We function in a global economy that buys, sells and communicates in multiple ways. The competition among businesses across industries is at an all-time high and consumers are more vocal than ever about their buying experience.
Technically speaking, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the process of keeping a track of all the interactions a business has with its prospects and customers. The CRM software is a tool which centralizes and simplifies the data and scales customer engagement.
Did you know a CRM software is generally built to help the businesses in their sales initiatives? Do a simple Google search on “CRM” and you will be surprised to find only B2B solutions dominating the pages, with very few B2C CRM tools getting noticed.
What’s so different about B2C CRM? Can’t a B2C brand implement a B2B CRM tool for its activities? The answer is no.
How different is B2C CRM from B2B
In a B2C setup, the sales cycles are shorter and the ways in which a prospective customer interacts with a B2C brand are numerous. Take an online furniture store for example. It actively promotes its products not just on the website but also on social media, in newsletters and through Google ads.
In B2C, businesses execute their promotional campaigns on a large scale, which means they use all digital platforms such as social media, blogs, website, emails, and more to attract buyers. Naturally, consumers will visit the online store through that many platforms.
That’s why a B2C CRM is equipped to manage large volumes of data, identify the sources driving maximum revenue and, handle bulk email and SMS campaigns.
Here are the top five differences in how a CRM is used in B2C and B2B.
1. Long-term consistency
In B2C, consistent sales year-after-year is the focus for the business; this means every new customer counts for the business to generate revenue. However in B2B, the quality of customers is more important than the number. B2B thrives on relationship management.
2. Email marketing
In B2C, it is very important for the businesses to keep their customers engaged. This is where drip campaigns come in – although not the way that B2B makes use of them. Use B2C campaigns to push out the latest information on what the customer has previously shown interest in, share lucrative offers that might convert them and to ask them for feedback.
For example, Booking.com ensures that a customer remains up-to-date with the deals on what he has searched for previously. It could be hotel deals or simply letting them know of those offers that have expired.
3. Telephonic communication
Customer care service is paramount in B2C. Whatever software a brand uses, should have proper telephony integrations. For instance, Koovs has an active CRM wherein they get in touch with a customer in less than 24 hours in case of a cart abandonment. The idea is to understand why the customer has left the products behind and offer him a discount or a special offer, to make them complete the purchase.
4. Loyalty/referral programs
In B2C, the CRM software is equipped to run loyalty programs as B2C sales are usually emotional or impulsive in nature, and it’s quite possible the customer might not buy from the brand again. This isn’t common in B2B.
5. Emphasis on marketing and sales
B2C CRM is effective only when it has an overview of marketing, sales and operations functions of the business. For example, an eCommerce store needs to ensure that a product reaches the customer at the right time from when the order has been placed – this leads to optimizing the operations and logistics.
On the other hand, a B2B CRM has more emphasis on sales management and performance tracking.
Why the B2C landscape needs CRM
When we talk about CRM, it is a conversation with data. In this digital age, CRM has become synonymous with boosting brand visibility for buyers. Here’s why any B2C business needs a CRM strategy:
1. To meet customer expectations
Customers are on the lookout for instant gratification. They want to be able to receive a product in no time from the point of placing an order, be offered as many payment options as possible and also have a friendly return policy. But most importantly, it is the need to be able to track an order in real time that a customer really expects from the business.
For B2C, customer responsiveness and speed of delivery of offerings are priority. Customers desire a quick, quality service; a robust CRM will help you keep track of the last interaction a customer has made with you, predict and also address their concerns at a quicker turnover time.
2. To build a rapport with customers
As mentioned before, a B2C business typically engages with a customer via multiple touchpoints (website, social media, user forums, etc.). But putting this data to use is what actually makes a B2C business stand out. Use this data to understand your customers better based on the interactions and purchases they make, predict their future needs and tailor your future campaigns for maximum conversions.
The higher the level of personalization in the way you approach your customer, the better is the rapport you establish with them.
3. To leverage social media
It isn’t wise to ignore social engagement when the business is dealing directly with the customers. People in general take to social networking sites to convey their feelings towards a bad purchase, need for a product or an awesome after sales service.
CRM enables the business to analyze customer behaviour and take an action accordingly. Every business has “communities of interest” (CoI) that it wants to interact with. These CoIs could be people on LinkedIn groups, Quora, Twitter who directly use or endorse the brand.
A CRM tool should have the capability to pull in social media conversations. This makes it easier for the customer care and sales teams to follow up the customers or if there are any concerns.
Choosing a B2C CRM tool – features
With B2C CRM, the business can not only cope with a large amount of leads and contacts and build long term customer relationships but also run campaigns across channels and segment the data properly.
If your business doesn’t use a tool for managing customer relationships, it certainly should – there’s a lot of data at stake! Here are the top six features that you should be looking for in a B2C CRM:
1. Contact management and customer tracking
A CRM system should be able to track customers throughout the sales journey. But at the same time, it should also be able to update their information based on any of the interactions they make – across all touchpoints.
This helps the customer care and sales team also remain in the loop, understand what the customer expects from the business and pan out their future campaigns.
2. Real-time data updating
Since the sales cycle is short in B2C, the CRM should be able to process data in real-time, update new information on the system and give the exact picture of the customers.
No matter how and how much data is captured, a CRM should be able to give an overview of all the important customer information in the form of images such as diagrams, graphs and pie charts. Pulling out detailed reports for your business shouldn’t be a hassle.
4. Multi-channel integration
Did you know 63% of customers use social media channels for customer service? Or 38% of them consider social media as the most preferred customer service channel? A CRM should be able to include multiple platforms to enable your business to interact with its customers seamlessly.
5. Cloud technology
As of 2018, cloud is huge. Everything happens online. Therefore, why shouldn’t a CRM be up on the cloud as well? It allows greater flexibility to work – from anywhere and anytime – and to stay in touch with the customers.
In B2C, a business deals with an individual, a person. Therefore, managing a B2C customer is a full-time job and that can be too much for the sales team to handle.
A CRM should be able to automate majority of activities such as follow-ups, confirmation emails, and forms so that the communication with the customers never stops and the sales team doesn’t have to worry about manually performing these tasks.
Over to you
A Gartner report states CRM will be the heart of digital initiatives in the future. Majority of businesses – irrespective of size and industry – are gradually adopting the CRM approach. We believe with the right CRM strategy and tool, a B2C business can improve customer experience, track data efficiently, promote inter-company coordination and generate higher revenue.
What are your thoughts?