Tips for Business’s CRM Success

A business’s customer relationship management team is the main line of contact customers will use when they need something from a business. CRM employees most often fall under the customer service category. No matter what type of business you run, the CRM team is vital. Below are a few things that any CRM employee can do to build a better relationship with the business’s customers.

Keep Emails Short and Sweet

A person would be hard-pressed to find an employer that doesn’t give their CRM employees their own sales email account. These business email accounts should always have a professional email address attached to them, so there is no need to worry about needing to use whatever embarrassing email account name you made for yourself back in middle school.

Now that you’ve got a business email account, it’s time to learn how to use it correctly. When communicating with customers, it’s best to keep emails short, sweet, and to the point. Try to keep your language down to an eighth-grade reading level, as this is the standard level used for most forms of written communication, even if you are communicating with adults. After all, it’s better to put something into terms that are “too easy” to understand, than something that would be too difficult for a customer to understand. Keep your sentences short (around 20 words to less) and keep the message to the point. While your email should have a professional tone, it can also sound friendly. After all, a customer is much more likely to have a good experience with a polite employee than an inpatient or rude one.

Another key component of email etiquette is making sure to reply to emails in a timely manner. This doesn’t mean that you need to reply to an email in the same instant that you get it, but you should try to reply within 24 hours (unless you get the email on a day that you are off from work). Unfortunately, you can’t expect the same response time from customers. However, if they do not reply within 48 hours, then send a follow-up email to try to contact them again. Keep the line of communication open until their query is resolved.

Automate Whatever Possible

Similar to how there are CRM employees, there are also a variety of CRM computer systems and software that business owners can pick from. These systems work to automate basic tasks to make the employee’s workday flow by more easily. However, the system needs to be set up correctly. There is not one CRM system that is perfect for every business; instead, the business owner needs to pick the right CRM system that fits their business’s needs.

When picking out a new CRM system, it’s generally best to pick the most simple system that fits all of your business’s needs. While it may be tempting to pick a system that has a bunch of extra features, doing so can sometimes cause more problems than it helps to fix. Because of this, make sure to carefully look through all of the features that a CRM software has to offer. Make sure it has what your business needs. If you want a couple of extras, that’s fine. Just don’t pick a CRM system because it has the most options. After all, there is always the chance that you will pick a system with 100+ options, only to later find out that it doesn’t have the one that you actually need.

Lastly, when working with a new CRM system, it’s best to have at least one employee be put in charge of overseeing its operations. Having a CRM employee do this can be extra beneficial, as they will know how to most efficiently integrate the system with the human-run operations within the CRM field.

Whether you are communicating with customers with genuine human interactions or leaving the hard work up to computers, using both professional email etiquette and CRM software can help to improve your business’s customer relationships.

Jacqueline "Jackie" Annis is an industrial hygienist with the Office of Partnerships and Recognition, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs in OSHA’s National Office.  Jackie’s primary responsibilities include developing and overseeing internal policies and procedures for the VPP, reviewing VPP on-site evaluation reports for process safety management information, serving as the National Office liaison for two of OSHA’s ten Regions, and facilitating the management of OSHA’s National Strategic Partnership Program.  She is an integral part of OSHA’s National Office team. 

She has served with the Agency for 36 years, including five years as a senior industrial hygienist in OSHA’s Office of Health Enforcement, Directorate of Enforcement Programs in the National Office and 17 years as a compliance safety and health officer in the Denver, CO Area Office.  Prior to her tenure at OSHA, Jackie worked as an industrial hygienist for the Department of the Navy in Alameda, California.  Jackie obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 1983.

Wayne Howard earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis and has spent 12 years with Shell (at Martinez) refinery, 3 years with the consulting firm Process Safety, 15 years with Valero (at Benicia), and the last 10 years in the Corporate Process Safety Department. He is the Valero representative to AFPM's Advancing Process Safety Initiative.

Nathan Obaugh, PE is a senior engineer in the Safety and Operational Excellence Group at NuStar Energy. Nathan has over 10 years of PSM and process design experience in the petrochemical, refining and midstream industries. At NuStar, Nathan oversees all elements of the corporate PSM program and works directly on hazard analysis, process safety studies, PSM/RMP audits and provides process engineering support to the operations and capital projects groups.

Jared Teter, PhD is a senior staff scientist with a background in physics and hazards analysis. He has extensive experience in subscale testing of energetic materials and has served as program manager for several large testing and risk management projects. He has applied engineering and risk management protocols while evaluating the risk associated with propellant and explosives manufacturing, combustible dust, and other hazardous material related processes.

Tim Belitz has a degree in Environmental Health/Industrial Hygiene from Old Dominion University and a Master’s from Duke University. He has over 25 years of Industrial Health Safety and Environmental Experience and is a Certified Safety Professional. He has many years focused on Contractor Management and Process Safety programs.

Rob Walker graduated from Virginia Tech in Microbiology and Chemical Engineering. Rob has almost 35 years of experience working in the chemical plant and refining industry. His passion for Process Safety and Mechanical Integrity began very early in his career. Rob began with his current company, Honeywell, back in 2011.

Prasad Joshi has B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Chemical Engineering from two universities in India. Prasad has over 30 years’ experience in the business. He began with Honeywell in May 2022 as Principal Maintenance Engineer. He has worked internationally in Asia and Europe.