One of the most critical relationships in any business is the one with customers. Without customers, there is no business. From an asset perspective, customers are one of the most important, right there behind employees, for many companies. The goal is to keep customers happy. Retaining customers and keeping them happy stands a better chance of success when service and support teams demonstrate that they understand their customers' needs. How should organizations better understand what their customers care about? The answer is easy: leveraging feedback.
Every interaction that a support agent has with a customer is a touchpoint that provides tremendous insight. When consistently captured in a format that is easy to analyze and extrapolate insights from, a CRM system used well can be a competitive advantage for any technical support or service management team. Customer-centric support teams recognize the importance of documenting all relevant interaction details as part of each case. Armed with the right CRM strategy, organizations can establish effective work processes and continuous improvement cultures that leverage data and customer feedback well.
Your CRM Strategy and Customer Value
As part of your team and organization's CRM strategy, what's done with customer feedback and data becomes essential to providing customers with more value. While it's great to support customers by successfully resolving their reason for requesting assistance, the reality is that most people don't want to have to ask for support. Taking interactions, especially repeat interactions, isn't something most support professionals want to do regularly either. When leveraged effectively, case or ticket information can provide a tremendous amount of value, eventually freeing up capacity for the team to tackle more value-added initiatives. Ensure that there is a plan to include the following items as part of your CRM strategy, and customer value will surely increase.
Be mindful of what you are collecting. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on customer privacy. People care about their data. What are the must-haves that are actually required to identify who a customer is? Don't ask for more than you need. While we all want to gain insights into the customer profile, we often ask more questions than required. Tech support professionals ask lots of questions to check a box as part of quality scorecards. Unfortunately, sometimes nothing is done with the data collected. If a data point is not going to be used, remove the requirement for agents to ask that question to customers. Doing so improves the experience for everyone while ensuring only relevant details are captured in CRM.
Eliminate waste. Eliminating waste to ensure that the only things that remain provide value are the essence of Lean continuous improvement. Keep case or ticketing requirements to a minimum. Align with agents and the business on what the essentials are for capturing what happened during an interaction. Anything more than that is over-production, and ultimately, a waste of effort.
Understand trends. What do your customers care about? What are their wants, needs, and pain points? Are there common issues being experienced with particular products, software, or hardware configurations that require a more in-depth investigation? Someone on the team should regularly be reviewing and analyzing what's documented throughout interactions beyond just assessing the quality of the agent. Understanding trends can provide insights into more improvement opportunities and potential self-service prospects.
What do your customers care about?
Address the issues. If customers need support, leaning heavily on tech support or service management teams for troubleshooting, something must be wrong. Could there be fundamental product quality issues? What about improvement opportunities with manuals, website content, or generalized product information? Customers who need support do so because they have hit a wall with the resources available to them. Something is missing. If there is a gap, address the issues by figuring out the root cause, raising those improvement opportunities with the right teams. Doing so might uncover process opportunities to help the broader business enhance their deliverables as well. Use the data in CRM to drive continuous improvement. Take all that data from customers and feed it back into the business to help drive improvements to products and services.
Provide self-service content. Armed with trends and insights, an effort to prioritize developing self-service content should be a regular task within the team. Providing customers with access to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), decision-trees, or support videos on YouTube can be incredibly valuable. Most people would prefer to avoid contacting support. The more curated self-service content can be made accessible to customers, the more time can be freed up. Knowing that dedicated headcount is often at a premium, providing project work opportunities for agents to work on these directly can be a tremendous source of engagement, too. Leverage the content and trends found within your CRM, and it's possible to produce a customer experience that makes it easier for everyone.
There's an abundance of CRM systems used across tech support and service management teams. Whether an organization is using one of the big CRM players, or a company has an older unsupported offering, it's what the company does with customer feedback that makes the difference. Using customer feedback to improve processes, products, and services is essential to creating greater value for everyone, both customers and employees.
Chris Hanna has built and led teams that support the customer experience across a variety of different industries, including a global technical support team. He’s passionate about developing high-potential talent and game-changing cultures, through continuous improvement efforts focused on enhancing both the employee and customer experience. As the founder of Evolving Management, Chris provides solutions to help leaders and companies rethink and evolve their approach to managing. Chris also hosts a business podcast—The Chris Hanna Show—where he shares ways for leaders to improve their impact, productivity, and performance. Connect with Chris on Twitter @chrishannashow, Instagram , LinkedIn, or at [email protected].