Customer centric Customer ServiceHow many times as a business owner have you been surprised not to hear about a customer that has a complaint or problem with your product or service until it’s too late?

Is someone handling those situations in your company? You better hope so! If not, you just lost a new customer or an existing one.

For example, do new customers automatically get a follow-up by email or phone from a Customer Service Representative (CSR) to assist the customer or check on the customer satisfaction with your product or service?

[quotesright]Your customer service team is a valuable tool in growing your business. [/quotesright] They are the people that can make customers happy with you and buy more. They are your number-one resource for retaining customers.

That’s where a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool can make the difference.

After the sale you should have an automated workflow in your CRM that assigns a call or email to the new customer as a follow up to the sale. Once the CSR connects with the new customer you have a script in the system to ask how satisfied they were with delivery, installation, or activation of the product. The customer’s response is recorded in the customer record for management and sales to review.

[quotes]If there is a problem the sales representative can be notified to follow up right away. [/quotes] Better yet, the sales representative is notified to go back and ask for a repeat sale from a happy customer.

Include a knowledge base in the CRM to quickly answer questions a customer might have and link the questions or problems to the individual customer in the CRM. If needed, have a link in the CRM for your reps to send the customer on how to resolve the problem or answer the question with further instructions. [quotesright]This will save time by preventing the CSR from repeating instructions and the customer will have a better experience with your product. [/quotesright]

Management can review a report generated in the CRM about the common issues. If a problem i is product quality related, then management can flag it and determine how to improve the product. If it’s a matter of updating the help instructions included with the product, then the customer experience will be more positive as soon as the improved instructions are shipped with the product.

The CSR helps make sure the sales team gets involved only when needed. Because they can see the history of activity in the system between the sales person and the customer leading up to closing a sale, they are quickly informed on the sale and expectations of the customer and can help resolve the issue.

[quotesright]A CRM will help give the sales team more time to do what they do best, sell, instead of handling customer service requests. [/quotesright] Using the CRM data, the sales team is always aware of customer issues because they are recorded in the customer’s record for all to see.

Just think, wouldn’t it be great to have salespeople on return visits to customers not get their heads chewed off because they didn’t know about a problem? Instead they would likely get a repeat sale because the happy customer is satisfied with the knowledge and fast response from the CSR team!

[quotesright]A CRM helps marketing too. [quotesright] Sales can ask customers for a testimonial and record it on the contact’s record for marketing to use in promoting your product or service!

[quotesright]The takeaway. A CRM used together by the sales and customer service teams can increase more sales and profits in your business. [quotesright]

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In upcoming articles, we’ll help you understand more about a CRM, see if it’s right for you, and show you what to look for in one. You’ll also learn what to expect and plan for if you decide to implement a CRM.

- by Joseph Norcott, Bigger Slice of Business (newsletter)