Running a modern business requires a unique approach and a lot of work.
While there are tools for everything, picking them, integrating them into your business, and learning how to use them properly isn’t easy.
More importantly, knowing why you’re using these tools and understanding the end goal is another challenge to add to the list.
When you’re in the retail business (traditional or e-commerce), you need to make it all about the customer. With that in mind, here are the top seven tools to help your business develop a more customer-centric approach.
Table of Contents
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
You first need a specialized platform called customer relationship management (CRM) software. This tool helps you understand your customers and mold your online presence to appease them.
- Centralized customer data: Have you ever watched a very complex series and caught yourself going over and over to the Wiki to remind yourself who’s who? Well, this is exactly what a CRM platform does for your customers. It keeps all the data, including their private data, the demographic they belong to, and much more.
- Customer support: With all the data available, customer support (whether human or AI virtual assistants) has a much easier job of figuring out the problem early on. They can also become more effective in conflict resolution and find a better way to appease a dissatisfied customer. Overall, it’s a huge net positive.
- Tracking silent metrics: Your customers are sometimes dissatisfied with your service without telling you. Most customers will never tell you why they’re dissatisfied; they’ll leave elsewhere. It would be best if you had a way to understand these churn rates and high shopping cart abandonment rates.
- Customer recommendations: The most important thing you need to do is guide your customers quickly to what they’re looking for or, better yet, make them an offer that they don’t know they’re looking for. You can do this quite effortlessly by analyzing their presence on your platform.
- Leads management: Most customers won’t buy from your brand right away. Instead, they’ll move across several steps of the customer lifecycle process. You must lead them down this pipeline as effectively as possible. Each step is delicate, so be careful.
There’s no customer-centric approach before understanding your customers; this is where CRM can help.
Document Management Software
Handling all your documents is a task that shouldn’t be done manually in 2023. Here’s why a specialized tool can help you improve your organization and develop a customer-centric approach.
- Efficient data access: Managing documents is not just about what you have. It’s also about whether you can access it quickly enough when needed. Regarding this, a document management tool is a solution that has no equal. It produces documents on demand, and you have an easy job securely storing them.
- Version control: In a scenario where more than one person works on the same document, version control is incredibly important. This way, mistakes can be fixed and traced back to the perpetrator. This brings quick and fair conflict resolution and minimizes the downtime caused by this flaw. It also makes your business run a lot smoother than it otherwise would.
- Compliances and regulations: Some of these documents are important in the eyes of the law. This is why you can’t risk misplacing them or being unable to find them in the case of an audit or inquiry. With good document management software, this will never be a danger.
- Document security and access control: You need to remember the importance of document security. Falling into the wrong hands is bad, but 7.5% of documents get lost. This way, you can prevent it. Also, with software, you can assign who has access to which documents, improving your organization's internal security.
- Analysis: Using tools like a document comparison platform, you can easily extract the necessary information. These tools are easy to use, and they’re quite useful in many different fields.
Running a successful organization means a lot of paperwork. With the right tool, you can make this transition into a digital world quite seamless.
Social Media Management
Social media is where many interactions happen between you and the brands. It’s a direct sales funnel for some and the main communication channel for others. With the help of the right tool, you can make a huge difference in this landscape.
- Monitoring brand mentions: People talk about your business, but they don’t always give you a mention or even tag you. There are discussions in comment sections, forums, YouTube comments, and social media. You need the right platform to spot these customers who talk about you, whether to apologize, thank them, or make them an offer. You can also ask for a tag for this mention, thus boosting your brand visibility.
- Content suggestions: Creating fresh and engaging content can be daunting, especially when you have to publish something every week or even twice a week. However, you can make your job easier by utilizing social listening tools on this platform. By monitoring the conversations and trends in your industry, you can better understand what your audience is interested in and create content that resonates with them. This not only helps you come up with new content ideas but also improves the visibility of your website.
- Competitor analysis: How well are your competitors performing on social media? The reason why you need an analytical tool is because people are buying following left and right. Therefore, just comparing the sizes of channels is crude and inaccurate. It would be best if you did better and could do it with the right tool.
- Reporting and insights: People act differently on social media, and you need to pay attention to what they’re saying and how they’re acting. You can’t rely on customers telling you what they want and expect. However, tracking their online behavior will make it much easier to figure it out.
Remember that analyzing social media metrics isn’t as simple as you make it. Having the right tool to get to the bottom of things would be best.
Marketing Automation Platforms
Your marketing is often time- and tone-sensitive. This means you must make the right message and deliver it at the right time and through the right medium. So, here are a few marketing automation platforms you could use to improve your customer-centric approach.
- Customer journey mapping: Customers go through several stages before, during, and after their first purchase. First, they hear about you and start researching. Then, they shop around and compare your offer to those of others. Eventually, they make a purchase. After this, they come for the second and third time, eventually becoming brand ambassadors.
