It’s not exactly hard to find someone with a bad customer service horror story. Just ask around, and you’ll soon realize that tales of incompetent and unhelpful customer service experiences are everywhere. These stories — from the hilarious to the catastrophic — all have one thing in common. They were all completely avoidable.
In almost every scenario, these customer service headaches are actually the result of poorly planned systems, improper training, corner-cutting budgets, and conflicting priorities within the company itself. Poor customer service doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a failure of structure, strategy, and investment.
The good news is that these problems are fixable. In fact, many of these underlying issues can be addressed by optimizing the company’s technology for customer service. Relatively minor changes to a company’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, for example, can dramatically improve the customer experience (CX).
In this post, we’re going to take a look at three ways your CRM can help your company deliver the positive experience that your customers deserve:
Many companies organize their CRMs around the needs of their sales teams. A well-optimized system allows sales team members to find the information they need quickly and intuitively, streamlining the search process. Many CRMs also have help desk and customer service modules, and you use the same system for both purposes.
However, just because you can use the system for both, doesn’t mean that each team doesn’t have its own needs. Utilizing the same templates across the entire system is a missed opportunity to streamline processes in a way that makes sense for each team. To do their jobs efficiently, customer service reps need CRM templates designed for customer support workflows. It’s often possible to identify these workflow disconnects simply by encouraging customers to leave feedback, noting the problems and delays they encountered during the call. The resulting CRM customizations are often quite affordable to implement, and they can have a significant positive impact on the customer experience.
Without the right training, it’s almost impossible for even the best workers to deliver high-quality customer service. For budgetary reasons, many companies only train their customer service reps on the essentials of the system. They hope they will learn the rest on the job. Or only provide training at the beginning of CRM implementation instead of checking in throughout. Improper training is a bad idea. It often results in poor customer service. Even if these reps have a solid grasp of basic CRM tasks — confirming orders or updating contact information — they may have no experience with more advanced CRM functions.
As a result, when an irate customer calls in with an uncommon or obscure problem, these reps may have no idea how to resolve it. This puts the rep in the awkward situation of trying to urgently find the technical help they need, while also trying to manage an increasingly upset customer. In effect, it’s setting these reps up for failure while also creating a “bad” customer experience. Proper training with some kind of reward for a job well done is often the best “one-two punch” you need for success.
Many of the worst customer experience stories start with the most basic of failures. The customer service rep can’t find the account because they spelled the customer’s name wrong. Or a typo in an account results in some needless billing fiasco. Even with our advanced technologies, customers are still waging a daily war against human error.
When possible, use your CRM and other technology to remove your customer service reps from the mundane, repetitive, and error-prone activities of the job. If a process can be automated, such as entering an account number or looking up basic customer data, automate it. Save your well-trained customer service reps for tasks that require human-level intelligence, empathy, and problem-solving. Not only is this more cost-effective, but it’s also one of the best ways to create positive customer interactions.
A surprising number of businesses treat their customer service strategies as an afterthought. They only decide to take corrective action when their customer experience issues result in high churn rates and lost revenues. Bad customer support can also turn into a PR nightmare, with unhappy customers taking to social media to vent their anger and frustration.
That said, it’s always possible to turn things around. At Faye, we’ve helped countless businesses break free from the poor customer service cycle. Contact us for a free consultation to learn how we can help.