Modern CRM tools are so advanced that one can create highly personalized campaigns in no time. Yet this does not go very well with customers.
If you speak to customers today, they often describe marketing and advertising communication as overly intrusive. Overly intrusive whether it is covert or overt. If you probe further, they may express feeling fatigued by the barrage of personalized communication, a lingering sense of lost autonomy and privacy, and irritability due to the all knowing-nature of marketing teams that consistently disseminate hyper-customized campaigns.
In the worst case scenario, your customers may even feel creeped out by your marketing strategy and that is something that will definitely hurt your brand in the long term. What can you do in order to stop seeming creepy and give back customers their sense of autonomy and privacy?
Time your communication
In recent years, businesses have begun to automate communication leading to extraordinary growth in terms of sales and marketing results. People don’t like to be contacted all the time and marketing teams have known it for decades. Unfortunately, the easier it gets to automate communication, the more your team is likely to do it, resulting in customers feeling they are being stalked or observed all the time.
- If you are using your CRM to automate social media or email communication, make sure that you combine that with real-time engagement as well.
- Do not send out a barrage of newsletters just because you have them all designed and prepared.
- Time your newsletters and send them out once in a fortnight or even once a month.
- Better still, conduct a survey and ask your customers how frequently they don’t mind being contacted.
Surveys can actually be automated and conducted by your CRM. Use your CRM tool wisely but do not over-use it. Customers feel annoyed when CRM is used to hound them 24/7. Though it’s easy to chase customers with a CRM whenever you want and even automate the act of pursuing, don’t do that. Instead, use your CRM to decide how and when you can contact your customers without offending them.
Avoid collecting sensitive data
One of the main reasons why customers feel observed or intruded upon is because even the most minute details of their lives are used by data tools to create campaigns and communication. While this may have positive marketing results, in the long term it is going to affect your brand. Customers feel creeped out when a certain brand knows too much about them.
- Use CRM to collect only the most relevant data required to sell your product or service
- Do not collect information related to sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or political stance even if you are tempted to do so
- Avoid collecting health-related data at all costs because you may even violate HIPAA and GDPR regulations, in addition to offending your customers
- Too much personalization can have the opposite of the intended effect, and annoy your customers
CRM is a tool that needs to be used in a responsible manner. While it makes it easy to derive rich insights based on a variety of data, it is your organizational responsibility to collect data that is not sensitive. In the long term, this will earn you goodwill and respect of your customers, and that is the point of using a CRM anyway.
Make ethics your top priority
As we have all seen already, companies that engage in unethical marketing practices have been called out on social media and mainstream publications resulting in lost sales, ruined the brand image and even closures. If you do not already have an ethics team, it is time to create one. Whether you’re interested in playing fair or not, how you conduct yourself as a business has serious implications for its success.
- Identify the best possible candidates within your existing team and create an ethics team
- Hire an external recruit who specializes in ethical issues
- Make sure that all the data you collect is ethical
- Create campaigns the adhere to global ethical norms and standards
Often overlooked, ethics is probably the single-most important variable in the marketing mix. CRM does not understand ethics but the way you use it needs to be ethical. Making ethics your top priority will help you to reap the best out of your shiny new CRM.
Use your CRM wisely
While CRM helps you take your marketing to the next level, you still need to be careful not to make your customers uncomfortable.
- Make sure that you contact your customers in a planned and non-intrusive manner
- Do not collect sensitive information and create campaigns that do not infringe upon the rights of your customers
- Create an ethics team if you do not already have one, as successful CRM implementation is based on ethics