How to Improve Customer Experiences by Harnessing Your Data
Consistently delivering a service that wows customers and keeps them loyal is what every company aspires to. Yet attaining these goals is made significantly more challenging, and often unrealistic, when critical business data is stored in a silo, closed off from other systems.
In order to empower everyone within an organisation to delight customers by being proactive and provide amazing service, a clear and complete view of each relationship is essential. For this to be achieved, all customer data must be connected.
CRM technology has the capability to provide the coveted 360°relationship view enabling users to discover new insights and make continual service improvements but this must first be connected to other applications and data sources.
In scenarios where data is fragmented, time is wasted each day in completing routine tasks reducing productivity and restricting meaningful analysis. In this post we are focusing on the impact for service quality to demonstrate how connected data is a game changer in transforming the customer experience (CX).
What Does This Look Like?
Keeping in Touch
Core CRM functions enable users to schedule follow-up calls as well as segment the database to target email newsletters and other bulk communications. These lists can be defined to reflect each audiences. For example, all active customers, contacts in defined job roles, or perhaps people working in a specific industry.
By having email marketing connected with CRM, you can take content personalisation to another level by combining tracked behaviour with demographic data and using these insights to send increasingly targeted messages.
In tracking each interaction in one place, including phone calls, email clicks and posted forms, your CRM system helps you understand which customers are most engaged. This may highlight improving or deteriorating trends prompting you to make a direct approach and discover what's changed.
Also, embedded intelligence keeps an eye on your daily actions and communications to generate action cards. This machine learning capability for Dynamics 365 includes prompts that suggest when it might be time to reach out to a contact who's been inactive for a while.
Online Self Service
Through a web portal, your customers can find solutions, make service requests and update information online.
An integrated portal means that customers can log cases at any time which are handled in CRM the same way as support tickets logged by phone. Customers no longer need to make phoning or emailing the default action when they can quickly check the status of active cases online. In other instances, some issues will be deflected before they are logged as online knowledge resources supply the required answers.
With the additional ability to browse selective reports and charts that are powered from CRM and update personal data through this interface, web portals create a new channel enabling customers to transact on their own terms.
However service issues are logged, agents are better able to respond quickly and resolve these using a connected system that provides instant access to the following detail:
- Account profile - what products are in use, what type of contract is place, what is the SLA on this account?
- Details of previous cases logged on this account - is this a recurring issue?
- Communications history - access any relevant notes, completed activities and recent tracked emails
- Knowledge articles - instructions and best practices to resolve frequently encountered issues
On the sales and marketing side, by connecting web forms, for example an 'enquire now' form, sign-up form or a gated PDF, these entries will be automatically posted in CRM. As a result, users aren't side-tracked by data entry and can focus on the next best action, or relying on automated messages that will share further contextual information to progress these leads.
Actively Collect Customer Feedback
Collecting feedback should be a continual process to understand how your service is perceived by discovering what customers like about it, and what should improve.
Automated survey requests can be built into routine processes for timely invitations that are triggered upon the completion of support cases, training courses, field service visits and many other customer engagements.
Various connected survey solutions are available and with each response automatically connected to an associated CRM contact record it, customer ratings, suggestions and feedback can be instantly assessed. With complete survey detail in CRM, multiple responses can be segmented to analyse, interpret and act on this data.
Offer Customers What They Really Need & Want
By having complete relationship data in one place, account managers are able to review activity and use these insights to anticipate future requirements and make informed recommendations.
Using regular CRM functionality, details of recent quotes, leads and opportunities can easily be assessed in one place. As we've already highlighted, with a connected system account managers can also prepare for customer interactions with access to email engagement data, visibility of recent service cases and completed surveys.
Further insights will be gained by connecting CRM with an ERP / accounts system enabling account managers to explore financial relationships. For example, what balance is outstanding, is an account on credit hold, what was the most recent order?
For customers that use a metered product or service, this consumption can be tracked in CRM. By connecting this data, usage can be easily reviewed and personalised recommendations made, either in person or perhaps through automatically triggered emails. In the event of low consumption, reminders can be shared promoting the greater benefits of increased usage. On the flip-side, for high consumption recommendations for purchasing increased capacity or a higher tier service could also be made.
Connecting usage and performance data in CRM that captured from equipment supplied to customers can also change the approach to maintenance. Active monitoring can be combined with automated processes that can trigger proactive follow-up calls or field service visits when potential issues are identified or when maintenance work is needed.
Recognise & Reward Your Top Customers
Aside from knowing which accounts spend the most money, you may also want to factor in which customers refer the most business, which contacts consistently share your content, who has completed your surveys, how many events they have attended, or taken the time to act as a reference site which has helped you win new orders.
Each of these interactions can be stored in CRM, or connected to it, so that most valuable or influential accounts are always easily identifiable and can be rewarded.
Connect CRM with a social listening tool that reports what your customers are saying across Facebook and Twitter to better understand your market and respond quickly to new opportunities and requests posted on these channels.
Track how sentiment changes over time through automatic analysis and leverage the power of AI to detect intent within social posts that will help you identify new leads or service issues. For example, if a complaint or service question is posted on Social, a CRM case can be created directly from this entry and routed to service teams for urgent attention.
Act on Service Trends
Another increasing example of using AI to improve CX is through artificial intelligence powered insights across case trends and service desk health. For example, this enables service managers to see:
- What are most frequent type of service issues logged
- Which issues have an increasing trend
- What issues are taking the longest to resolve
Armed with this insight, service managers can take action to protect the customer experience. This might include, additional mentoring for individual users, creating new knowledge base content that will help cut resolution times, and liaising with other departments to accelerate product or process fixes to reduce the impact of these service issues.
Many studies in recent years have reported an increasing trend in customer experience being the key differentiator in buying decisions which this now more significant than either price or product.
As this post has highlighted, in order to nail the customer experience, the foundations must first be laid with a scalable CRM system. This must be a hub consolidating or connecting all the essential data within your organisation that your people need to make sure that service quality is competitive advantage.
Preact implements Dynamics 365 to help small and mid-sized companies achieve these CX improvements through smarter processes. Increasingly we are leveraging the Microsoft Power platform to connect apps and cloud services which is transforming the ease that workflows can be automated. To find out more and discuss how we can help you improve your service delivery please contact us.