Published: September 30, 2020 | Comments
As a consultant, I have the opportunity to work alongside some of the top brands in the world. Over time, it becomes easy to spot trends based on market changes and conversations with clients. I believe we have entered into a significant opportunity for investment within our contact center industry. The goal should be to make sure that investment actually improves the customer experience in a sustainable way.
As companies deal with COVID-19, there is a renewed interest in improving the support and service provided by their contact centers. This has been brought on by the real crisis in customer care we all have witnessed. By now, we have all called a company where the wait time can be an hour or more. An hour-long wait time means stressed-out agents and stressed-out leaders, which might make the C-suite more receptive to investment to bring about improvements in customer care.
With this situation comes a need to “fix it fast” – and that typically means spending money on technology. While this is an opportunity to finally get that new technology you have been eyeing for years, it may also be a good time to upgrade where you have already invested – in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
Here are several suggestions for investment to upgrade your CRM:
Make customer experience the focus as a first step.
Instead of starting with the technology, start with the experience and work outside in. Here is how:
- Start by talking directly with your frontline agents and employees. This will help you create several hypotheses about where you need to improve.
- Next, validate those ideas directly with your customers. You might need to consider engaging a consulting firm to engage your customers.
- Also, build customer journey maps. Customer segmentation and touchpoint maps will help you tell the story to others within the company. Seek to understand more about the specifics of which customer pain points you are trying to solve.
Focus on improving processes to better use the CRM functionality versus trying to customize the CRM to fit your processes.
Confirm where processes are out-of-sync and where technology changes are necessary. This is the right time to talk with your CRM vendor about new capabilities and discover how new CRM functionality can be updated to allow your agents to engage customers better. Many CRM vendors offer a “health-check” program where they review your application through the lens of their work at other similar companies. Most customers find this money well spent.
In most cases, if you think about a process through the lens of the customer, and make improvements, then internal cost savings or productivity gains will follow.
Consider investing in other vendors to enhance your CRM.
The world of Cloud Telephony and digital channel migration allows companies to rethink customer support through a self service lens. Knowledge management can now really support customer-validated portals at most advanced contact centers. Chatbots – within both voice and digital channels – are now saving companies millions of dollars annually. A well-placed chatbot, both internally and externally, allows for customers to chat about questions while also allowing for the system to do complex service workflows before hand-off to a live agent.
During these chaotic times, use the added focus from the C-suite to spend your time and money effectively. Look for the best ways to drive both productivity and efficiency, while also improving the customer experience. Taking the time to create a CRM improvement plan isn’t moving chairs around on the deck of the Titanic; it may allow you to create a ship that misses the iceberg all together!