Do you have a customer relationship management plan? Are your employees well trained to implement your CRM strategies and tactics? If your answer to the two questions above is no, then below are 10 customer relationship management training tips for small businesses.

Customer Relationship Management is undoubtedly one important factor to consider in making sure that your business endeavor will be a success. Of course it is common knowledge that in any business undertaking, whether it is a product- or service-oriented one; customers must always be regarded with utmost respect as they act as the lifeblood of the business. Without them, your company will absolutely go nowhere.

Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationship.” – Henry Ross Perot

Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) efforts are only as strong as your employees’ commitment to making it work. The success of whatever measures you are trying to adopt is significantly dependent on how these measures are implemented by the members of your staff; from the managers down to the lowest-ranking personnel.

Most businessmen however, take Customer Relationship Management efforts to be so complicated that they hesitate to spend money and time for it. What they don’t know is that studies have shown that spending on Customer Relationship Management gives a positive return which will eventually have a significant impact on your business.

There is only one boss; the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton

This is the reason why it is important to first train your employees before finally implementing your Customer Relationship Management strategies. Fortunately, there are 10 easy customer relationship management training tips you can follow to make your staff members to fully appreciate the need for customer relation management; and to encourage them to cooperate as well.

Needless to say, all your employees must not only understand basic concepts and theories. They must also know how to implement your general plan in the most effective and efficient way. To do this, on-site or on-the-job trainings are necessary. To assure a successful training, you can follow the 10 customer relationship management training tips listed below.

Top 10 Customer Relationship Management Training Tips for Small Businesses

1. Involve the whole staff-: When training your employees, the whole staff must be involved. From the rank-in-file employees up to the supervisors and managers, involvement is a must. By ensuring that everyone is working towards the same goal, your CRM efforts will deliver better results. Unity is always a strong starting point

Teams should be able to act with the same unity of purpose and focus as a well motivated individual.” – Bill Gates

2. Training must reflect a process-: Your CRM training program must follow a process. This will ensure that your employees will not get confused. A confused employee is the least you would wish to have on your team.

3. Involve your customers/clients-: It is better you involve your clients/customers in the CRM training program as early as possible; so that you’ll be able to assess public acceptance and make some changes to your approach if necessary.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

4. Teach by actions, not by words-: The problem with classroom training is they don’t encourage people to participate. Having actual trainings would stimulate their desire to learn and further their enthusiasm to put their learning to practice.

Inventories can be managed but people must be led.” – Henry Ross Perot

5. Use the training for habit-formation-: In the process of training your staff, instill in them the importance of keeping a strict routine when it is needed. This will minimize mistakes.

6. Strengthen the core management-: For evaluation and monitoring purposes, it is important that you keep strong and firm managers. They need to have the control over all processes and the power to keep everything working well and in order.

7. Train your employees on how to use key CRM software-: Try to maximize the benefits you get from your CRM software by teaching your employees to take advantage of it. Teach them the basics and they will eventually learn more themselves. Help your employees integrate themselves with the CRM measures you are adopting by conducting on-the-job trainings. Make them appreciate your goals and encourage them to work with you towards that direction.

8. Train in accordance with the needs of your customers-: During the training session, it is most advisable that what you teach your staff members are compatible with what your customers are expecting to get from you. They must meet halfway.

9. Keep the CRM training real-: Make sure that what you are teaching your personnel is what exactly they are going to use in actual practice. Unrealistic theories are plainly useless and will give you no benefit at all.

10. Don’t stop training your employees-: Learning is a never-ending process. Your employees need to be updated with new technologies, techniques and strategies once in a while; so that they can keep up with recent trends in the industry. They have to be equipped with up-to-date knowledge so that they can stand alongside other companies who are offering the same services.

11. Set your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) goals-: Goal setting is always the strongest foundation of all human undertakings. Goals will help you stay focus and know your expected end point. When setting your goals, try to be specific, realistic and bank on things that can be measured.

12. Make a List of the benefits you will get from CRM-: Setting CRM goals is just the beginning, you need to know what to expect. Specify your intended benefits and monetize them so you may be able to really appreciate why you are investing in CRM at the first place.

13. List possible problems and plan for mitigating measures-: Knowing possible road-blocks before actually jumping in to the plan is a good way to make sure that you are prepared for any sudden changes in the plans. Sudden changes spell the difference between success and failure, thus it is important that you have prepared mitigating measures to minimize or totally eradicate adverse effects.

14. Set long-term objectives-:  Good businessmen always look forward and think long term. Knowing the effects of CRM to your company in the long-run is a good way to make sure that your efforts today will still equally benefit your company in the future and not the other way around.

15. Consult Regularly. Engage in meaningful conversations with your employees every now and then; and tweak your strategies.

16. Customize your CRM strategies and tactics-: Make sure that the CRM measures you are adopting is compatible with the needs and objectives of your company so you’ll have optimum results.

17. Set a Benchmark–: In order for you to properly evaluate the progress of your CRM efforts, you have to set a definite benchmark to which everything will be compared with.

18. Measure your success–: This is the reason why you have to set quantifiable goals, to know that you are progressing and moving forward.

19. Plan for the future–: This is of course your end goal: to still benefit from your CRM even after the passage of time.

Of course there are others tips that might also work for you; but the above-mentioned customer relationship management training tips are just suggestions that will most probably help you with your customer relationship training.

Ajaero Tony Martins