‘Tis the season for small businesses to get personal

Between online purchases, buying on social channels or heading into traditional bricks-and-mortar stores, there are endless options for customers to choose from, especially during the hectic holiday season when time is of the essence. The one thing businesses all have in common is the power of a personal touch.

Companies are highly familiar with how this works in the physical world. A customer walks in, you greet them by name and tell them about a new item that just came in that you know they'll love.

Even as more customers start (and end) their purchases online, they want the same kind of recognition and personalized recommendations.

One of the best ways a business can deliver more personalized customer experiences is by leveraging a customer relationship management platform. CRM solutions, like Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, put customer information in a central place. This makes it easy for everyone in your business to access and share information from anywhere, including mobile phones, in real time.

Using CRM helps improve customer loyalty by creating relationships that make consumers feel appreciated, understood and wanted. By offering customers a personalized experience, retailers will not only satisfy them during the holiday rush, but keep them coming back time and time again. What you want to deliver is:

The real-time experience. If someone just made an online purchase, they might not realize there are other items that would complement it. CRM helps identify those kinds of opportunities, while also helping companies get quicker answers to questions the customer may have.

The mobile experience. Chances are, even customers who come into a physical location over the holidays are doing some comparison shopping on their smartphones. Be ready to offer promotions, discounts or sale alerts.

The “everywhere” experience. Customers may do their research online, buy in a store and then seek support through social media. Companies need to respect their preferences and help them through every means possible.