We like to think of customer relationship management (aka CRM) strategy as something new. But even in medieval times, merchants and tradespeople used strategy to better connect with their customers. Medieval merchants would use location to find the right customers — think of horse dealers at the city gate, or book merchants by the cathedral. Coming from the East, merchants in China realized they could find new customers for their tea, porcelain, and spices by using a road to other lands. Today, CRM strategy centers around the accumulation and analysis of data.
While our early merchant ancestors kept customer data in their brains and in some simple ledgers, modern businesses store their data in the cloud. Because of this technology, we have an abundance of data. CRM strategy now focuses on surfacing and interrogating this data for insights. Questions like “What is the next action I can take to close a sale?” or “Which customers are most likely to attrit?” are often what businesses are asking. And these are certainly great questions to ask!
Yet, often the questions businesses ask of their data are focused inward and aren’t about adding value to the customers themselves. The next step in a great CRM strategy comes from helping partners and customers use data to help themselves.
The basics of Salesforce Experience Cloud
In the Salesforce world, the key to empowering customers with data insights is Experience Cloud. Previously known as Salesforce Community Cloud, Salesforce Experience Cloud is all about delivering beautifully branded digital experiences for your customers. For most businesses, this usually means things like:
- Enabling customers to track the status of their orders.
- A place for customers to get customer service, either through self-service options or interacting with a customer service agent.
- A community, where customers can ask questions and share experiences in a public forum.
- Content and information about new, relevant product offerings and events.
These are all great features, but they are also becoming table stakes for Experience Cloud. The following are three benefits of Experience Cloud and how to take it to the next level.
Personalize by connecting data
Collected customer data is often augmented with other sources, like Experian or Acxiom. Businesses should use insights gained from this data to give Experience Cloud a personalized experience. Offering customers personalized deals and incentives, previews of new products based on past experience, and other personalized interactions makes Experience Cloud uniquely beneficial to the customer and the customer service agents engaging them. When a customer feels known and understood, their loyalty increases.
Give the customer a three-way mirror with a view of themselves
We have all heard of the importance of the 360-degree view. Perhaps the most important benefit of a 360-degree view of the customer is that it provides the ability to deliver more personalized buying experiences. But the 360-degree view should not only be a benefit to the vendor; the customer should also be able to see the 360-degree view of themselves. This transparency will build trust and allow the customer to understand their business in ways they didn’t before.
Build trust through security and transparency
Customers need to know you take their security and privacy seriously. A good way to do this is to continually inform them of the steps you are taking to secure their data. Use algorithms to show them where potential points of failure exist through a clear report card. Be transparent with any security breaches and allow them to see the steps that are being taken.
So where to begin with Salesforce Experience Cloud?
Experience Cloud implementations can be very simple or very complex, depending on the experience you are trying to give your customers. Salesforce Trailhead has many good examples and information about the basics of setting up Experience Cloud. But whether getting started or extending your Experience Cloud capabilities, it’s useful to have a Salesforce partner that knows Experience Cloud and understands your goals.
Of course, the important thing when starting an Experience Cloud implementation is to listen to your customers. Get an understanding of what it’s like to do business with your firm. Some of the answers may surprise you. Then, armed with these pain points, start building a roadmap for features and rollouts. As you continue your journey into Experience Cloud, make sure to get constant feedback from your customers. This is a huge opportunity to gain trust and build deeper relationships with them.
Learn more about our Salesforce Experience Cloud consulting services.