Customer Service Improvements: Plan for 2010


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What’s your customer service and call center plan for 2010? Photograph by yusunkwon.

What is the state of your customer service program today, and what CRM processes, tools and capabilities do you need to make it better?

Many organizations ask Innoveer to help them build a CRM plan to help determine their budget needs for 2010. In particular, they need to know which specific CRM program elements to improve, as well as estimates of project time and costs, to make their customer service programs and call centers more effective.

Required Capabilities for Customer Service

Taking customer service to the next level requires two steps: determining which capabilities enable companies to have an excellent customer service program, and then benchmarking how your organization’s customer service capabilities stack up.

Based on Innoveer’s numerous CRM engagements, we’ve identified the top five capabilities required for excelling at customer service:

  • Services Leadership: Managing service excellence
  • Customer Entitlement: Delivering service against agreement levels
  • Issue Resolution: Keeping customers by solving problems
  • Experience Management: Driving customer satisfaction through service quality
  • Quality Measurement: Knowing if your approach is destined for success

Each of these capabilities has multiple components. For example, experience management includes:

  • Customer retention and renewal
  • Demand management
  • Service competencies
  • Mechanisms for delivering service (aka service channels)

Innoveer maintains benchmarks for each of the five core aspects of a successful customer service program, as well as their components. We use these benchmarks to help organizations determine which specific CRM enhancements they should make to produce the biggest benefits for their business.

Where Do You Excel?

To improve the effectiveness of your service program or call center, start by benchmarking each customer service program component to determine whether it’s developing (below average), competitive (average) or advanced (above average). For example, if your organization is a high-technology software developer, annual software maintenance contracts are likely a valuable source of revenue, and securing their renewals will be a major CRM action item. Accordingly, for customer retention and renewal, your capabilities might be:

  • Developing: Track contracts manually, perhaps using spreadsheets
  • Competitive: Track contracts in a CRM system and make that information available to salespeople
  • Advanced: Use the CRM system to track contracts and ongoing customer satisfaction, and then design, support and measure sales activities—in the CRM system—to secure renewals before contracts expire

What To Improve?

After benchmarking all aspects of your service program, you’ll know where you excel, and what needs work. But exactly where should you start making improvements?

Based on our experience, the weakest part of your program is what holds you back. To put that another way, if you spend money on what you’re already good at—the advanced parts of your program—then you might not see any resulting business improvements. Instead, you need to improve your less advanced capabilities. This approach will give you the biggest return on your CRM investment.

Learn More

Innoveer offers a brief, 1-3 day workshop to help companies identify the cost, time and business benefits associated with achieving new and more mature—which is to say, more effective—CRM capabilities. During the workshop, Innoveer examines the five core capabilities in an organization’s customer service program, identifies the optimal enhancements, and produces specific, technology-agnostic recommendations to build 2010 plans and budgets.

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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