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What is Customer Relationship Management?

Customer Relationship Management (or CRM for short), is one of the most important considerations in any business, whether you’re a sole trader or have hundreds of employees. CRM is the process that helps you develop and maintain good, strong relationships with your customers from the outset. It provides you with tools and intelligence when delivering products or services. It also helps ensure consistency whenever you, your staff, your promotional activities or your website interacts with customers.

Why is Customer Relationship Management important?

  • Reduce ‘churn’ (help you retain customers)
  • Help you build trust & familiarity with your customers
  • To share knowledge on customers with staff and new recruits to maintain consistency
  • Give you knowledge on which you can make good informed decisions
  • Ultimately this will lead to improving profit

Where do I begin?

CRM is extremely advantageous to any business.  We understand that not every business needs a large-scale CRM ‘system’ from day one; we recommend starting really simple so that you have the foundations in place for when you are ready to take your CRM Journey. Just using a spreadsheet to begin with is better than nothing – even if it’s just to record where your enquiries are coming from.

Here are three of our favourite best practice tips to get you started:

1) Think about what customer information to collect and do it consistently

When building up your customer database, only ask for the information that’s reasonably needed for you to run your business effectively – don’t collect data you don’t need, stick to asking for information you will actually use.

This should include measurement information (even if you are not ready to analyse the results just yet). For example, when people contact you, ask them how they found you. Don’t accept ‘through your website’ (although it’s good to record that’s what got them to call you) ask them how they found your website; Google, a friend’s recommendation, etc. Equally, information such as website visitor numbers, pages visited, time spent on the site etc. are all useful and if your website is with SiteBites you’ll receive these monthly and can request more at any time. Essentially, if you spend money on any marketing from flyers to Facebook, make sure that you are clear about how to measure response and capture the data that will allow you to do this.

2) Make customer information shareable

Ideally, everyone who deals with your customers should have access to a single central information store that contains everything important about your relationship with that customer. This will allow everyone within the business to access a full history of interaction with customers and prospects – which is a plus if you have staff leaving and will prevent customers having to repeat themselves – we all know how annoying that is. Even if you a one-person band, setting this up now will mean you will be better placed for when you bring more people on board in the future.

If this is not possible from day one, then setup a template in Excel and make sure you (and anyone else) keeps a copy of it up to date. This will save you both time and money later if you ever need to combine them.

3) Recognize and acknowledge your customers

Most businesses do not know who their most important and / or profitable customers are, and hence do not service them appropriately. If you do not acknowledge and appreciate what your customers are doing for your business, it won’t be long before one of your competitors does. It will also help you ensure you are spending time on the right customers!

About the Author

Atuksha Poonwassie, Owner

Atuksha started Focus2020 in May 2000. Since then, she and her team have implemented some creative and unusual CRM strategies for their clients that have delivered some incredible results.

‘If planned and implemented correctly, the benefits of CRM are massive. We love seeing the transformation that businesses undergo and the uplift they experience. We are working more and more with small to medium sized businesses as we understand that by adopting CRM early on, businesses have the ability to grow faster as well as being built on a more stable foundation.”

Outside of work, Atuksha enjoys travelling, in particular, exploring different cultures and seeing wildlife. She is also a fixed wing private pilot, practices Aikido and has a keen interest in property investment and renovation.

You can contact Atuksha at:

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Unit 23 Space Business Centre, Molly Millars Lane, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 2PQ, UK.