How Small Businesses can up their game in Customer Service?


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The trend of dynamic customer expectations has made it very challenging for small businesses to sustain. To be more competitive and experience a steady growth, small businesses need to implement best customer service technologies.

Gartner has stated in one of its reports – Customer Service is the emerging battlefield where small businesses need to score. And if they manage to do well here, then their brands can get automatically differentiated. The existing customers can function as the brand advocates, socially endorsing the business on all channels. That means at the cost of the existing customers, SMBs can reach out to the potential customers (with minimal or no marketing investment at all).

According to one of the Gartner surveys, while only 36 per cent of small businesses competed on customer service in 2013, in 2016 that figure will rise up to 89 per cent! This shows that already a large percentage of small businesses are in the fast process of strengthening their customer service strategies. For the rest, it is high time to embrace a robust technology that helps them at delivering good customer service.


When it comes to customer service and support, there is no better tool than new-age CRM. In a stark contrast to the old traditional CRM applications, new-age CRMs are integrated with a variety of features to help businesses perform all customer-facing functions. So whether it is finding customers faster, winning more customers or retaining existing ones, new-age CRMs fulfill to all the three requirements. In experts’ opinion, new-age CRM empowers SMBs to compete on a level playing field with much bigger competitors.

Here are five benefits of CRM that give small businesses the edge to deliver a stellar customer service:

1. No tedious data entry

Research states that sales, marketing and customer service agents spend more than 20 hours a week doing behind-the-scenes work such as data entry. In spite of this, 79 per cent of customer data never gets properly updated. To put an end to this, the new-age CRMs offer seamless integrations with 3rd party applications. That means instead of waiting to be fed information, CRMs capture the information from all the other systems and update it within their database.

Not only does this save time but also empower your customer-facing agents to get complete information on leads, customers and deals from the CRM itself. They instantly acquire 360-degree data view from the CRM and maintain seamless communication with customers.

2. Proactive Customer Retention

According to CustomerDataOnline – only 4% of customers take the effort to explain their dissatisfaction to a business. Rest 91% of the customers simply switch their brand loyalty, without giving any explanation. This makes it essential for businesses to have some form of a software that pinpoints the list of dissatisfied customers, help identify the reasons of dissatisfaction and suggest tactics to win back the customers love.

Most new-age CRM systems have case management functionality that allows agents to manage customer support complaints and corresponding documents and conversations. Using the case management module, customer service agents can find out metrics like:

  • Number of Customer Support Issues Reported
  • Customer Support Tickets posted by each customer
  • Common reasons for customer dissatisfaction.

Based on these metrics, agents can identify and predict ‘customers’ at the highest risk of attrition. To make things more easy, they can examine the past data of these customers to find out the activities that appeal the most to them. Accordingly they can reach out to each customer with specific retention programs. Great isn’t it?

3. Personalized Treatment

Customers today demand to engage with both small and big brands on a 1-to-1 basis. They expect the brands to remember their names and details on second interaction onwards. While catering to this demand was only possible for the large enterprises, CRM has rigged the game in favor of the resource-stretched SMBs too. How? Read below:

New-age CRM platforms function as the centralized repository where all customer information gets properly stored, indexed and organized. Having all customer information in a central location helps agents proceed with the right amount of insight. For example, agents can go through all the data and map a personalized journey for each customer based on their preferences, behaviors and circumstances. Most importantly, they can have all the information at the fingertips to ensure that they identify customers and offer a personalized treatment to them from practically any location and time.

4. Timely Customer Follow-ups

Pop-up alerts and notifications might seem a basic functionality in the CRM. However, they hold tremendous significance, especially when you have a large customer base to manage. Just as George Milton (owner of a mid-size firm) states – ”Juggling multiple customers is always difficult. And to top it up is the hard work of keeping notes as to when to follow up with whom.”

CRM resolves this whole problem of remembering customer follow-ups with its automated alert and notifications system. Setting alerts via CRM make your agents do timely follow-ups which make them look proactive and attentive to the customers. No touch-points are missed and you do not have the fear of losing your customers through the cracks.

5. Social Engagement

This is the social world where a customer can reach a network of millions, at the fraction of a second. In such a time to underplay the importance of social media can turn out to be very harmful. For instance, Convince and Convert suggests that 42% of customers develop two minds about a brand if they do not get a social reply from it within 1 hour. So it becomes essential for all businesses to have the capability to get back to the customers promptly on social media.

New-age CRM systems allow agents to keep in touch with customers through social media as well. They are integrated with leading social channels and provide real-time view of the social posts of the customers. Constant monitoring of customers’ posts help identify crucial points:

  • How many comments are related to service feedback (both positive and negative)?
  • How many comments demand immediate attention?

Needless to say, this empowers your agents to deliver great customer service through social media and make your brand – a social media rock star!

Why do small businesses have edge in implementing CRM?

Quoting the words of Shampa Bagchi ”When it comes to implementing Customer Engagement strategy, or any company-wide initiative for that matter, small businesses do have some significant advantage over their larger counterparts.

For one, small businesses, precisely due to their smaller size, have fewer process complexities and tend to be more agile. They can adapt to market conditions more quickly which make them better positioned to adopt and implement the shift in mindset across the entire organization.

Small organizations have more centralized decision making and their internal as well as customer facing departments are more coordinated and are willing to work together. They are closer to their customers and can empathize more with their customer’s challenges and pain points.

Small Businesses are also less risk-averse compared to large enterprises, and are more open to innovation. They are in a better position to leverage innovative emerging technology offered by smaller IT and technology providers. Becoming early adopters to ground breaking technology products can give them a winning edge over their competitors.”

Final Thoughts

So there you go, implementing new-age CRM tool is quite easy and hassle-free for small businesses. However, before you jump onto making the investment, keep a couple of factors in mind. In order to gain the maximum benefit from the CRM, do not splurge on shiny gobbledygook CRMs. Instead look for a robust new-age CRM platorm that serves your organization-specific needs and is customizable enough for future modifications.

With the right selection of CRM by the side and a committed team of sales, marketing and service professionals, you can not only deliver a stellar customer service, but also use it as a competitive advantage to grow in the market.

Manash Chaudhuri
Manash Chaudhuri is a co-founder of ConvergeHub, headquartered in Silicon Valley, California. Holding more than 19 years of experience in Operations, Sales and Project Management, his company's CRM product has been positioned as the #1 Easiest Converged CRM for SMB and has been successively nominated twice in CRM Idol competition.


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