How CRM can help businesses improve customer service?
They go to great lengths trying to serve and interact with their customers in the ways that meet and exceed expectations.
In order to do that successfully in the modern world, you need to use digital technology that allows you to:
- keep all information on a customer in one place,
- streamline your customer service processes,
- serve customers on multiple channels, and
- provide timely (almost immediate) support when it’s needed.
To accomplish all this, businesses that truly focus on their customers need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. The system that helps you foster and nurture long-term relationships with customers.
Why is great customer service so important?
We all know an age-old business mantra: “Customer is King”. Indeed, without a customer, there’s no business.
That’s why businesses – big or small – try their hardest to provide great customer experience and service. Because they know too well that even if they screw up once, it’ll take 12 positive experiences to make up for that 1 negative instance.
A study by Oracle claims that 89% of people stopped doing business with a company after a poor customer experience, and 86% of the customers are willing to pay more for better customer service.
2011 Customer Experience Impact (CEI) Report, Oracle
Finally, positive customer experience beats everything, including such a decisive factor as price! In fact, 64% of customers believe customer experience is more important than price when deciding to make a purchase with a brand, a research by Gartner shows.
Yet, for growing businesses this issue becomes even more sensitive, because the bigger their company gets, the more (different) customers they need to satisfy.
And these customers are smarter and more vocal than ever before, as they also have more choices. They won’t settle with just “good enough” any more. It has to be great or they will turn their back on you.
9 ways a CRM system can help you improve customer service
When connected to a CRM system, any customer service situation turns a well-tuned and seamless experience for both service agents and customers. So, let’s take a closer look at how you can benefit from a CRM-based customer service.
- Store all information in one place
What can be worse than searching for information on the customer you’re trying to serve in multiple places? No matter what channels your customers connect with you (social media, email, phone, online chat, etc.), CRM centralizes all information about communication, service enquiries and sales in one place. Everything gets updated, logged in and stored in the central database that is accessible to everyone in the company in as quickly as a few clicks.
- Access the full history of communication
Another major annoyance in customer service is having to ask customers to repeat themselves. Instead, CRM allows your service agents to gain instant access to a full customer record – previous interactions, registered service requests and their resolutions, as well as satisfaction levels of any customer – all in real time.
This allows the agent to quickly address the outstanding issue and provide a better informed, more personalized, quick and, as a result, more efficient service to the customer. Also, this gives transparency on how your team communicates with your customers, and whether or not the service you give is on par with your corporate standards and goals.
- Never forget a customer
Another “no-no” for customer service is to forget a customer is waiting for a solution. This can destroy even the most close relationship you may have with them.
The CRM system allows you to categorize and assign service requests to particular agents, give each inquiry a unique number for easy search, create monitored service queues, set up the minimum and maximum response times, and – most importantly – never forget a customer. The system will automatically alert the manage about unanswered inquires or requests that take too long to process, and escalate them to another service team.
- Personalize your communication
Let’s step aside from the day-to-day work of customer service agents, and refer to the general customer experience a company offers.
From sending more relevant marketing materials and offering personalized products, to simply addressing your customers by their (correct) name – personalization runs the show in customer experience. If you want to establish a true connection with a customer, you need to show that you know them. For that you need to collect a lot of data and have it at your convenient disposal at the right time.
And that’s why you need a CRM – a repository of knowledge that prompts you names, contact details, positions in a company, interests, previous purchases, signed contracts, lost sales, quotes sent, complaints submitted, subscription preferences, etc. – making personalization easy and natural.
- Speed up your communication
Customers love prompt replies to their queries.
CRM allows you speed up your communication in service, marketing and sales, by offering ready-made templates, that allow you to handle more inquiries of similar nature at one time. You can also make sure that your written communication and documentation stays consistent, sounds and looks in line with your brand. And when it comes to customer service, reply templates allow you to quickly create a customized response tailored to a specific situation and save time significantly.
- Keep in touch and follow up
Today’s customers are quite picky. They require attention and exclusive treatment. It’s all because they have a wide choice of options before them and switching vendors and providers is no longer a big deal.
That’s why business need to regularly keep in touch with their customers to stay top of mind and prevent churn. The same goes in customer service – just solving an issue for the customer is not enough, you need to show that you care by sending follow-up surveys to ask for their opinions and polls to rank your services. A CRM systems helps you segment your customers, create mailing lists and send highly targeted, personalized follow-up surveys.
- Handle requests on social media
Did you know that 65% of customers now use social media for customer service?
As a result companies around the world use social media channels to handle customer service requests. And customers know and use that! So, if you ignore them on social media, they will just … leave.
CRM can help you prevent churn and avoid complaints by collecting service requests from all your social media accounts and routing them into one customer service database.
With a CRM system you can set up alerts every time a conversation about your brand takes place in social media. This way you won’t miss if something good or bad was said about you.
In a nutshell, you can deal with all inquiries in a systematic and quick manner to make sure that all people reaching out to you receive attention and difficult service cases are escalated without delay.
- Mobility and access to self-help resources
Your customers don’t care whether you’re in the office or not. They need answers, and they need them now.
Mobile CRM is one way to make sure you respond to customer service requests on time, even if you’re on the go. Another way is to empower your customers and give them the tools to help themselves.
The emerging trend of self-help is gaining momentum with 40% of consumers preferring self-service to human contact.
And a CRM system can help a lot here. Such things as a CRM built-in Knowledge Base or online Customer Center portal allow customers and partners to find answers to their queries online 24/7 without the need to interact with a company’s representative. Customers can explore FAQs, “how-to” help files or check online community forums on their own, whenever they need it.
- A happy customer service team
Last but not least is the wellbeing of your own customer service team. If service agents are happy, making your customers happy becomes an easy ride.
Don’t forget that a customer service agent is often the face of the company. And if they are happy, your customers will be happy too!
If you give your service agents the right tools that allow them to control incoming enquiries, respond in a timely manner, know whom they are serving, have enough time to provide quality help, know what’s on their plate at each time, etc., then they will be able to make even more customers happy.
The final takeaway
The modern business model is increasingly customer-centric. Every single process revolves around the customer. This means that focusing on the customer is no longer an option, it’s a must.
No surprise that an integrated CRM system that, by definition, puts customer at the forefront of your activities can significantly improve the quality of your company’s customer service and ensure your customers stay loyal to your brand.