The Baird Sales Team’s Role in Managing Customer Relationships

Eric Hiner discusses managing customer relationships in a recent AHA episode.

Customer success is your business’ success! You already know this, but it bears repeating: customers are the lifeline of your business. Without them, you wouldn’t exist. The key to a successful business is strong customer relationships — and it starts with the sales team

A bad customer service experience is bad for business, but when service is great, existing customers keep coming back (and make referrals to friends on your behalf). That’s why managing customer relationships should be the number one goal for any sales team.

What Is Customer Relationship Management?

Customer relationship management (CRM) is the business practice of managing a company’s interactions with current and potential customers. The goal of customer relationship management is to increase both the value of each customer and the profitability of each transaction with that customer.

At Baird Brothers, we’re always looking forward to assess and improve processes. Internally, we have multiple levels of sales staff available to field customer questions, concerns and orders: showroom sales representatives, online sales consultants, phone sales consultants, regional field representatives and commercial/residential sales representatives. Small business entities, by comparison, may only have one or two sales staff members, but even then, the goal remains the same: build relationships that build your business!

Many relationship management initiatives incorporate CRM solutions, which allow businesses to gain insight into their customers’ needs and how best to meet them while creating customer loyalty and satisfaction. CRM systems often result in increased sales and market share for companies that employ CRM strategies effectively.

American Hardwood Advisor Interview With Eric Hiner

On the topic of customer relationship management, we recently sat down with Baird Brothers’ commercial and residential sales consultant, Eric Hiner to talk about how crucial the sales team is to managing customer relationships here at Baird Brothers. 

At Baird Brothers, we have many potential touchpoints (and numerous audiences) when it comes to customers and resulting transactions. Eric, along with our sales team, is highly aware of the importance of customer satisfaction and how it plays a significant role in building strong bonds with clients.

Eric has worked at Baird Brothers for over 22 years. Before he cultivated and maintained customer relationships, he worked at the sales counter and even in the mill shop. He has the product knowledge to ensure current customers and new customers alike get the exact product they’re looking for.

Watch here:

Benefits of CRM Software

If you’re in the process of evaluating or revamping your customer experience, it’s likely that you’re also learning more about the customer relationship management (CRM) software tools that exist to help businesses manage relationships. CRMs can track customer information and communications, such as email, phone calls, and social media interactions, and the benefits of CRM tools can be huge!

Improved Customer Service

When you have an up-to-date view of all your customers’ details and preferences, you can easily identify their needs and resolve issues quickly. This increases customer satisfaction and loyalty while reducing the amount of time spent on each customer query.

Better Insights Into Customer Behavior

Customer data allows you to analyze how people interact with your business through different channels, such as email or social media. These metrics help you understand what content they find most useful and improve your marketing campaigns accordingly. It also gives insight into which promotions work best for different target audiences to allocate resources more effectively over time.

Improved Sales Performance

By tracking all the interactions between your sales team and potential customers, CRM software provides insights into which tactics work best for different groups or individuals. This allows you to optimize sales activities by focusing on those techniques.

Customer Satisfaction = Customer Retention

Investing time into customer relations pays off with increased word of mouth and repeat customers.

Customer relations is not just about sales; it’s a long-term relationship that will bear fruit in many ways, including increased sales, referrals, repeat purchases, and customer loyalty.

As we’ve seen over the years, it takes all departments across the organization to build positive customer relationships, from manufacturing and sales to packaging and distribution. But, no matter the product or the customer, a few key factors help to ensure customer satisfaction:

Understanding Your Audience

If you take the time to know your customer, not only will they see your business as an authority in the space but they will also TRUST in you to find/create/supply what they need! Be proactive, talk in person (if possible), anticipate questions or concerns and follow-up after the purchase.

Evaluating and Evolving with Customer Needs

The customer journey changes over time – just think about how the internet/technology impacted the customers’ ability to “serve themselves” by making purchases online! With those changes, your business strategies need to evolve, as well. Make sure you’re still providing the information needed to access service and support. Your business will also need to make internal efficiencies a priority, always assessing the need for new technologies, tools and software.

Showing Your Appreciation

Customer appreciation is non-negotiable, and it can be as simple as a follow-up phone call after a purchase. If you’re looking to build and retain relationships, the human aspect can’t be overlooked. The same goes for your employees! Let the people working for you know how important they are, because they are the X factor when it comes to creating a great customer experience!

When you have a customer who trusts you and relies on you for their needs and wants, they are more likely to return for more business later.

Customer Communication Is Key

Customer communication is one of the most important competitive advantages you have, and at Baird Brothers, this is one of the most important aspects of our business. Positive customer interactions increase trust in your brand and help to build your list of both returning and new customers. 

Customer-centric communication can have many forms. It can be real-time updates on orders, giving early notice of new products, helpful customer support, or even simple follow-ups. Making the customer journey as easy as possible increases the lifetime value of your loyal customers.

However, the best customerbusiness relationships go both ways. While it’s important to communicate with your current customer base, it’s also important to listen to them. In the rare instance that customer expectations are not met, listen to that customer feedback. When you receive customer complaints, take it as a learning opportunity. Follow up with that customer immediately and solve their issue as soon as possible. Fast-acting customer support can completely turn around a bad customer experience.

Customer-Centric Fine Hardwood Products 

Managing customer relationships is only one aspect of meeting customer needs; you need a good, quality product to back it up! Customer support should begin when the person walks in the door (or calls/emails etc.), continue through the ordering process, and be maintained even past the point of the final product being delivered! 

At Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods, delivering next level customer service is a crucial component of our business. Our sales team ensures customer success from order entry through the end of their home improvement project, and we pride ourselves on excellence for both the product and the purchasing experience. Contact us today to get started!