Operating On Customer Service: Best Practices


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When dealing with customer service operations, move carefully. Photograph by Mykl Roventine.

Remember knowledge management? Ten years ago, the discipline was all the rage in business circles.

The imperative: As the dot-coms boomed, personnel began coming and going without warning. Crucial information was “exiting the building,” because it never got captured, forcing organizations to start from scratch when rehiring, thus putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

CRM Captures Customer Data For Service

Fast-forward to today, and what’s striking is how much these concerns and practices have been absorbed not under the guise of a corporate Knowledge Management program, but rather in discrete ways, such as for managing customer relationships.

Indeed, cloud-based CRM software provides a crucial repository for capturing customer information, deal status and the like, thus maintaining continuity in the event of turnover.

Capturing Knowledge For Service Operations

Same goes for service operations, where the imperative facing organizations is to ensure that they have the right number of customer service personnel on hand to deal with customers’ service requests, as well as the right information available for troubleshooting any issue. Sounds simple, but take one look at the specialized software just used to schedule call center personnel — not to mention lunch breaks — against service request volume, and you’re already several Ph.D.s in and still trying to solve the problem.

Bose: World Class Customer Service Operation

While tweaking service personnel supply to meet customers’ service request demands is algorithmically complex, creating an excellent service program overall requires something more fundamental: obtaining a clear picture of customers.

Innoveer client Bose demonstrates the state of the art. Indeed, the maker of such equipment as the Wave Radio has rigorously pursued a world-class service operation by focusing on:

  • New customer on-boarding: Priming new customers for receiving customer communications, as well as capturing their information in-house, including which products (assets) they own.
  • Knowledge management: Deliver just-in-time information to service personnel and customers for satisfying inquiries and managing cases.
  • Workforce management: Coordinate service delivery resources, setting staffing levels based on forecasted service volumes.
  • Asset management: Correctly handle and track products for return authorization, product replacement, and the like.

Know What Customers Bought

On-boarding in particular challenged Bose, because while customers might buy a new product in its online or physical store, most sales came via third parties. Nevertheless, Bose succeeded at getting these new customers to also share their contact information and detail the products they owned. As a result, Bose could provide a much more compelling service experience and more rapidly diagnose and solve issues.

For example, many customers contact Bose not because of a product fault, but because they can’t connect their audio gear to other components. By understanding which Bose products these customers owned, Bose could then not only solve the customer’s problem, but in a cross-sell twist then provide them with the required cable and connection guides.

By excelling at customer service, in other words, organizations can increase their customers’ satisfaction — and therefore retention — as well as revenues. From a business standpoint, accordingly, the mandate is clear: Start focusing on service operations.

Learn More

When it comes to creating a world-class customer service program, service operations alone won’t cut it. Organizations must also master services leadership, case management, experience management, and service management.

To translate the above into business results, Innoveer applies its CRM Excellence Framework to benchmark organizations’ current customer service practices, and then identify which next step will provide the most return for the least investment.

In a brief, 1-3 day workshop, Innoveer helps companies identify the cost, time and business benefits associated with achieving new and more mature — which is to say, more effective — CRM capabilities.

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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