- Adjusting to user preferences: Your customers want something specific from their interaction with your brand, and one of the biggest problems is that they won’t always disclose what it is. You need to figure this out for yourself and seamlessly integrate it. This way, they’ll have a positive user experience without realizing what happened.
- A/B testing: Sometimes, no matter how sophisticated the algorithm is, you can’t know how your campaign will perform in practice. With the help of A/B testing, you can make head-to-head comparisons. This way, you can know which methods are working and which need adjustment to give you more.
- Lead scoring: Your marketing team is always short on either time, manpower, or resources. This means they must learn to prioritize regardless of their team size. With the help of lead scoring, they’ll have a priority list and use the most out of each of these mediums. This is the key to maximizing your yield in the digital world.
The best thing about marketing automation is that it’s a great tool to boost productivity of your team as well.
Email Marketing Platforms
Email marketing is still the backbone of the business world. Despite all the other means of communication, most interactions in the business world start via email. Here’s how to use this to establish a better customer relationship.
- Customer segmentation: If you had only one customer, you could give them the one-on-one approach they deserve. The problem is that you can’t do this with every single customer. Instead, you can segment your audience into customer types and target each of these types (segments) individually.
- Dynamic content: Remember that your customers' last desire is to feel like they’re conversing with a bot. To do this, they need dynamic content that responds to what your customer is replying to and even their tone. We’re not suggesting that you argue if they’re argumentative, but generally, acknowledging that someone on the other side is reading is great.
- Filter and triage: Now, while this doesn't sound customer-centric, to have a customer base to work with, you need to grow a customer list efficiently. Incorporating an email finder tool can significantly make this task faster and improve the quality of your list.This is harder said than done. With an email marketing automation tool, you can send hundreds of thousands of emails daily. Most of them won’t respond, but a lot of them will. Later, you can filter (and segment them, as we’ve already discussed) and assign them to customers.
- Feedback: Every response is relevant from the standpoint of data. What you need is to extract the data for analysis. With an automated tool, this process will have a lower chance of human error and show amazing results.
Email marketing is essential, but it’s also time-consuming and repetitive. Automating it with the right platform can make all the difference, whether outsourcing or handling it in-house.
There’s no user experience without the right platform. A good platform is the basis for any online presence, especially in e-commerce. This is your main sales funnel and the bottom line of all your commercial efforts. This can create an even more user-centric approach for your enterprise in several ways.
- Tailored user experience: First, a good platform can optimize the interface so customers find it intuitive and simple. You can allow them to skip to their favorite categories straight from the landing page and give them product recommendations that will save them a lot of time.
- Customer data management: When you own your sales platform, you manage your cybersecurity. You pick the team to outsource and the cybersecurity solutions you’ll employ. Overall, customers will be able to see the effort you’ve put towards cybersecurity, and they’ll trust you more for it.
- Simpler check-out process: One of the main reasons for high shopping cart abandonment is the need to register to buy. Skipping this step and incentivizing registering (instead of pushing it as a hard requirement) will always give the best outcomes.
- Multi-channel integration: You should allow your customers to buy from any platform that you own and reach out to you from any channel that they have available; however, it all has to go through your main platform. This is how you control your inventory, revenue, and performance. This should always be centralized.
- Search Engine Optimization: Elevate your store's visibility with SEO. Ensure a well-structured website navigation, keyword-centric product descriptions, and meta-tag optimization. This boosts organic traffic, making your products easily discoverable on popular search engines and attracting more potential customers.
While we did put this in the sixth spot, the truth is that it’s probably one of the first things you should have done.
Feedback and Survey Tools
You need to learn what your customers think, and you need tools to help gather all this info. Later on, you can analyze it via business intelligence tools; however, this only happens after you’ve collected it.
- Gathering customer insights: watching out for your customers' behaviors, opinions, and complaints can help you understand them better. This will help your sales platform, marketing campaign, and even the R&D process.
- Competitor analysis: You also want to know what your customers think about your competitors. Most of the time, how objectively good you are is unimportant as long as you’re better than your closest competitors. Well, you must first understand what you’re up against.
- Quality control: Your customers are the real test of your performance. As we’ve previously said, there’s no such thing as objective quality, so you’re trying to find out what your customers think about your business and products.
- Innovation: Sometimes, you’ll have something new in the offer, which you have no data on, meaning you’ll have to do first-hand research on how well it’s performing. You’ll need a feedback and survey tool that offers much customizability.
Finding the right platform will help you know what your customers feel and think about your brand.
Ultimately, the choice of tools you decide to use is all yours. Remember that you might already be overworked, so take a few seconds to figure out how this new tool will fit into your current business model. One more tool to watch might be too much, even with all its benefits. Still, it’s better to find some help than to start slacking.
Nebojsa is a seasoned professional in the SEO and link-building industry with significant expertise and a history of leading successful teams. With a keen focus on client satisfaction, our team at Heroic Rankings has built a reputation for hard work, high standards, and consistent results.