In a world dominated by all things social, companies are faced with the challenge of becoming a social enterprise. Many are embracing the social opportunity, but others might give up competitive ground, or worse watch customer base and margins shrink at increasing rates because consumers prefer to do business with companies that engage and are transparent.
There are many facets to the social enterprise, and some are easier to execute than others. Monitoring the twittersphere is not all that difficult. And really, are there any serious companies that do not have Facebook pages? These things are relatively easy to do.
Forrester has recently released the findings of its study – “Navigate the Future of CRM,” which discusses key steps for a successful CRM implementation.
The data is comprehensive, but there are a couple of complementary points that I would like to emphasize for those who contribute and drive CRM strategies in their organizations:
As you build out your CRM plan, consider the customer experience (this sounds very basic, right? You will be surprised how many organizations completely miss this point). Look beyond the tactical execution, and consider the quality of interaction from a customer and an employee’s perspective. These interactions include from self-service to live assisted service, supporting preferred channel(s) for your customers. Consider getting the quality interaction tools to across multiple communication channels.
Keep in mind that a key ingredient to delivering a high-quality customer experience is the ability to provide good information. Often, the information is found in a myriad of systems. By enabling simple, lightweight integrations that automate workflow for employees, companies will allow customer service representatives to provide quality interactions with their customers by accessing current information about them.
Also, take into account that employees require the right tools to provide great customer support. CRM tools are often not something an employee uses in their everyday work process. To get the true voice of the customer, ensure that the all employees have tools to provide customer-focused details. By giving the frontline customer service simple access to the experts inside an organization, it drives them additional resources to answer the customers’ requests accurately and timely.
We live in an increasingly commoditized world and the only way to truly differentiate a company from the competition is by delivering an outstanding customer experience. But how can you do this?
As a consumer, our expectations are pretty simple:
Tell me what I need to know so that I can make the best decision
Be there when I need help, wherever I am
As an employee, our expectations are pretty basic, too:
How can I find the answers to my customer’s questions as quickly as possible?
If I can’t find the right information, how can I find the right expert?
It seems very simple. Yet, companies struggle on delivering the right answers to customers. Data within the enterprise is distributed across a variety of sources – CRM and ERP systems, order tracking applications, multiple knowledge bases etc. At any given moment, customer representatives can have 10 to 15 windows open on their desktop with worn out ‘Alt’+’Tab’ keys.
Guest Author, Esteban Kolsky is the Principal and Founder of ThinkJar
I am constantly asked, especially this time of the year, what is going to happen next year. The question comes from everyone I talk to: practitioners, management, consultants, service providers, and system integrators – even other analysts. And, while it is an interesting exercise to compare notes (we all have our biases and visions of where we are going) to me is far more interesting to aggregate all of them and create a picture of where the industry, the investment, and the growth is going.
The first thing anyone trying to see the future needs to do is to define the market we are forecasting. While Gartner, IDC, and Forrester (as well as Ovum, Frost & Sullivan, and many other analyst firms that track numbers) put Customer Service around $3.5 Billion, the reality is that there are three markets (or rather, sub-markets if you may) that work differently, grow at different rates, and are even investing in different things.
The customer service industry continues to undergo a transformation through recent consolidations. While these transactions bring great benefits to the companies involved in M&A activity, they can also create service disruptions for customers.
Forrester’s Kate Leggett noted in a blog post that issues around service agreement are likely to arise when companies involved in M&A activity have disparate approaches to product vision, sales strategy, and especially corporate culture. Esteban Kolsky, ThinkJar, emphasized in an analysis that the recent M&A activity signals a very healthy customer service market as vendors seek accelerated growth, and Ray Wang, Constellation Research, cautioned customers impacted by M&A deals to request additional guarantees for service level commitments.