“Does your customer relationship management (CRM) tool get in the way of implementing your customer relationship management strategies?”
So asks the Soffront blogger, and it’s a more perceptive question than might appear at first glance -- unbridled technolust has destroyed many a well-intentioned CRM project.
Here’s one reason. As the blog accurately says, “customers receive communications from sales, marketing and customer service, and these contacts could come in the form of phone calls, e-mails, text messages, or even face-to-face conversations.”
The question, of course, is “Do all the marketing, sales and customer service people know what messages the other ones have sent and received from the customer?” If not, then you’re not doing it right, and the customer can tell.
Many CRM tools require users to navigate to different screens to view various types of contacts from different departments, the Soffront blog says, noting accurately that this “causes delays and confusion, and makes it easy to miss vital information.”
What you want is a CRM tool that will “display the entire communications history with a customer or lead on a single screen,” since as company officials say, knowing the communication you’ve had with a customer, in chronological order, could be critical in gaining a sale or maintaining a customer because information is readily available to all departments.”
Read more here.
Donna Fluss is somebody you want to hear when it comes to the hosted call center space, and she’s offered what she sees as some of the changing needs and expectations for customer service.
Perhaps one of her most salient observation is that “‘going social’ is more than a way to share thoughts and ideas; it is a new way of communicating and interacting.” True enough, but most organizations still don’t have much of a clue how to best use social media, especially when it comes to customer service. They have a vague sense that it’s something they need to be doing, but exactly what, well, they don’t know.
So Fluss identifies seven “activities and actions” that organizations can consider as ways to incorporate social media into their customer service and contact center organizations:
“Put together a committee with members from sales, marketing and service, and build a social media strategy; the strategy specifies who is responsible for responding to social media feedback and how to use it on a proactive basis.” Useful as long as the committee doesn’t become hopelessly ineffectual through lack of leadership and focus, as committees can be.
Read more here.
Thanks to you, Contactual, for your quick and solid list of the five questions we need to be asking when we’re evaluating call center technology:
What is the primary purpose of this call center? Call center applications vary from order desks to IT help desks to telesales. Which application best fits your business process units? Does your application require complex queues and/or interactive voice response (IVR) scripts? Or, if you are in regulated industries like health care or finance, call recording is required legally.
What issues prompted the need to evaluate your call center now? Don’t skip over this step, it’s more important than you might think at first blush. Do you have an internal PBX system that frequently fails, causing dropped calls, lost sales opportunities, and irritated customers? Does the cost of maintaining an outdated, outmoded call center system outweigh the benefits of retaining and updating it? Is it time to expand to multiple locations or leverage new technology to add remote agents without adding a lot of overhead?
Read more here.
Sitel, a provider of call center outsourcing tools has produced a fairly wide-ranging white paper titled “Global Sourcing: (From) Return to Profitability. Your path to turn your service and support contact center into a customer-centric profit center.”
And the paper’s exactly what the title promises it would be. Lots of good stuff packed in the study, and rather than give a quick overview of all topics it covers, which include going beyond just reducing costs, turning theoutsourced contact center into a way to increase profits, improving the return on your customer investment and how the evolution of the contact center is changing the client/provider relationship, it also deals well with “what drives the return you receive on your customer investment and what you can do to maximize it.”
Let’s take a more in-depth look at that one area, although the entire paper is certainly well worth the read. The drivers of the return are fairly basic – cost and revenue factored together.
Read more here.