How to think like a detective about customer relationship management in order to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Think of how many gruesome crimes have been solved thanks to the ingenious efforts of criminal profilers. These experts are able to make predictions about the type of person that may have committed a crime based on certain characteristic actions and clues.
While your customers are (ideally) not to be found on any criminal “most wanted” list, your contact centre can provide improved customer service by taking a clue from forensic experts: analyzing and predicting behaviour with the use of a smart customer relationship management (CRM) system. The 2014 Call Center Executive Priorities Report found customer experience to be contact centres’ number one investment area, with 68 percent of businesses reporting that they intend to increase their spending on customer management in 2014.
In the contact centre space, we often throw around the term “CRM” with abandon, reducing its meaning to only cover a software program. In reality, however, CRM is a much larger concept. Changing our perspective on CRM and thinking of it as the actual management of our relationships with customers rather than simply a computer program can go a long way toward gathering much more valuable information – clues, if you will – about the customers we’re aiming to satisfy.
Far beyond just computer software, the process of customer relationship management includes:
- So-called “soft” attitudinal data collected from post-contact surveys that can help you and your team to collect and analyze vital clues about your customers: their levels of satisfaction and attitudes about your services, your sales team, and your brand. These clues may even help predict future purchasing behaviour and reveal to your business what your customers want before they know they want it!
- A more complete picture of the customer: like a team of top cops looking for a criminal on the lam, the wealth of customer information collected in your comprehensive CRM process – including previous purchases and details of interaction across all channels – “clues” you in.
- Happier, more loyal customers: Once you’ve got a well-oiled CRM machine up and running, your agents will be able to expedite sales and service calls. Service win!
A careful record of each interaction and the customer’s attitude about it will help you to more accurately predict future behaviour. Like an expert criminal profiler, you’ll be able to foresee what your current customers will do in the future and even where to find more of them.
Customer Service in a Digital Age
Today’s consumers are empowered with a wealth of information on their smartphones and expect lightning-speed service delivered with a smile. When they don’t get it, they’re not shy about sharing their negative experiences with their friends; unfortunately, in the social media age, the “friends” with whom they share can number in the thousands.
We’ve established that CRM software isn’t the only component of the larger process of managing your relationship with customers. But in a digital age, it’s impossible to underestimate the centrality of a good system. Here are a few reasons your new, more comprehensive approach to this process still needs the support of a quality CRM software platform:
- A more personal approach: instant access to an entire customer history and all vital contact information at the click of a few keys means agents can make callers feel valued without having them repeat the same identifying information again and again.
- Key details from CRM can help more effectively route calls: a smart CRM will allow agents to route callers to their preferred department or even a VIP line, all based on their customer history and past interactions.
- Reduced handle time: when agents have access to every bit of valuable customer information at their fingertips, there’s no need to ask for repeat information or wade aimlessly through confusing customer history and data. Quicker, more effective call handling can improve FCR and put your contact centre on the path to swifter, smoother service.
Thinking Like a Profiler
To maximize the effect of new CRM software, it’s important to broaden our perspectives on what exactly managing the customer relationship really means. It’s no longer enough to rest on the laurels of good software while neglecting the larger picture. Shifting your perspective to that of a forensic profiler will help you and your team to approach each customer interaction with a fine-toothed comb, teasing out valuable details that help to streamline service over the life of your relationship with your customers. For more details on how to create a first-class customer experience in your contact centre, consider downloading our free white paper.