Question: We’ve outgrown our ticketing system, what should we know about moving to a CRM?

Answer:

A customer relationship management (CRM) solution can be beneficial for companies and contact centers of all sizes, as well as their customers. A CRM application is often the primary servicing/sales/eCommerce solution for all customer-facing functions and employees. These applications are designed to deliver relevant and personalized information, offerings or content for each user and interaction, based on the current situation or need. 

There are many uses for CRM solutions, which should be designed to give each department and user the data they need in a manner that is easiest for them to consume. Marketing departments use a CRM solution to decide the best way to reach each customer to get them to respond to a campaign. Sales departments depend on the CRM system to figure out, often in real time, what product or service to sell to an individual. Customer service uses CRM to understand a customer’s relationship and lifetime value to the company, why a customer reaches out for assistance, and the most effective way to help them. 

Customer relationship management solutions are architected to allow their users to collect and store all information about customers and prospects in one place, so that it can be easily accessed. The idea is to have a single repository for all data about a company’s relationship with a customer or prospect, including:

  • Basics – name, address, prior address, phone numbers, email address
  • Demographics – age, marital status, occupation, education level, annual income, home ownership, etc.
  • Tenure – length of time as a customer
  • Communication preferences – customers’ preferred channels for different types of communications, information, notifications, alerts, etc.
  • Buying behavior and patterns – list of products and services purchased and when they were obtained
  • Products of interest – products and services that have been reviewed/ considered 
  • Marketing effectiveness – marketing programs that have been tried and what has been most effective
  • Contact history – detailed list of all contacts and how and why the person reached out, as well as what was done to address their issue; includes data from all channels and touchpoints, e.g., calls, IVR/IVA, chat, SMS, social media, email, storefronts, branches, back office, partners, etc.
  • More

When CRM solutions are fully integrated with a contact center’s automatic call distributor (ACD) they improve the customer journey by adding context and information about the customer in order to personalize interactions. The idea is that all incoming or outgoing interactions are checked and assessed prior to being delivered to either a self-service application or an agent, to determine the optimal method for handling each and then routing the interaction to the best resource. Along with the interaction, the agent – whether human or virtual – is also provided with content-rich information housed in the CRM, to optimize service, enhance the customer journey and reduce handling times and cost.