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CRM – An Integrated Solution to Customers’ Needs

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Anyone working for the call center industry could tell you outright how vital it is to keep the customers more than satisfied, from the opening to closing spiels, to the average handle time tabulated by the second – Agents have to meet every metric stringently, all done in the name of keeping the client’s loyalty to the account, and thus, avoiding huge losses caused by high levels of attrition rates when these clients simply walk out of the door.

In a market that is gearing towards a customer-driven consciousness, is it just enough to simply put up a happy face in doing a client transaction? Is molly coddling an irate client into a state of defenseless bliss sufficient in keeping a beneficial relationship with them?

Know thy Customers

Many people have been victimized by sales strategies promising the best product in the market, only to be greatly disappointed with the after-sales service, especially those concerning insurance policies. What seems to be a great buy becomes a nightmarish ordeal, of waiting thirty minutes on cue for a support that would make one run for the cover. If waiting on hold over the phone is not enough nuisance, then one could endure being ranted by the rudest voice ever heard.

This is the reason why these call centers are doing surveys and analyses of customer satisfaction reports from a web-based customer service infrastructure, in order for them to improve their products and services. Marketing organizations had joined forces with these call centers providing them rich customer information and in return, qualifying higher value customers with higher credit class. They now have the knowledge of who could purchase more, of who is capable of extending the contract’s term, since there is an open access to every confidential data of the customer.

    ” Customer Relationship Management ( CRM ) means exactly as it says, ” Bob Lewis, president of IT Catalyst said. CRM is a strategy of treating customers as the asset of the business, and this investment needs the preventive and maintenance measures that it could get. Customer relationship is more than forming an emotional affinity with them, but it is placing great value in this bond so that they wouldn’t take their businesses somewhere else.

Is Real-Time CRM a better option?

Although 60 – 80% of CRMs fail due to deadline and budget issues, there are plenty of vendors in the market offering quality CRM Software that promises reduced IT and maintenance costs. There are numerous trustworthy firms to choose from that guarantee a better service through system automation.

Many had asked how much money they had to spend for this system and will they ever receive better returns. There are three possible answers to these concerns: the firm could increase their profits, make it to a break-even point, or in worst scenarios – lose revenues. It is very much comparable with any investment though it is rather hard to quantify since it is dependent upon the customer’s satisfaction.

In a general ROI perspective, CRM can definitely boost the earnings of a business through a very efficient strategy, a decreased attrition rate and an increase in sales due to the quality of customer service it implements. It can give you a real timetable where you could have a snapshot of your business earnings, enabling you to create a better forecast of the future.

Better Sales Force Automation

Today’s salespersons are greatly challenged by dynamic and multiple transactions, a brutal competition and the rising growth of the ever-demanding customers that grazes these agents into raw perfection. One could hear an agent on the floor calmly soothing a furious client for the littlest mistake like having to wait ten seconds on hold. It happens very often that these vexed customers would demand to speak with a supervisor even if the agents are capable of handling the call.

Strategically planning your company’s CRM is an essential, determining factor to the project’s success or failure rate. According to recent studies made by the AMR Group, 90 % of these companies implements CRM by faith, without any metrics or ROIs planned.

This is apparent in the way agents are trained, as CRM relies heavily on a person’s way of handling customer relationship. Millions of pesos had been spent in setting up an integrated system that could make 1,000 workforce run smoothly in an organized way. Other than the purchase of hardware and network servers, a great deal of money is invested in training agents alone, so that they could excel in maximizing their customer’s needs and bring higher levels of customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Single-Function CRM or Multi-Function CRM?

If your company is doing customer profiling, then you might opt for a Single-Function CRM. But if you would want your company to automate a campaign management with multiple functions, then it is best to go for Multi-Function CRM.

A small company is much easier to handle than a big one. It could use a Single-Function CRM that shall run on a customer-based application. It shall be controlled by a handful of business people and managers. For large scale contact centers, it is wise to run on Multi-Function CRMs that shall run on multiple departments. Although the most complex of all is the one that is enterprise-wide, where CRM product suites are processed into various internet servers and then into various data warehouses, it will still be a smart choice to invest on quality hardware and peripherals that shall carry your company’s automated system.

Planning An Effective CRM

Here are questions you could answer in planning your company’s CRM Strategy:

Is your organization ready for changes that shall be brought by CRM implementation?

What effects shall it give your organization, if ever implemented?

Will the employees make a commitment to fully ensure that the target outcomes are met?

How do you measure if the system is effective, comprehensive and fully accepted by the organization?

Will this solution restructure the entire company culture? What should be done if this happens?

Is there a way to make better assessments and make corrections in the middle of CRM implementation?

Since CRM is correlated with people and relationships, companies must anticipate and lessen the risks involve in the execution of this program. This is the moving factor behind any client-specific training program, where the trainer always emphasizes on the ownership of a customer’s call, be it a troubleshooting issue, an inquiry, an up-sell or a cross-sell. It is every agent’s responsibility to take great care of any account that they come across with in their entire customer-service jobs.

ON CRM INFRASTRUCTURE

Majority of the CRM Vendors have a web-based architecture, from middle-wares that passes data from one system to the other to systems that is customizable to suit your organization’s needs. A great resource of these vendors could be seen on the internet, where you could read their profile and product offerings.

A great question would be: How do I even start implementing this infrastructure? There are many options to choose from, depending on what one really needs. Your company could go internal, which is the least of all the choices, since it is rare to see a select internal few to operate such a complex system. If ever one wants to go for this, the internal team must be working closely with vendors or consulting other teams working on the same process. The better option would be to choose an experienced vendor to provide you with the system that you need. It can be very costly, but it definitely gives you an assurance of a quality service.

For those scouting for the best price and commitment, it is recommended to look for an experienced certified vendor partner that could customize your company’s CRM needs. Just keep in mind that these vendors offer various package selections that you could choose from.

The most important thing to consider before buying any package is – if the CRM is capable of gathering inputs and outputs from multiple data storehouses. After all those investments in Information Technology, it is vital to know if your organization’s IT infrastructure gives room for the integration of the CRM system.

MAXIMIZE

A Team Manager in a prominent contact center in the Philippine’s Ortigas Business District says that Customer Service is like taking care of one’s grandmother, where value and integrity is added to every interaction with every customer. It is being at one’s very best as they do ordinary things extraordinarily. Or simply – One and Done.

Effective Communication is an essential part of great customer service, where one could focus on the objectives, issues and concerns of the customers. There are many barriers in achieving this, which is affected by the agent’s listening, speaking, reading and writing skills mixed with in-depth analyses and logical thinking.

In a service level perspective, it is not how one delivers the speediest resolve but how a customer’s needs are met with the most accurate information available. Due to the strict rules on Average Handle Times ( AHT ) and Automatic Call Distribution ( ACD ), many agents fail in meeting the clients’ needs as they compete for the perks and rewards given by sales commissions and high scores in quality assurance ratings.

Customer Service is all about C.A.R.E. – courtesy, accuracy, resolution and efficiency in dealing with every account. It is gaining the trust of the customers and taking the initiative in solving their problems. One must then always keep in mind that customers are NOT the hindrances to our work and businesses.

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