Customer Service and CRM: 10 Best Practices


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The secret to great customer service? Start by sharing information with your sales and marketing friends.

The secret to great customer service? Start by sharing information with your sales and marketing friends.

Want to create a service program that excels? Don’t start with technology.

To maximize your bang for buck, start by asking the right questions. Understanding the problems you need to solve, as well as the resulting business benefits, will help you design a better service program, focused on targeted improvements that produce specific results.

Accordingly, what are the top 10 questions that the best CRM consultants ask when they meet with you to improve your service program? (If you’re interested in hearing more, we’re hosting a webinar on this topic soon. Reigster here.)

Let’s start with a few questions:

1) Sharing: Do you share business information between sales, marketing and services?

Sharing information between all customer-facing functions — marketing, sales, service — helps improve each one. From a service standpoint, sharing also helps create persuasive new sources of revenue.

For example, Cloud Sherpas helped Panasonic’s Toughbook division — maker of ruggedized laptops for use in harsh environments — to create better CRM processes for tracking warranty information and customer interactions. While that account information is owned by the service department, Panasonic began sharing it with the sales team for lead generation, to help them identify when they should reach out to the customer to offer extended warranties or discuss replacing their laptops. In fact, many customers welcome Panasonic’s more proactive “are you ready to replace?” outreach, and do in fact purchase new machines with less delay.

2) Offers: Do you provide personalized customer offers based on profile and history?

Many companies view specialized sales offers as the domain of, well, sales. But the service center can also be a persuasive channel for “special offers,” provided that they’re highly relevant.

For example, Cloud Sherpas helped Bose — maker of the Wave radio and other high-end stereo equipment — improve its service operations. This began by helping Bose create processes that enticed new customers to share their contact information, as well as details of the products they owned. With this information, Bose could provide a much more compelling service experience and more rapidly diagnose and solve issues the first time.

Does this sound like a minor issue? In fact, based on Bose’s ongoing analysis of customer service calls, it knows that numerous service calls stem not from a product fault, but simply because a customer can’t connect their audio gear to other components. Understanding which Bose products these customers own enables the audio manufacturer to solve the customer’s problem. But in a cross-sell twist, Bose can sell them the required cable and connection guides too.

3) Measurement: Are specific mechanisms in place to capture best-in-class customer care?

No service program can excel unless you define what makes an excellent customer experience. That starts by measuring the customer care your company provides. For one of Cloud Sherpas’ customers, a large biotechnology firm, this measurement isn’t optional. That’s because the company’s customers have a disease — only affecting a few hundred thousand people in the world — and rely on this company’s drugs to stay alive.

To better serve these customers, the biotech company worked with Cloud Sherpas to create a CRM system that ensures that its personnel provide an excellent customer experience. Service personnel are highly dedicated to making sure that customers aren’t just doing well — taking their medicine in the appropriate way, not facing shortages — but also thriving. In this equation, customers are critical, but so are customer service personnel. That’s why the company carefully monitors the call center, including agents’ job satisfaction and attitude toward customers. When service excels, everyone wins.


The above are just three of the top 10 questions that our consultants ask when working with organizations to improve their customer service effectiveness program.

How did we arrive at this top 10? At Cloud Sherpas, we’ve taken our experience of working on over 2,000 projects with more than 800 customers — including the likes of Panasonic, Genzyme, The Hartford and AXA — and distilled it into our CRM Excellence Framework.

The framework helps organizations understand, “What’s the next, best step that we should take to make our sales or CRM program better?” Because to succeed at CRM, that’s the first question you should ask.


Join Cloud Sherpas CRM veterans Matt Johnson and Yaron Wilf on Tuesday, June 4 @ 1PM ET for a complimentary webinar identifying the right processes, capabilities and cloud technologies to achieve call center efficiency and effectiveness. Register here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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