What can CRM do for SMB? (Part 5, Customer Service)

We have covered the four basic cylinders of CRM, Leads, Opportunities, Contacts and Accounts. These are the four basic cylinders of Sales. In a future post, we will explore some additional cylinders related to marketing, but let’s switch gears for a bit. After all, getting a new client is very important, but is it more important than keeping existing clients?

stickinessIn the software business, and particularly in Cloud or SaaS, we have a term that we use frequently: Stickiness. When you sign up for a new software service, the degree upon which you become dependent on it (or addicted to it), is called its “stickiness”. Like gum on your shoe, even if you would like to do something else, you can’t get away from it. Stickiness can apply to any business that has repeat customers. Unless you are a mortician, you probably count on a certain amount of repeat business. So what about your product or service is Sticky?

One proven way to assure your stickiness is how you handle your customers “after the sale”. I am not suggesting you don’t already know this. I assume you have methods in place for keeping your existing customers happy. But we also knew you had methods in place for managing sales and I showed you how CRM managed them better. Guess what? CRM can probably handle your customer service better also.

Let’s light up the “Cases” cylinder of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and explore how this works to spread honey all over your customers. First of all, “Cases” is just the default terminology for whatever your process is for keeping existing customers happy. We can call it whatever you want: Support, Incidents, Service, Warranty, Issues… you pick. If you sell a product or service, you know that your ultimate profit is not determined until after you deduct whatever costs you incurred after the sale to make, or keep, that customer happy.

CRM can make it easy for your customer care representatives to reach your mutually desired outcome seamlessly. Resolving customer complaints and service issues has to be both cost-effective and easy. Track and manage all related correspondence, documents, contacts, conversations, and follow-ups, simply and effectively. Your team needs to be able to handle a vast array of customer issues: Is this customer likely to churn? Is he or she a candidate for upsell or cross-sell? Do I need to reach out and calm this customer down?

CRM provides a rich and relevant view of the customer and provides your team with actionable insights so they can deliver on your brand promise and exceed customers’ expectations, or at least meet them depending upon how much you may have over-sold going in. CRM can also help you harness the collective wisdom of your organization in a centralized knowledge base so your team can consistently solve problems with the right answer. You can also publicly share this information with your customers so they can help themselves anywhere, at any time. According to Forrester, 72 percent of customers would rather solve their own problem than call you on the phone? Don’t be insulted…give it to them. Providing a great self-service experience can lower your costs while helping increase customer satisfaction… with CRM, this is easy to do.

I will discuss “dashboards” later, but for now realize that you can, at a glance, see exactly how you are doing at keeping your customers happy. Like the Opportunities we discussed before, all of these activities are also linked to the Contacts and Accounts, so now Horatio can quickly see, before he picks up the phone to up-sell Becky, that she is pretty pissed off right now about a late delivery. Horatio might want to call Becky next week instead.

This post is really giving short shrift to the Customer Service capabilities of CRM, but I am really eager to talk to you more about the marketing stuff, which will be the topic of my next post.

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