Customer relationship management is an approach to manage a company's interaction with current and potential customers. The objective of the approach is to improve the relationship between the customer and the business to improve retention rates and drive sales. The central element, essential for good customer relationship management is reliable, full-context customer histories, without this data a company would struggle to manage relationships effectively. In this blog, we'll delve in further and look in more detail at why it's important to manage customer interactions effectively across the whole business.
Let's kick off with some common scenarios where customer interaction histories are important in sustaining positive customer relationships.
1. The Sales Person
If you are a sales person within a company the last thing you want to do is try and reach out to someone that's already had a bad experience with your company. The one we hear about most often is where a sales person is trying to up-sell to existing customers and doesn't realise that there are open support tickets. You want to have a clear idea what state a given opportunity is in so that you can forecast your next move and turn the opportunity into a sale.
2. The Marketing Person
Similar to in the case of the Sales person, you don't want your marketing team to market products to people that are not happy with your business. You'll want to know information about the customer interactions so that you can tailor your messaging. For instance, if someone expressed interest in a particular product line during a call, you'll want to know about that so that you can include them in a marketing list to promote that product.
3. The Customer Service Representative
This is the person that comes straight to mind when we think about the importance of customer interaction histories. We all know how frustrating it is to repeat the reason for your call, and the story of what you've done to bring you to this point. Customer interaction histories are like gold to a customer service representative, they tell the story of why the customer is calling without them needing to explain.
We won't go into too many examples, as I think we've emphasised the point that customer interaction details are important, but what we really wanted to stress here is that it's important not only for contact centre agents to have an interaction history, but also for a variety of people working in different functions; having a joined up approach where all interactions are available from a central system across the business is essential.
We've stressed the importance, now let's look at the reality... As with most administrative tasks, registering every conversation with the customer can be time consuming, particularly if there's multiple systems in play. At Geomant, we'd recommend using one central system as your CRMs (customer relationship management system) and advise embedding your phone functionality within it; this way, your agents and staff only need to work from one screen.
The benefits of working from one central CRM with telephony functionality embedded are:
- Process simplification: using a single tool where you can track all interactions with customers makes your job easier and faster, without the need of looking up records within multiple systems to get an overall view of your business relationship with a given customer.
- Consolidated customer interaction: - in general, companies will interact with a customer on multiple channels and with multiple participants involved with different roles, marketing, sales, customer service representative, billing and many more, without a consolidated customer view your chances of providing an excellent service with a personalised customer experience are strongly questioned.
- Save time: - if you have all your conversations tracked in a single view, you can spend a lot less time on gathering the scattered information from different persons, departments required to contact your customer.
- Business decision indicators: - management can easily have valuable KPI’s based on the interactions with the customer and can make quick decisions whenever necessary.
As there are a several reasons that give an answer to why we should collect customer activity in our central CRM system, we should also consider what information needs to be collected: Generally speaking we can say that we should collect as much information as possible on a given interaction, with some absolute musts:
- Collect who is calling – this information is required in order to be able to tie the interaction to the relevant business account or contact.
- Collect why is the customer calling – being able to collect if the customer is reaching out regarding a case or because of a new opportunity means that you can better drive your departments, providing relevant data for every role type in your company
- Collect the outcome of the call – business tags are a great way of classifying each call, which can be used in later conversations with the customer and in reports.
- Collect context data such as comments or subjects that were provided during the interaction time – even the transcript of the call.
- Collect any conversation related information – e.g. in case of a call: what is the dial in number, when did the call start, when did the call finish, the duration and direction of the call
- Collect any other relevant channel specific data – such as call identifier, queues, any collected data in the call flow or IVR system, chat source
- Collect the transcript of the conversation such as - call recording, chat transcript or email content
It might seem like there's a lot of information that you need to track, but when you have a system like Desktop Connect, that integrates your Avaya call centre into Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics, you'll find a lot of the information is tracked automatically. Desktop Connect is capable of automatically logging all call events and provides a user with all relevant information including easy access to the call recordings.
If you want to talk to someone about how desktop connect can help your business get in touch now.