Client Relationship Management: the secret to long-term relationships

A business is nothing without its customers – but how to keep them devoted?
Get to know the power of Client Relationship Management. 

Customer loyalty garners considerable buzz—and for good reason. Building a base of repeat customers is far less costly than acquiring new ones, making it a pivotal goal for any business. Yet, despite its importance, loyalty remains notoriously elusive; it’s difficult to define, challenging to measure, and even harder to achieve. Years might be spent perfecting tools, designing processes, and assembling a top-tier team, only to find the pinnacle of consumer connection frustratingly just beyond grasp. 

The difficulty lies in the ever-evolving nature of consumer expectations and the complex dynamics of trust and satisfaction. As markets shift and new trends surface, maintaining and measuring loyalty becomes akin to aiming at a moving target: always changing and perpetually out of reach. Traditional market KPIs like customer satisfaction surveys and Net Promoter Scores provide some insight, but they often miss the breadth and depth of true loyalty. 

The secret to unlocking loyalty lies in forging a relationship that transcends transactions—a bond that resonates with customers on a deeper level. But how can a business effectively manage and enhance every interaction with every customer? Dive deeper into the strategies that drive successful Client Relationship Management to find out. 

What is Client Relationship Management? 

Client Relationship Management is a set of processes and practices to manage their company-client relationships. It includes every interaction between a business and their customers (or potential customers), starting at the very first contact with the brand. Tracking sales, leads, opportunities, marketing campaigns and past communications are all part of Client Relationship Management. Another, perhaps more useful, definition could be that Client Relationship Management is about Building Relationshipswhich goes far beyond admin tools and focuses on providing personalised service, understanding and meeting customer needs. 

Customer Relationship Management may take on different forms for diverse kinds of business, or even for different sized companies, but in the end it all comes down to one single thing: building trust and loyalty. 

Why is Client Relationship Management important? 

Client Relationship Management is extremely important for companies because it allows businesses to create meaningful relationships with customers.  

Customer Retention

Let’s face it, in a world with 8 billion people, chances are your product or service is not unique, or in other words: you have competition. Sometimes the difference between two businesses isn’t exactly on the product or service itself, but on the relationship that business foster with their customers. Besides, acquiring new clients is expensive, more expensive than retaining existing ones – in fact, several studies and reports point to anywhere between five and twenty five times more. A good Client Relationship Management strategy allows businesses to turn one-time buyers into repeat customers, increasing customer retention rates. 

Customer Satisfaction

Happy customers become repeat customers, and repeat customers become loyal – the kind that not only chooses your business but also actively advocates for and recommends your business to others. A Client Relationship Management allows businesses to nurture this cycle of “happy, repeat” by employing tools and processes such as customer data analysis, or targeted lead nurturing strategies to deliver exceptional customer journeys 

Increased Sales

On the one hand, a solid Client Relationship Management can help your business identify sales opportunities and better pursue leads and close deals, thus increasing sales. On the other, satisfied customers spend more, and loyal customers are the top spenders. A Client Relationship Management strategy can help businesses increase their sales by helping foster meaningful relationships with customers and turn these relationships into long-term affairs. 

How to implement Client Relationship Management  

Implementing a Client Relationship Management strategy offers a multitude of advantages that ultimately propelling businesses towards long-term success. But how can you implement a Client Relationship Management strategy the right way? There are a few best-practices to keep in mind. 

Gather Quality Data

Great Client Relationship Management requires great data. Most of this data comes from different sources (sales records, marketing campaigns, customer support interactions) and is spread over several channels (online store, social media, email). It is important to ensure data is both relevant and accurate – and while the former can be achieved via some sort of data cleansing to eliminate duplicates and residuals, who better than the customers themselves to ensure data accuracy? 

What to do 

  • Gather contact information, purchase history, preferences, and past interactions – keeping privacy settings and GDPR in mind 
  • Normalize your databases, especially if they are spread across different comms channels 
  • Regularly clean and update your databases 
  • Encourage your customers to provide up-to-date information through user-friendly self-service options. 

Track Key Metrics

Don’t just collect data – put it to use! Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer satisfaction scores, sales conversion rates, lead nurturing engagement, and monitor them regularly in order to assess the effectiveness of your strategy and to identify areas for improvement. 

