Posted on 6 September, 2017  |  3 mins

Welcome to the next post in our customer happiness series. Last week, we started to explore why customer relationships matter and we focussed on saving your customers time—and putting more of it back into your own day while you're at it.

This week, we're studying relationships. We all know that relationships are important—in life and in business—but how do you manage those important people connections when running your business is already so time-consuming?

Cloud-based business apps can help. At 9 Spokes, we single out the best apps to help you meet your customer needs. After all, making your customers happy can impact all areas of your business. Satisfied customers spend more and continue to support the businesses that they love. So, let’s take a look at how you can better manage these important connections.

The art of customer communication

It can take anywhere from five to 25 times more effort and money to attract new customers than it does to keep the ones you already have1. The reality is that happy customers come back, and so investing in those relationships is crucial to business success.

We hear you! 44% of small business owners like you tell us that they wish it was easier to manage customer relationships. A big part of that is communication, and sending electronic direct mail (EDM), is one of the best ways to stay connected. The good news? There are some great business apps make it simpler and more effective to do.

For simple, effective marketing communication, we recommend MailChimp—an intuitive cloud-based app that makes it easier to design and send beautiful emails to your customers. MailChimp has tonnes of customisable email templates for an out-the-box professional feel that also matches your brand. Being cloud-based, MailChimp stores your favourite layouts and data so you don’t have to recreate the wheel with each new email.

We suggest small business owners take advantage of powerful customer-focussed automation tools, which save you time so you can focus on other aspects of your business. Marketing automation make it easy to stay connected. By using simple to set-up features, you can rest assured that your customers get communication that makes them feel valued. Automation also helps to personalise your communications to talk to your customers just like you do.

Cloud-apps make email customisation easy, by taking the information that your customers securely provide through self-service and feeding it back to them. When a customer opts in for your mailing list or completes a transaction, you have their information and can use automation and short-codes to interact with them as people, not numbers. While it might sound confrontingly complicated at first, we assure you it's not—an intuitive user interface makes it extremely manageable for all skill levels. 

Another great way to improve customer happiness is by talking to your customers and finding out what they think. MailChimp allows you to integrate a simple survey into your electronic mail-outs so you can easily get customer feedback. You can also automatically send a customer satisfaction survey when someone completes a purchase, through eCommerce integration. Let your customers tell you how to make them happy, and then your next step will be to listen.

Once you start sending EDMs (electronic direct mail), monitor your success quickly and easily with your free 9 Spokes data dashboard. Our Campaign Widget displays your recent EDM campaigns and lists the name of the campaign, open rate and click-through rate. It also displays an average open and click-through rate across your EDM campaigns over the past 12 months, so you can see which have been most effective and start replicating what works.

Customer relationship management apps for business

We can't talk about managing customer relationships without mentioning their namesake tools: customer relationship management (CRM) apps.

A CRM is a centralised place to store and manage customer information. While much can get lost in translation between your sales, business development or support teams, your CRM keeps everything you need to know about your clients in one place, so knowledge is stored and not forgotten.

We recommend looking at the customer apps side of our app marketplace. Here you'll find CRM tools like Capsule and Exsalerate that offer specific ways to help you control and manage your customer relationships. Take a look and see which are the best fit for your business. If you're still unsure, both offer free trials, so you can give the tools a go before paying any money.

Once connected to apps like Capsule, your 9 Spokes dashboard will show you easy-to-read business information, like your sales conversion rate and how many of your total leads your teams have won throughout the year. Knowing that, you can make better leadership decisions to grow your business on the back of happy, engaged customers.

Missed any part of our customer happiness series?

Learn more about customer happiness with 9 Spokes

1. https://hbr.org/2014/10/the-value-of-keeping-the-right-customers

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