For any brand, customer service is essential. How essential? It is estimated that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. So while making sure that customers are satisfied has always been a priority, if you want to keep your business ahead of the curve, a thorough customer experience strategy is more important than ever before.

Not only is customer service increasing in importance, how it functions has also changed dramatically over the past few years — a trend which is set to continue. What sparked this change was the evolution of the digital age, and more specifically, the emergence of social media.

It’s the reason why customer service is just so important to a business these days. Where customer service issues were once a private communication between company and customer, nowadays customer service interactions frequently take place in public forums. Customers who are dissatisfied can openly call out brands for all to see.

This creates a conundrum for customer service managers, and requires a whole new customer service strategy. Since customer service interactions can now take place in person, on the phone, over email, or on social media, it is becoming increasingly necessary to make use of online case management systems.

So what is case management and a case management system? Case management systems allow for a more efficient and a more complete customer service strategy. Any interaction with a customer is considered a “case,” and these kinds of systems allow businesses to track all of these cases and collect them together in one place.

This means that, whether the interaction came from Twitter, Facebook, email, or somewhere else, customer service agents can view and answer them all from the same database, easily categorizing and managing them through a series of convenient tools. This provides the following four benefits to the business.

1. Better understanding of your customers.

According to the Harvard Business Review, 84 percent of individuals said that their expectations had not been exceeded in their last customer service interaction. Using a case management system, customer service reps are able to view customer profiles at a glance, and use their purchase history and previous interactions to provide a more informed answer.

2. Quicker resolution of customer service issues.

One of the main benefits of an automated case management system is the ability to cruise through cases much faster than would otherwise be possible. Customers do not want to wait days for answers to their questions, and businesses want to be able to deal with as many issues as possible in a short period of time, so case management is beneficial for everyone.

3. Find relevant information quickly.

Using automated case management software, customer service reps are also able to find relevant information easily. Many systems will categorize interactions automatically, and provide the ability to further classify or attach customer IDs, meaning the message can reach the best person to aid that customer in the shortest amount of time possible.

4. Greater productivity and efficiency.

Case management systems are often cloud based, with mobile capabilities. This means that it is also an essential productivity tool, allowing employees to access cases on the go, from any device, for 24-hour customer service.

The many benefits of case management have led to the emergence of a highly competitive industry. This can make it difficult to know which is the best case management system for your business. To help you make a better decision, here are a few key features to look out for.

Closing cases faster through a single view system.

The best case management systems should provide ultimate efficiency through a single view interface — no switching tabs or software. The system should also be cloud based, and compatible with all major devices.

Providing smart self service.

Regardless of your product or service, customers are looking for a place where they can immediately resolve their issues. This is why self service portals are an indispensable feature of customer support. The best self service portals will empower customers through easy access to useful articles, FAQs, and a shared customer community.

Personalized customer care.

One of the best things about a case management system is the ability to provide customers with a more personalized customer experience. This is accomplished through analytics, live chat software, access to popular messaging apps, pairing with live agents, and full integration with your website or apps. These features all allow agents to meet customers where they are, on their preferred channel. They can also immediately view a customer profile, with relevant information, past interactions, and so on. This allows the customer to feel fully understood.

Support delivered anywhere.

The best case management systems will enable businesses to meet customers right where they are. Whether they are on a social network, on the phone to a call center, or in a brick and mortar store, agents are able to work with them from a place of knowledge, thanks to personalized profiles that can be linked to purchases, work orders, automatic routing and so on.

Each of these features and more are offered by Salesforce Service Cloud. As well as call center management, all-in-one self service customer portals, personalized employee engagement tools, and analytics that help you to notice trends and make smarter decisions for your business.

Service Cloud also works hand in hand with other Salesforce solutions to achieve a 360 omni-channel view of each customer. This brings about the opportunity for businesses — regardless of size or resources — to create a more personalized journey for each customer, from beginning to end.

Statistics have shown that both physical and digital customer service matter — 70 percent of those helped via social customer service will return as a customer in the future. For a business to succeed in a competitive market, it must join this new age of online customer support.

If you want to find out more about how Salesforce can transform your customer experience, you can view pricing options or schedule a free trial to test it out for yourself.

Ask about Salesforce products, pricing, implementation, or anything else. Our highly trained reps are standing by, ready to help.