Customer relationship management (CRM) describes a system that helps you manage your bridal shop's relationships and interactions with your customers and prospects through your entire lifecycle with them. This lifecycle is from the moment that a prospect first books an appointment, all the way up to their wedding date. The interactions that you have with your customers define the way they perceive you and your business. If they get the impression that you are unresponsive and disorganized, it will be that much more difficult to land a sale and the eventual referrals that may come your way.
This is where a CRM system shines, as this type of system makes it easy to keep on top of your communications, and will make your customers feel like you are solely focused on them. CloudBridal has a feature-rich suite of tools and makes it easier than ever before to help you grow your relationships with your clients. So let's talk a bit about this process, and how our software can enable better relationship management.
Isn't CRM Obvious?
You might think that it's obvious that you need to maintain a positive relationship with your clients in order to attract their business, referrals, and reviews. You are absolutely right - this is an obvious facet of any successful client-facing business! However, a CRM system to help you manage these relationships is extremely important for two specific reasons: scale and consistency. So let's talk a little bit about why these are so important.
Scale: This refers to the ability of your business to perform successfully with increased demand from your client base. Growth is the nature of any successful business, and it's fair to say that most business owners want to see growth as a measure of success. It may be easy enough to manage your relationships with a small base of clientele, but it becomes much more difficult when you start to see growth and increased demand, as you are simply not able to provide the same level of service without increasing your internal resources. A CRM system enables you to successfully scale because it provides an organized and intuitive interface for managing the lifecycle of each client. Additionally, a CRM system automates many facets of your communications such as client registration, automatic emails, and timely alerts.
Consistency: Being consistent is a key factor to the success of any business. You will get many of your clients from sources like personal referrals and online reviews, and these will create expectations that your clients demand from your business. As a solo employee, it can be easy to provide a consistent experience every time. However, if you desire growth, you will need to hire new employees to manage increased demand. With this type of growth, it becomes more difficult to ensure consistency, but a CRM system can help provide a common ground for you and your employees.
Now that you understand why a CRM system is important to help you manage your bridal shop, let's go into a bit more detail to define the client relationship lifecycle.
The Beginning of Every Client Relationship
Your first real opportunity to interact with your client is during their initial appointment. This is definitely the most uncertain time in your relationship with them, but being prepared and organized will undoubtedly sway their opinion of your business in your favor, helping you make the sale. Traditionally, a lot of this preparation is done through a phone call where you gather some information about your client and their preferences, which you can then use to help you prepare for the first appointment.
The beauty of a CRM system like CloudBridal is that it can essentially automate this step for you using the Appointment Scheduler + Customer Registration Tool. Clients begin by booking an appointment through the scheduler, which allows them to book an open slot by providing some basic information about themselves. Once their appointment is confirmed, either automatically or by a staff member depending on how you've configured it, the customer registration tool will automatically gather important information about the client in order to fill in their Customer Profile.
The best thing about this tool is that it's fully configurable. You can ask any types of questions you want, and your client's responses will be entered into their profile automatically. This allows you to save time by reducing data entry and also helps you streamline your appointments by noting your customer's preferences before they even step through the door. This allows you to prepare ahead of the appointment, and your preparedness helps reassure the client that they've made the right choice by visiting your shop.
What's next in CRM?
The beginning of your relationship with your client is the foundation on which all future interactions are built, so it is vitally important to get it right. That being said, there is a lot more to CRM that is helpful to know in order to maintain a positive relationship. In the near future, there will be a follow-up blog post about how to best maintain your continued relationships with your clients.