crm for small businessWe’ve spent the past few weeks covering why it is so vital for small businesses to consider the customer experience while managing ecommerce sites, and how (and why) this customer relationship management directly impacts sales. We’ve been standing on our soapbox preaching the importance of CRM for online sellers, and you may be wondering, “Why should I listen to them? Who made them the experts?” Well, you’re right. We don’t claim to be the foremost authority on CRM for small business ecommerce. Instead, we look to Kerry Bodine – and you should too.

Kerry Bodine is one of the leading experts in managing customer relations, and helping companies meet, and exceed, those consumer expectations. She’s invited to speak all over the world, sharing her knowledge with business leaders, marketing influencers, and ecommerce experts. As an online retailer, she’s a source for information and guidance on how to better engage with your customers, and build brand loyalty.

Kerry shares this “age of the customer” expertise where “customer experience is your best source of competitive differentiation.” If you source your inventory from a supplier or dropshipper, this is especially relevant. Chances are, there are other sellers who also use the same dropshipper, and are selling the exact same products as you. Differentiating yourself can be done with lower prices- but that can significantly reduce your profit margins. As Kerry states, your best bet for getting ahead of your competition and pulling in more customers is your level of customer service and experience.

So what does Kerry suggest? Your biggest goal for CRM should be to make sure your customer’s expectations about the type of interaction they’re going to have with your company are realized. Essentially, don’t make promises you can’t deliver. Being unable to rise to an expectation that you yourself set is one of the quickest ways to derail your brand, and cause your business to suffer.

As long as you keep this in mind and implement other tactics like email marketing and website optimization, your business should do very well with CRM. For more information about Kerry and to read what else she suggests, follow along @kerrybodine or check out her site.

Bodine, Kerry. “Making Promises, Keeping Promises: Building Brands Through Customer Experience.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 21 Sept. 2012. Web. 29 May 2014.

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