Answering the call with CRM


Delivering exceptional customer service

Each time a customer contacts your call centre, your relationship with that customer hangs in the balance. It's a moment of truth.

That experience forms their impression of your business. Make it outstanding and they will likely remain a happy, loyal and profitable customer. But provide a bad experience and they may well take their business elsewhere.

To get it right, your call centre staff need the right tools at their fingertips. For a wide range of businesses large and small, customer relationship management (CRM) systems are proving to be the answer. But before we examine what CRM can do, let’s look at what makes a good call centre experience in the first place.

What do customers want?

Whether it’s a customer, prospect or a partner on the phone to your call centre, they want one thing: service.

The call itself could be a sales enquiry, a complaint, a request for help or perhaps a query about an invoice. But they expect a response that understands their needs.

As if that wasn't enough, most customers want service that is quick (but not rushed), they want to be treated appropriately and they want to deal with a competent agent – one who knows how to get things done.

Perhaps most importantly, customers want continuity. That means they want your call centre agents to know who they are, what interactions they have had in the past, and how to help without asking the customer to repeat information that they've already provided.

In short, they want a great call centre experience. And the good news is that with the right technology, it's possible to provide one.

Learn more about Salesforce customer service solution Service Cloud:

CRM – the key to connected customer service

With the right technology your call centre agents will be better prepared and more effective and your customers happier. CRM provides that technology.

Cross-channel service

Case management features help to create and track incoming cases, regardless of the channel customers use to contact you. Whether they get in touch by phone, by email or even through social channels like Facebook and Twitter, a case can be tracked from first contact to resolution across whichever channels your customer prefers to use.

Let’s say a customer has searched for a solution in your online community but hasn’t found what they need and decides to call you. With an integrated CRM system this history automatically appears on your agent's screen, showing everything from previous contact details to billing information held in other systems, and perhaps even the products and services the customer has already bought. That's something simple call logging software alone can't do.

The result for the customer is that the agent can sometimes have a solution ready even before answering the call – saving time for both the customer and the agent.

Case collaboration

A powerful customer service application, such as Salesforce, will also help your call centre agents collaborate more effectively. Using Chatter, a Twitter-like employee social network built in to Salesforce, your team can ask questions or respond quickly to other colleagues' queries, meaning customer problems are resolved more efficiently and accurately than ever.

Agents can even use the same system to escalate a case to other agents or subject matter experts, who can be automatically alerted to help provide a speedy solution for the customer.

See Salesforce Communities in action:

Turbo-charged self service

One way to provide quick and effective round-the-clock support for customers is to create an online self-service community. Make your existing knowledge base available online and watch it grow as customers add their own solutions and help one another.

With a self-service community in place customers can get case updates and solutions without picking up the phone. The result? You'll see customer satisfaction and loyalty increase while your service costs go down.

Helping customers on their journey

Your best customers will contact you many times, in many different ways, and will interact with many different people in your organisation. It's from these interactions that your customer relationship is built.

Being able to see the history of these interactions helps you to spot trends and issues that can be built into real business results. Whether it’s adjusting your sales pitch slightly or adding an extra level of lead nurturing to your marketing automation process, the insights gained from trackable customer service can drastically improve the customer journey.

See how you can integrate CRM and Social Media

The Virtual Call Centre

The traditional call centre set-up suits many different types of company. But among many organisations – especially small and medium ones – there's a trend towards virtual call centres, using cloud technology to make it all possible.

In a virtual call centre your agents can work from anywhere. The only tool they need is a web connection to the case management system,

which routes calls to them and provides all the features of traditional call centre helpdesk software.

That means that even in a small business everyone is immediately available to help customers, whether they are in the office, at home or on the move. And in larger businesses, when things get busy, extra agents based at home can be brought online in an instant.

Measuring call centre effectiveness with CRM

The data available from an automated call handling system gives you access to a whole new range of insights. Here are just a few of the metrics that call centres are learning to use to drive service improvements.

Average handle time (AHT)

AHT tells us how much time is devoted to each customer query. This is measured by tracking the length of time an agent spends editing an active case screen – something that CRM systems like Salesforce can do extremely accurately.

The lower the number, the better: the less time an agent spends managing each individual case, the more queries they can resolve.

Due to its at-a-glance nature, AHT is a very common method of measuring a contact centre’s overall efficiency.

Average interactions

This is the average number of inbound and outbound messages occurring in open cases within a set period. This includes phone calls, emails, social media messages and more – all of which are tracked by your CRM.

The lower the average number of interactions the better. It means your team is solving cases faster and more efficiently, leaving a happier customer on the other end.

Case reopens

Not all case resolutions are final. A case will be reopened if a customer, whose past query is thought to be resolved, gets back in contact with the call centre (or an agent manually reopens it themselves). The case will then be marked with an Open or Pending status.

The case reopens metric tells us exactly how many times this has happened. If this number is growing then something is clearly wrong, and cases aren’t being resolved to complete customer satisfaction. Ideally, queries should be resolved, and then stay resolved.

Why choose Salesforce for your call centre?

When it comes to selecting a specific solution, Salesforce is the obvious choice. Here are just some of the reasons why:

  • Easy to use
  • With Salesforce in your call centre, you can manage all of your cases faster with a unified agent experience.

  • Build powerful communities

  • Rapid access to knowledge

  • Multi-channel customer service
  • Multi-channel customer service is a whole new ball game. With connected objects and predictive intelligence, Salesforce in your call centre gives you the power to provide the customer service of the future, today.

It’s everything you need. Wherever you are, whenever you want, and on any device.


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