Sometimes sales and service blend in with each other and it’s hard to determine where sales ends and service starts, or the other way around. In an ideal world, every service situation should be a sales opportunity and every sales situation should be an opportunity to provide stellar service but we all know that the reality doesn’t always reflect that.
Keeping track of your CRM system is key to developing new clients but also crucially important when staying in touch with your existing customers. Bad database management can not only lead to lost opportunities it can irritate and annoy customers.
The other week I got a solicitation letter from the bank that holds my mortgage offering to lower my interest rate. Usually, I throw these letters right where they belong – in the garbage. But this was a different case. I’ve been their customer for years and they own my mortgage, so I was intrigued. They should know my account, they certainly know my payment history, they have all my data and information with the exception of my blood-type and my firstborn, so an offer to lower the rate of my existing mortgage has to be real, you’d think, wouldn’t you?
When I called in, the very friendly customer service representative asked me all the questions to verify that I was really the person who I said I was, and that is totally legitimate. What was not cool was the fact that there was no pre-qualification, no initial check that was done to put me on the fast track. It was almost like calling a company that solicited me based on my address, or my credit rating or any other criteria that is publicly available. In essence, it was a cold inquiry call from my end, although I was invited to call in. In my opinion, this was really unacceptable given the fact that I am a customer of theirs.
I mean, come on. You are Bank of … and for the last five years I have been paying my mortgage to you after refinancing to take advantage of low interest rates. So, you should know everything about me and only send me letters with offers if they are actually real and to my advantage.
In the end it turned out that re-financing wouldn’t make any sense at all and I would actually not only NOT save any money, but it would cost me thousands more! This was not only disappointing but very annoying because I had just lost 30 minutes of my time and it left me with an unwanted inquiry on my credit report.
That is what I mean by bad database management. If you solicit existing clients you need to make sure that you tap into all the information that sits right there in your database. I would expect that and so should everybody else.
But here comes the “adding insult to injury” part. The other day I got another letter that was the same content as the original one I had received a couple of weeks ago. Not only couldn’t Bank of … deliver on their offer, they then proceeded to NOT mark their database which resulted in me receiving more letters.
Database management is key to a company’s health and growth. Keeping a clean database and segmenting it so it works to your advantage is an art as much as it is science. Sloppy set-up and spotty record keeping will eventually lead to lost sales opportunities (how do you know when to follow up with whom) and it will leave existing customers/clients disgruntled when they receive offers that treat you like you weren’t a customer to begin with.
It’s just bad business and reflects poorly on your overall brand and image. So, here are my little drops of wisdom. Take the time and set up and manage your CRM as if your business depends on it (actually it kind of does!). And if you can’t, and no one else in your organization can handle that professionally, then spend the money to hire an outside expert to assist you. It’s well worth the investment, and your ROI will astonish you!