Why Every Business Needs Customer Service Management

These tools and best practices make customer service management easier for your customers and team.

Customer service is vital to any company. A great — or less-than-great — experience can have a major effect on your business. Whether you have a customer success team in place at a Fortune 500 company or you’re the CEO of a 50-person operation, how you handle your patrons or users matters at every stage, no matter your role.

So, how do you get started?

You need to develop good processes for managing your customers and their information. You also want to handle service in a way that keeps your customers happy. When a company is just starting, it’s easy to handle the customer service needs of the first few customers. As your customer base grows, however, you need to have systems in place to continue providing customer service at an excellent level. Putting a proper customer service management strategy together early means you’ve set the bar high to exceed customer expectations.

Thankfully, there are tools and best practices that make customer service management easier — for both consumers and your team.

What Is Customer Service Management?

First, make sure your team understands what customer service management means. Investopedia describes customer service as a “direct, one-on-one interaction between a consumer making a purchase and a representative of the company” involved in the transaction. This touchpoint is crucial to ensure buyer satisfaction, encourage return business, and, ideally, get customers to spread the word about your business in person and online. According to Salesforce Research, 73% of customers said an extraordinary experience from one company raises their expectations of experiences from other companies. This is especially important because in today’s digital world, it’s easy to shop around and buy someplace else.

Customer service is an important part of customer relationship management (CRM). It’s a way for companies to manage their relationships with customers. When a business has fast, easy access to customer information, it can better strategize and control its interactions with them. This helps companies improve customer loyalty and retention by exceeding customer expectations with great service.

A CRM system can be a great deal of help here. The right tool stores key customer data such as purchase history, preferences, and contact information.

How Technology Improves Customer Service

Technology improves your customer service in a number of ways. It’s not a replacement for every human interaction — but it can be a game-changer for you.

Here are four key areas in which technology helps your customer service efforts:

  1. Organization: Software makes it easy to collect, organize, and store customer data. A good CRM tool can segment your customers and help you create relevant campaigns, make better marketing and sales decisions, and watch for trends in customer needs.
  2. Time: With technology, your conversations with buyers and prospects are more efficient and productive. Customer support tools enable you to connect with customers around the clock and get back to them more quickly.
  3. Costs: When you free up employee time, your team members are empowered to work on important projects that require a human touch. The technology may require a large upfront investment, but it pays for itself over time by decreasing customer churn and increasing customer win rates.
  4. Efficiency: On top of saving time and money, technology can automate many of your customer service operations. This lets you move faster, provide better, more accurate solutions, and serve more people.

Six Examples of Technology in Customer Service Management

Today’s world is more connected and online than ever. More than 81% of Americans have a smartphone, while 52% have a tablet and 74% own a desktop or laptop computer. That means consumers have access to you — and your competitors — all day, every day, and through a variety of devices. That’s why technology investments are more important than ever before.

Six technologies that help companies provide high-quality customer service include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software
  • Marketing automation
  • Omni-channel workflow management
  • AI-powered chatbots
  • Social media
  • Video

Let's briefly look at each of the six, with suggestions for how to incorporate them into your company's efforts.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

A CRM system is a solid way to manage your leads and customer contact information. Managing customer information is especially important for a larger company with sales, marketing, and customer service teams. A well-organized CRM system helps your team keep tabs on communications, subscriptions, purchases, and more — all critical when it comes to corresponding with your customers.

Marketing Automation

Be proactive with your customer service by connecting your marketing system to your customer service. This allows you to set up automated email or even SMS messages to welcome new users with helpful blog posts, tips, or answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ). Many automation platforms also include analytics and reporting functionality, so you can A/B test messaging and send tailored product recommendations. By connecting marketing with service, you are continually engaging with your customers.

Omni-Channel Workflow Management

No matter how customers reach out for support, they want the person on the end of the other line to understand their entire situation. Omni-channel workflow management helps you connect your customers’ support tickets across multiple channels. That way, if a customer reaches out on social and email for the same issue, your service team has visibility into the customer’s request, including the customer’s history with your company.

AI-Powered Chatbots

A chatbot is an application that simulates human conversation, either aloud or via text message. Instead of having a conversation with a person, like a customer service agent, a customer can have a conversation with a computer. Whether through typing or talking, a chatbot can connect with a customer to help answer simple questions like the status of an order or if an item is in stock. Chatbots also help your agent productivity by answering customer questions or gaining information, like an order number, even before an agent jumps into a ticket. This shortens the time it takes an agent to close a case immensely. In addition to streamlining communication, you can also use chatbots to encourage users to sign up for your newsletter, provide recent blog posts, and generate more qualified leads.

Social Media

Social media is a relatively easy, low-cost way to use technology for your company’s customer service management. Depending on the size of your business and the kinds of customers you serve, there are different approaches you might consider for getting started with social for customer service. A few examples:

  • Send Twitter direct messages (DMs) to customers who need support so you can help them privately, but on a platform they already use.
  • Leverage social channels to post support updates that all of your followers will see.
  • Post basic “1-2-3” how-to content to social channels, linking to support articles or videos on your own website when more detailed instruction is required.

When considering using social media for customer service, think about which platform(s) will best fit your needs. Do you already have a strong following on one or more of the platforms? Or, do you know that most of your customers prefer one platform to the rest? Meeting your customers where they already are is key, as makes it easier for them to engage with your business. Beyond that, bear in mind that each platform has its inherent strengths: Twitter is great for short, news-y updates. Instagram is built around images and videos. LinkedIn is the platform of choice for business-to-business content.

As with any customer service channel, it’s essential to have guidelines in place as far as who on your team can address customers on social media, and how to handle various issues that might crop up.

Video

Videos can be a great way to connect to customers on a more personal level. Your customer service team can record educational videos to introduce users to your products and help troubleshoot common issues. Depending on your company and industry, videos can also be a great way for your brand to have fun and show some personality.

For example, take viewers on a video walk-through of your product or service and shoot some behind-the-scenes footage of your office. This helps with customer service management by personalizing your brand, preemptively answering questions, and reaching leads and customers using a popular medium.

Something Every Business Needs

Whether you have one customer or 1,000, meeting customer needs is critical. While technology can help you implement or improve customer service, putting the right strategies in place is important. Today’s customers aren’t afraid to share their opinions online, from social media to review sites, or offline with their family or friends. The reality is, you must care about customer service because others, including your customers and competition, care about it — and they are vocal about sharing their opinions.

As always, you want to be in control of your company’s reputation. A happy customer is the most important asset your company has.

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