Many successful businesses are changing the way they approach customer service. Using technology such as a customer relationship management solution, they are able to keep track of every contact point with their clients making this available to the entire organisation.
Going beyond the traditional use of CRM software for sales and marketing, many companies are integrating their customer service processes to give themselves a competitive edge. Customer needs are at the core of any business wanting to differentiate themselves and grow revenue and profit. Satisfied clients have a level of credibility well beyond what your sales and marketing strategies can deliver. As such, it is not only the quality of the product or service initially purchased that influences them, it is the after sales service with care and attention to detail that separates one from the other.
Even the best of products and services have issues from time to time. The way you handle those issues or complaints will determine whether your customer continues doing business with you and how they talk about your products and brand in your marketplace.
Maintaining a repository of all your customer interactions including sales, marketing and customer service will help your staff have a more complete historical picture of the entire business you have with each client.
Complaint tracking has for some time been used quality improvement. Companies with a good historical perspective of their products and services can make effective change based on the data and trends available. However, today, speed in complaint resolution is essential and having a history of problems and the resolution allows customer service staff either to fix the problem immediately or pass it to the right people. At all times, the customer can be kept abreast of the status, so too the right people in your business.
The key areas to concentrate on getting right are:
- Record every case
History of customer contact is important; they will remember it and you should be aware of it. History is the catalyst for change, be that in product or processes. To improve the quality of your offering you will have the facts at hand to make a considered judgement of what changes need to be made, how quickly and the cost of not doing so.
- Track/monitor complaints
Recording every time your client’s contact you on each issue as it is a true indication of the level of pain that your customer is having if you cannot resolve it quickly. The urgency of your client can then be matched to the time and resources you need to place on solving the problem.
- Escalate cases effectively
If a problem cannot be solved immediately, escalation procedures need to be in place that will quickly provide an answer or a pathway to resolution. In this case, your internal processes must be well defined and automated through the system. Monitoring the situation and automatic further escalation keeps problem resolution in the spot light. Just where you client’s want it to be.
- Provide resolutions quickly
Having a problem is inconvenient to both you and your client. However, the speed at which you resolve a problem, your understanding of the affect this is having can often influence the perception of your products and brand for each client. They will talk about how quickly you respond and resolve issues and this have a very positive affect.
Increasing use of technology by your clients can also impact you dramatically if you don’t get customer service working effectively. With the ever growing use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and online review portals, your brand can quickly take a battering and be seen by anyone who is researching the internet. No longer will clients write to you complaining of lack of service, they will write to everyone electronically and it is close to impossible to stop. At the same time, great customer service that is attentive to your customer’s needs and is accompanied by fast responses and a speedy resolution can positively impact your business.
Using your CRM software whether that is an in house or web based CRM software solution in a more versatile and flexible manner can easily increase your return on investment. More importantly, it gives your people and your organisation a level of business intelligence that has not been so readily available in the past.
Now CRM is not only the repository for your client details and history, not only does it provide you the ability to forecast sales, but it gives you a clear indication of the quality of your products and the value they have to your clients.
|Antony Dutton is Managing Director of Aaromba, CRM software & service management software specialists. Aaromba designs solutions to improve sales and marketing using Microsoft CRM Software, web based CRM software and Goldmine CRM.
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