know who they are and treat them accordingly!

Why They Choose You - Why do they keep doing business with you? If you're not sure about what you're doing right, how will you know what to keep doing? Ask them!

Where They Came From - How did they find you? If you know where they came from you can go back for more customers just like them!

Who They Brought With Them - What new business have they brought you? Who have they referred you to? Referrals are like automatic deposits in your bank account. Find out who is making the deposits!

How You Thanked Them If you don't currently use a simple system to thank your customers, start now! Customers who feel appreciated are easier to retain, and better yet they will reciprocate with referrals. 

Deal Breakers - This is the most overlooked bit of critical data. If you've lost customers or just haven't seen them in a while (and it happens to all of us), find out what's going on. Most customers will welcome the opportunity to tell you, especially if something went wrong. What you don't know can hurt you! 

Now, compile the information, keep it up to date, review it regularly, and use it to manage your customer relationships. A simple spreadsheet, database may work just fine for a smaller business. The objective is to collect enough information and data that you can use to understand how they are important to your business. It's the same concept retailers and buying clubs use in issuing customer cards. They use the information to track customer value, buying habits, etc.

Too busy to spend your time collecting information about your customers? Think again! 

If you're serious about competing in today's business climate, it's time to start strategically managing your customer relationships. After all, your relationships with your customers are your business.

Author's URL:
Lora Adrianse is passionate about inspiring the enrichment of growth and development in others. During her 28-year corporate career her most gratifying accomplishments included leadership development, customer/vendor relationship management, mentoring and training. Today, as the owner of Essential Connections, she is a catalyst for clients who aspire to achieve extraordinary results. She is the coach of choice for people who desire to unleash their potential and maximize their personal and professional development. She can be reached through her website

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Web News

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More than one-third (38.9 percent) of companies that participated in a collaborative study by the CMO Council, BtoB Magazine, USA Today, and Responsys would give their marketing departments a grade of "C" or below in terms of how well they understand sophisticated digital marketing. The survey of more than 400 top marketing decision- makers in North America revealed that while strides are being made online, there is still considerable room for improvement. 

If soaring Web traffic driven by Super Bowl 2004 ads on game day is any indication, sex lives are blooming, music lovers are (legally) downloading and taxpayers are filing all over America. 

Traffic to, an erectile dysfunction drug site, rose 1,868 percent, Apple iTunes traffic jumped 593 percent and saw a 258 percent increase in traffic, according to a comScore Networks survey of the top traffic-gaining sites. 

Charities and employees may become the beneficiaries of a mass PC upgrade among corporations in 2004, spurred by the increasing demands of new applications and implementations of regularly scheduled replacement cycles. A Dell-sponsored ITtoolbox survey of more than 500 global business IT decision-makers during January 2004 revealed that nearly three-quarters plan to replace personal computers and nearly half plan to replace laptops over the coming year. 

How many clicks does it take to satisfy a customer? Just 4.6, according to a survey from the e-tailing group, inc. that examined the average response and fulfillment times of 100 online merchants in 15 consumer categories during the fourth quarter of 2003. While the holiday season is the busiest time for e-tailers, e-tailing group president Lauren Freedman believes the survey results are on par with the rest of the year. 

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