What to do 

  • Focus on top key metrics and update them regularly (daily or weekly) 
  • Set clear goals for each metric and track deviations 
  • Make sure every team member is focused on the same KPIs and share progress with the team 

Build Personalise Experiences

Customization enhances customer experiences and fosters connection between client and brand. With data on customer behaviour and preferences, businesses can tailor their communication to be more relevant and valuable to individual clients, for example in the form of targeted email marketing campaigns, personalised product recommendations, or even customised service offerings based on specific needs.  

What to do 

  • Map the existing customer experience step-by-step, including every interaction with the brand 
  • Identify the points in the customer experience where it the cost / impact of customization is greater 
  • Ask for first-hand client feedback actively through surveys, reviews or even one-on-one conversations, to understand what expectations they have 
  • Brainstorm ideas to customize customer experience with your team 
  • Implement and evaluate customer satisfaction 

Strive for Exceptional Customer Service

Every business says they focus on the Customer. But what does it mean? Great service starting point is solving issues in a way that is satisfactory to the client but it is also about creating great experiences customers won’t forget. Consistent and high-quality customer service ensures customers have a positive experience when interacting with the company, and this fosters organic growth.  

What to do 

  • Identify recurring issues and train staff on how to troubleshoot them 
  • Make sure your customer service team is responsive, knowledgeable, and empathetic when dealing with customers 
  • Teach staff how to create rapport and how to make customers feel they went the extra-mile 
  • Setup variable reward systems to your team based on customer feedback 
  • Reward customers for their loyalty with personalised greetings, exclusive discounts, or with a simple expression of gratitude for their business 

Choose a CRM Software that works for your business

While a strong strategy is essential, the right software can significantly enhance its effectiveness and simplify its implementation. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a powerful platform that streamlines your Client Relationship Management strategy and empowers your team to cultivate stronger client relationships. A CRM software acts as a centralized client data hub, which can integrate with other tools, platforms, and systems, and goes beyond storing data. 

What to do: 

  • Analyse the business and technical needs for the CRM 
  • Compare the pros and cons of the options available in the market – or consider building your own from scratch 
  • Beware of shadow IT, meaning the files that spring out from indivual efforts to improve, as they can lead to poor performance, process variation, and security risks 

Client Relationship Management with Salesforce 

Salesforce is the number one CRM platform in the world, trusted by millions of business users. Renowned for its robust features and ability to harmonise all aspects of your client interactions, Salesforce is a dynamic hub for all business-client interactions, where every department – sales, marketing, customer service – is in sync, sharing and exchanging info seamlessly. 

Here are some of its key benefits: 

  • Enhanced communication: Salesforce acts as a communication hub allowing the various teams in your business to collaborate across channels within the platform; 
  • Increased efficiency: Salesforce automates workflows like lead generation, appointment scheduling, and follow-up emails, freeing up time your teams can use to build personal relationships with customers. 
  • Improved data quality: besides collecting meaningful data from customers and customer interactions, Salesforce analyses that data and, with the help of innovative built-in AI-based tools, provides insights into customer behaviour, preferences and market trends. This allows you to tailor campaigns, personalise experiences and to make data-driven decisions for the success of your business.  
  • Flexible scalability: Salesforce is a cloud-based solution that scales with your business. It can accommodate your expanding client base and growing complexity, ensuring your CRM remains a powerful tool throughout your growth journey. 

However, implementing a Client Relationship Management strategy and navigating the complexities of a new CRM platform – even one as intuitive and straight-forwards as Salesforce – while continuing business as usual at the office can be daunting. And that is were Near Partner comes in. 

Near Partner, Client Relationship Management done right 

At Near Partner we have been through hundreds of Salesforce projects – we’re passionate about helping businesses leverage the power of Salesforce to achieve their CRM goals. Our team of experienced Salesforce developers can help you choose the right setup to maximize your return on investment, ensure a smooth integration with your existing workflows, offer ongoing support to your in-house teams, and even train your teams in everything Salesforce – do you know about Near Academy? 

More than managing your client relationships, start cultivating thriving client connections with Salesforce! Book a free consultation with Near Parter and let us be part of your journey. Let’s bring your ideas to life. 

Bárbara Basílio

I find happiness questioning and exploring new angles with those around me. My office small talk would be "what's your biggest fear?". 🤓