CRM has given us the ability to keep track of every customer interaction. By understanding our customers more intimately we can provide them with a better experience. Not just a better experience once, but consistently. Yet why is it that brands find it so difficult to provide a truly personalised experience?

We acknowledge that retailers using leading CRM systems such as Salesforce are able to gather information about past purchases, spending frequency, store and delivery preferences however, it is evident that brands often either fail to remember the reason why they are collecting this data or fail to use it in a relevant way. Which is to enable the R in CRM, the relationship.

Technology can help us to focus on the intimacy that takes place whilst these relationships are being formed but it’s up to us to push what CRM can do for our businesses. Data needs to be surfaced, analysed and used in a way that is meaningful to the retailer and the customer. By putting human interaction at the heart of communication between on and offline communication we cultivate authentic relationships. CRM informs the relationship but doesn’t drive it. It is up to the business and sales associates to capitalise on the opportunity that understanding data has presented. To remain relevant to our customers we need to leverage customer data in the right way. We also need to clear the obstacles that block us from delivering relevant communications.

By surfacing data into the hands of the sales associate through a shop floor app we offer a new level of customer intimacy. This is increasingly important as customers have many ways in which they interact with a brand. For example, it could be in-store in London, or NYC or online in France. Yet the same level of experience is desired by the customer. This experience should be consistently exceptional regardless of geography or which particular sales associate a customer comes into contact with. This is where well-utilised CRM comes into its own. It provides an accurate, global view of each individual customer. Cloud-based CRM systems enable us to use any connected device in any location. This mobilises a marketing force from head office to shop floor.

We also find that great brands recognise that relationships take time to nurture and need two-way interaction to develop. Through personalised communication and marketing outreach each customer interaction is always relevant. This ensures customers are happy and helps retailers to benefit from an increase of up to 25% increase in repeat purchase. In addition, improvements in Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) can be achieved.

“By using behavioural data, such as mobile, desktop, app usage and cross-referencing that with the type of query and response we are able to build a comprehensive picture of how and when customers choose to interact. This depth of knowledge is impossible without CRM and clienteling and in our experience, it is augmented by human interaction”. Matt Lacey, co-founder Proximity Insight

To understand what customers want, we have to support them to be in control of their relationship. Without the choice of different ways to interact with us we will not be able to build a true picture of the preferred communication channel or purchase preference. Over time we build data and through analysis we build understanding. Clienteling platforms such as Proximity Insight leverage customer data to support valuable relationships. We need to make every interaction count to remain relevant.

So, looking forward it is important to consider that you need to find the right approach to communicate with your customer in a meaningful way and whilst you are working out your approach don’t forget to consider what communication will look like if the customer was in control of the relationship…….watch out for some interesting new product features from Proximity Insight in September 2018 which will truly shift the dynamic of customer relationships.