Steps To Enhance Your CRM and Customer Experience Strategy

By: Stephan Miller - Guest Contributor on September 27, 2023
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Businesses across industries are now focusing to leverage the evolving landscape of customer relationship management (CRM) and customer experience (CX). To stay ahead of their competitors, they must align customer needs with organizational capabilities using advanced technology.

While artificial intelligence tools help businesses create CX and CRM strategies, businesses can serve their customers’ personalized demands by ensuring a solid correlation between CRM and CX strategy.

In this article, we'll explore some actionable steps you can take to align your CRM and customer experience strategies seamlessly. We’ll help you draw an effective approach to assess your business’s current state, identify technological gaps, and prioritize improvements.

What is an aligned CRM and customer experience strategy?

Customer satisfaction and loyalty have always reigned supreme in business, but heightened competition has increased their importance, especially because customers can choose from abundant businesses offering quality data-driven insights. You must align your customer relationship management and customer experience strategy to maintain a strong hold on your potential customers. 

Customer relationship management isn’t limited to collecting details about your customers and interacting with them. It’s a multifaceted business strategy designed to optimize revenue and profitability, which requires close collaboration among departments. CRM prioritizes customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Consequently, an effective CRM strategy aims to foster customer relationships that go beyond transactions and nurture connections for sustained success.

Customer experience, on the other hand, is a holistic discipline that dives deep into the complexities of customer interactions and perceptions. It seeks to connect the dots in the customer's journey, understanding what happens at each stage and why and how it impacts the brand’s reputation. It is a collective effort where every team, from product development to sales, plays a crucial role in ensuring a positive user experience.

Despite their distinct nature, your CRM and CX strategy should collaboratively shape your business’s framework to success. Without aligning these strategies, your efforts may appear disjointed, leading to inconsistencies and missed opportunities. When they are harmonized, however, each interaction becomes purposeful and impactful.

By aligning your CRM and CX strategies, businesses can better satisfy their customers, turning them into advocates who can help build your brand’s reputation. While you are working to enhance your CRM and CX strategies, it is crucial to bridge the gap between customer expectations and your business's operational capabilities. Still, not many businesses know how to do that.

How to adapt and align your CRM and customer experience strategies

The success of your customer CRM and customer service strategies hinges on their ability to align with your customer’s demands and organizational capabilities. Crafting a customer journey that resonates across touchpoints requires a holistic approach where CRM and CX strategies blend seamlessly.

How to adapt and align your CRM and customer experience strategies.

Develop foundational strategies

Crafting a customer experience strategy is a collaborative endeavor that needs contribution from the entire organization. Understanding your customer needs, success metrics, and business capabilities is crucial to creating the roadmap for your customer experience strategy. Designing your CX strategies involves in-depth research into your customer base, desires, pain points, and preferences and using these discoveries to create an effective plan.

Understanding your customer will help you identify the core competencies and technology required to realize your CX and CRM aspirations. Once you know the tools you will need to implement your strategy, it is also important to come up with metrics that you’ll use to gauge the effectiveness of your efforts and provide insights for further refinement.

Evaluate multiple strategies

Once you've created a foundational strategy for aligning CRM and CX, it's time to evaluate multiple strategies to find the one that best fits your organizational goals.

Within CRM and customer strategies, vendor evaluation and selection can be challenging. As the choice of CRM software or customer experience software can influence all your strategies, it is important to consider the concept of a CRM and CX-centric product profile.

A CRM and CX-centric product profile optimizes digital customer experience by focusing on understanding customers' needs, preferences, and behaviors and using this information to deliver personalized, seamless experiences across all touchpoints. CRM systems collect data, which provides a 360-degree view of a business’s customer, and it can be used to enhance their experience. Customer Experience Management (CXM) goes beyond CRM by implementing processes to track, oversee, and orchestrate customer interactions and engagements.

Implement and deliver planned strategy

Once you’ve finalized the strategy, you can focus on creating and adopting a customer-centric approach to execute it. Every business decision must resonate with the overall goal of providing an experience that aligns with your customers' needs. This necessitates forgetting the rules of legacy CRM implementations. CRM product portfolio implementations must be considered across the enterprise, transcending the confines of traditionally isolated silos. The benefits of a well-integrated CRM system extend beyond individual departments. CRM implementation is a holistic endeavor that ensures a consistent and seamless customer experience.

By adopting an enterprise-wide mindset, your organization can cultivate an environment that encourages collaboration. Departments can easily share insights and expertise and contribute to developing an in-depth understanding of customer needs and behaviors, which enables crafting strategies that are tuned to the customer journey.

Monitor and evolve the strategy 

Enterprise-wide CRM and CX initiatives extend beyond the implementation phase. Businesses should encompass a philosophy of perpetual evolution and enhancement. The core concept is continually updating and modernizing customer-facing technologies and operation processes to stay aligned with the ever-changing customer expectations.

Whether it's your website, mobile app, or customer service platform, customer-facing technologies are the instruments your customers use to interact with your brand. Hence, they require constant attention and refinement to deliver engaging experiences. Behind every customer interaction lies the operational processes that control the seamless flow of information and services. Keeping these up to date ensures your organization's workflows are synchronized, building customer trust.

Key considerations and best practices

As you design new CRM and customer experience strategies for your business, it's important to understand that you are navigating a dynamic environment that requires continuous refinement. To help you further, here are some best practices to improve your efforts to resonate with your audience effectively.

  • Holistic data integration: To extract truly valuable and accurate insights, your strategies need seamless data flow across different departments and software systems within the organization. This will foster a deep understanding of customer behavior and preferences.

  • Measure, analyze, and optimize consistently: Regularly evaluate CRM performance and customer experience metrics, such as website traffic, sales conversion rates, and Net Promoter Score (NPS), to identify areas of improvement.

  • Personalize customer interactions: Tailor communication and marketing efforts based on customer preferences, needs, and behavior.

  • Embrace an omnichannel mindset: Provide a seamless and consistent experience across all customer touchpoints, both online and offline.

  • Provide employee training: Ensure employees are well-trained to use the CRM software and understand its benefits.

  • Implement a continuous feedback loop: Collect and analyze customer feedback to find improvement areas. This can be achieved through online survey tools, direct customer interactions, and feedback forms on your website.

  • Use social listening: Monitor social media channels to gain insights into customer sentiment and preferences.

  • Automate repetitive tasks: Use the automation features of your CRM to ensure important tasks are not overlooked. You can also automate repetitive tasks to save time that you can spend on more important customer-facing tasks.

Next steps

Harmonizing CRM and customer experience is pivotal to balancing business growth and customer satisfaction. This journey necessitates smooth alignment between your customers' needs, organizational capabilities, and technologies. As a CRM and customer experience leader, you should aim to offer personalized customer experiences and relevant interactions. Your next step is to harness the insights shared above and act accordingly.