Call centre CRM for modern 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.


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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 customer service made easy

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 management and collaboration

A customer service application 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.

Making customer service 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.


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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, you can manage all of your cases faster with a unified agent experience, no need to log into or learn to use multiple systems.
  • Build powerful communities: Saleforce's customer service solutions allow customers to help themselves and each other. Wherever they are and whatever device they’re on, communities give them the tools for self-service troubleshooting.
  • Rapid access to knowledge: Quickly search your knowledge base for relevant answers, or make it easy for customers to do it themselves. Either way, your customers get the answers they need, exactly the way they want to get them.
  • Omni-channel customer service: Omni-channel customer service is a whole new ball game. Whatever channels your customers are using, Salesforce brings it all together in a centralised console so you can deliver the most effective and efficient customer service possible. 

That’s a lot of info!

Here’s what you should take away from this article:

  • What do customers want from customer service representatives? When it comes to customer service, customers want a quick, personal response that understands their needs.
  • How does CRM improve customer service? CRM improves customer service by enabling cross-channel interactions, boosting collaboration and providing businesses with a single view of their customer.
  • What’s a virtual call centre? A virtual call centre is a customer service call centre that exists in the cloud, enabling agents to work from anywhere and at any time. 
  • How do you measure call centre effectiveness with CRM? CRM can measure call centre effectiveness by tracking average handle time, total case reopens and the average number of interactions.
  • Why choose Salesforce for your call centre? Salesforce enables call centres to build powerful communities, have real-time access to customer info and create seamless omni-channel journeys.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is call center CRM?

Call centre CRM is software used by call centres to better manage customer relationships. CRM provides call centres with relevant information in real-time, enabling their agents to get a single view of the customer, improve efficiency, and offer personalised customer experiences across a range of channels.

What software do call centers use?

Call centres use CRM software to track customer interactions and preferences, and then provide their employees with real-time information about those customers. CRM software offers a number of benefits for call centres, enabling them to provide more efficient, effective and personal customer service across a range of different touchpoints.

What makes a good contact centre?

A good contact centre provides the one thing the customer wants: effective service. Customers expect a quick response that understands their needs, they want to be treated appropriately, and they want to deal with a competent agent. Perhaps most importantly, customers want continuity. A good contact centre will offer all these things.

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