Many types of systems are being repositioned as CRM, even though they play only a part in successful customer relationship management. In some ways it is easier to describe what CRM is not. CRM isnothandling advertising response; CRM is not sales contact management; CRM is not the segmentation of customers for sales campaigns; customer service centres also do not deliver true CRM. Rather, it is managing the customer life cycle to reduce the risk of defection. It is a method of dealing with customers so that they buy more from you, or, at worst, they do not buy less.
Focusing Organisation Structure On The Customer
This change must happen in order for CRM to work effectively. The database must be organised around the customer rather than product, and the customer must become the focus of all sales contact, in fact of every point of the organisation which has any contact with customers. Customer contact includes the front end of sales through to fulfilment; how businesses deal with the environment of the company site and those that live around it; even the way customers respond to the advertising of company products and services.
The Call Centre As Front End Of CRM
Customer Relationship Management(CRM) systems are hailed as the answer - systems which will allow organisations to foster loyalty as effectively as possible. Though the term CRM is not new, confusion over what it means still reigns.
Until fairly recently, call centres have been used mostly for picking up advertising response or, at their most sophisticated level, as customer service lines. Call centres, whether in-house or outsourced, must be enabled to become customer relationship or customer contact management centres, using the increasingly powerful call centre systems which are on the market.
New CRM Systems
Using information from the underlying databases, different information and prompts are presented to the call agent depending on the caller's profile, rather than on what products are being pushed at that time, or which products the customer has not yet bought. In fact the process is even more interactive now - the caller's live answers will dynamically steer the path of the call. Today's systems will prompt different suggestions, offers or simply remarks that the operator should make to the caller, depending on an instant reappraisal of that caller's profile.
In other words, technology is making it possible to put the most up-to-date and relevant information on the call handler's screen, at the moment they need it, and in the form they need it. This is true, even if that piece of information has had to be retrieved as a result of information given by the caller a few seconds previously. As a consequence, call centres no longer need to treat callers as unknown entities. Instead, each enquirer should feel they are being treated as a known and valued customer, appropriate offers and messages are put in front of that customer each time they ring, and customer relationships are thereby better managed.
Tracking And Fulfilment
In order for this to work, every person involved in the process is made to take responsibility for their role in processing the enquiry. This ranges from the agent who takes the in-bound call, to the fulfilment of the requirement, to the agent who makes the subsequent outbound customer service call. Standards and objectives are set, such as answering every call within 5 rings, or responding to a complaint within a week. If a query becomes 'stuck in the pipe line', automatic escalation triggers ensure it is flagged for special attention to prevent it growing into a serious problem. Using this workflow, difficult queries or complaints will not circulate around organisations for weeks - instead, those with the responsibility for each stage have to make sure it has been completed satisfactorily.
In order for this model to work well, it is worth investing in people skills at all levels of the organisation. Only when every link in the chain is working toward their customer service requirement can CRM work successfully. At the micro level, each customer interaction should be managed from first contact to its conclusion. On a macro-scale, the life cycle of a customer's long-term relationship with the organisation will become more measurable, controllable and potentially profitable.
CRM is here to stay as a concept. And it is a concept which can deliver tangible benefits both large and small. However, before launching into a CRM systems choice, some basic first moves should be made. Most critical is to analyse where you interact or communicate with the customer, and how complex or straightforward those interactions are. Only by following this method can a suitable CRM strategy be built, objectives set, and a CRM system chosen to fulfil those objectives.
Noetica is a software development company specialising in intuitive, user friendly software for contact centres. Our software platform, Synthesys, is a comprehensive package that provides almost everything you will ever need in order to run and manage a successful, effective and efficient call centre operation. Developed over many years and incorporating a wealth of knowledge and experience of the call centre market, Synthesys is designed to reduce reliance on IT and empower the business functions to become autonomous and extremely agile by delivering integrated applications to the agents’ desktop intelligently and in record time.
Published: Friday, January 17, 2003
CrankWheel Screen Sharing
CrankWheel is an easy and simple screen sharing solution, made for the needs of salespeople and customer service agents.
CrankWheel complements voice calls by adding visuals to ongoing calls. There is no need to get the customer off the phone, onto another platform.
Agents share their screens by directing clients to a link that can be sent via SMS, email or simply spelled out.
The client can enter on any device, mobile, desktop or tablet and enters the session instantly. There is no registration or download required by the client.
- Screen sharing
- Agents can hand control over to the client
- Warm lead capture widget that alerts the sales team instantly of an intere...