Customer-first Relationships in Property Management
Stephen Higgins, Head of CRM at Columbus UK, explains how Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can transform customer engagement within the property sector.
Customer experience (CX) drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty, outperforming brand and price combined. A flawless service and experience are always expected and nowhere more so than in the business of property management, where companies need to prioritise customer-centricity across every department or risk losing out on sales, prospects and clients.
Data is the lifeblood of both a business and the customer experience, but only by understanding and using this data will property management companies gain access to the essential information that will truly make a difference to their business performance. This is where a CRM solution comes in. With the ability to centralise data, a CRM system is responsible for customer data management – from contact information to purchases and previous interactions with customer service departments.
Customers should be at the centre of every business and the right CRM system provides the key to understanding them. In particular, there are four essential building blocks that CRM systems provide to boost customer satisfaction and make it easier for property management service teams to deliver an outstanding experience to the customer.
1) Unlock fresh insights to strengthen customer engagements at every touchpoint
Property management customers can range from buyers to sellers and even tenants – all with different needs and goals to consider. But only the companies that can easily and seamlessly manage customer information will be able to deliver the high-quality service and experience that customers expect.
CRM solutions can integrate with other business systems and unify customer data into one centralised location, enabling businesses to better anticipate customer needs, determine key interest areas and drive more meaningful engagement. For instance, instead of generic messaging, sales teams can tailor marketing emails, client advice or relevant product content towards customer interests and preferences – enhancing customer satisfaction and building loyalty.
Customers never enjoy having their query passed around multiple customer service representatives and they certainly don’t want to repeat their details several times. In fact, Microsoft research shows 68 per cent of consumers expect customer service representatives to know their contact, product and service history even if they haven’t spoken to the agent before – and a CRM system can make this possible. As data is centralised, customer service agents can easily pick up where the previous team member left off and ensure every customer receives a consistent, seamless experience – even if the case is transferred across channels or agents.
2) Establish data-driven personalisation to strengthen customer loyalty
Property management companies can achieve higher customer retention with connected experiences that are built on personalisation. For instance, 72 per cent of consumers would choose one brand over another if they receive special treatment – and data plays a key role in this process. A CRM system can consolidate customer information to help the sales team provide an engaging, personalised experience that keeps the customer coming back.
Sales automation features provided by advanced CRM solutions, such as automatic notifications that reveal relationship health and risks, can help the sales team keep customer relationships on track and personalise the ones most at risk. Integrations with social media, such as between Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, can also help sales teams manage relationships at scale and provide access to AI-driven recommendations that drive more personalised customer engagements.
3) Nurture up- and cross-sell opportunities with smart selling capabilities
Up- or cross-selling to existing customers is much easier when service and sales teams can access buying habits and preferences – and this is where a centralised database is vital. A CRM system can unify individual customer information in a single location, enabling the sales team to be more proactive in making personalised offers that will interest the customer. But the benefits don’t stop there.
With an ability to pull real-time data through from multiple systems, create custom dashboards and generate predictive sales forecast reports, a CRM system can help businesses enhance visibility to better inform lead nurturing decisions and start smart selling. For instance, AI-driven insights can track emerging market trends and customer needs so sales teams can pivot quickly. The most advanced CRM systems can offer lead scoring models and sales readiness grades, helping businesses identify at-risk deals and take swift action to prioritise the right leads.
4) Optimise department-wide productivity and collaboration
It’s not just sales teams that can benefit from a CRM’s ability to centralise data, as the right solution can enhance overall productivity and efficiency of internal processes within marketing, customer service and even accounts teams. A CRM system can scan and convert files from multiple sources into new records, which minimises the need for manual data entry – allowing teams to spend more time on delivering excellent customer service. The right system can also provide access to built-in sales playbooks and actively recommend relevant content and training based on the department and the task. Not only does this reduce training time, it also empowers teams to constantly improve their skills.
Cross-team collaboration can also be made easier with a CRM. The system’s ability to centralise data allows departments to work on the same document, make edits in real-time and use their combined knowledge to ensure data accuracy. Greater visibility into campaigns and a 360-degree view of the customers also unlocks greater sales-marketing alignment. For instance, salespeople can pass along their knowledge of customer preferences to marketers, who can then use that insight to execute more targeted marketing campaigns, efficiently nurture leads and hand them over, sales-ready to sales colleagues, so they’re in the best position to close deals.
Case in point: leading property consultancy takes to the cloud
Take Carter Jonas, a leading property service company that aims to provide first-class market advice, as a case in point for the benefits of CRM. The company wanted to streamline internal processes and deliver excellent customer experiences at every touchpoint with an upgrade to a cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics solution.
The personalisation of customer and prospect communication has always been a top priority for Carter Jones, but the task of profiling customers on the legacy on-premise CRM solution was far less efficient than they wanted – and the upgrade addressed these concerns. The company can now use the new CRM solution to easily capture a contact’s interests on any device, even while mobile, providing the customer service staff and marketing team with the confidence to offer tailored messages to customers.
Carter Jonas was also keen to centralise data to improve the efficiency of data analysis. The company receives a large volume of information from their website but this was historically held in separate places and required staff to spend too much time querying and navigating the system. The new solution has significantly enhanced the user experience – enabling visualisation of the information feed from the website in a single location.
Harness advanced CRM to deliver a 360-degree customer experience
From improving the lead nurturing process to delivering major efficiency gains, the benefits of a CRM solution are undeniable. Customers are one of the most valuable assets of a business – and a CRM system can provide teams, regardless of department, with the tools to deliver an outstanding customer experience. With a 360-degree customer view, businesses will be able to witness a significant increase in sales velocity and conversion that keeps existing customers coming back for more.