Category: People Management

Social CRM For Service Teams

One common source where people are sharing content online more than ever is certainly the social networking environment. This is the largest source of direct, honest and outspoken opinions and community assistance. While this real time social media thing is global, uncontrollable and dynamic that lets your prospects and customers talk about you online, it is definitely serving like a helping aid to Service Teams, as well.

While customers talk about issues that you may not be even aware of, using right tools you can actually uncover the posts that talk about various issues, problems or may be grievances about company products and services. This can facilitate you in enhancing your customer support and service.

Social CRM provides you an opportunity to automatically convert these customer posts into service requests into the existing support application for a better follow up and track.

Now, what kind of social media posts for customer support routine can assist you? It may be a complaint, suggestion, any positive feedback or may be an additional service or product offering.

Once you identify the kind of post that can help you further in the matter, social CRM can convert it into a service request and route it through the existing workflows. Most of the organizations answer these posts as first come, first served manner, but you can choose to answer these according to your high value customers or may be high rated products. But whatever you choose, that should be based on business needs and not social media dynamics.

With the scoring mechanisms of social CRM, efficient and timely segmentation of actionable posts becomes easy. So, while managing service requests and taking proficient actions accordingly, you can also enjoy various other benefits of social CRM like platform flexibility, greater influence over conversation, better accommodating complexity of customer relationships and achieving deeper customer engagement.

Charu Mehta

CRM Consultant, CRMIT

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Beware Of Inactive Inboxes

We have a curious problem in our apartment, Not something which can be resolved by calling a plumber or electrician.

There are 8 flats in this apartment and we have a small association of owners. We meet once in a while and discuss things such as maintenance fee, current issues, possible solutions etc.,

In paper, this sounds good, But in reality, it’s near impossible for us to gather all the house owners (just 8 of them) in one place. So, we kept postponing these meetings and many issues went untouched.

One fine day, we decided to sort this by using the power of internet. Someone created an Email group, asked all the owners to join there and we started interacting regularly. As we could read / respond to Emails offline at our convenience, this was very useful and we all liked it.

All, except two.

One of these owners, had an Email ID, But never used it. So he missed all important updates and was always raising a flag on every issue ‘when did you discuss this? I am not even aware of it!’

‘But we sent you an Email.’

‘Sorry, I don’t check my mail at all, you should have called me in phone and informed.’

Another owner, didn’t even know what an Email is. In fact, he never touched a computer in his life till date. So, he missed all updates too.

Thankfully, the other 6 owners had active Email IDs, and were checking / responding to Emails. But we could see some mismatches in the frequency of checking Emails, for example, couple of us checked Emails every few minutes, while others did it by end of the day, or even end of the week. As a result, we couldn’t make any decisions fast enough.

To summarize, eventho’ we had an Email group and discussing things, there is no assurance that all the concerned people get updated promptly. This brings down the overall effectiveness of the Email Group itself.

If this is the case with just 8 members, imagine what will happen with Marketing teams trying to push messages to hundreds of thousands of customers in their CRM Database. You may be sending a beautiful Email Newsletter, but 20% of your contacts may never open it, another 20% may open it late, effectively spoiling your party.

With “Social” messages, the risk is even higher. Most of your contacts in the CRM Database, may not be active in Social Media / check updates regularly, What is the point in touching base with them at great expense? May be they need to be contacted in a different channel?

To take care of this serious communication issue, it is advisable for marketing organizations to start analyzing their existing contacts and split them into different buckets such as:

  • Email Aware
  • Email Active
  • Social Media Aware
  • Social Media Active
  • None

This is just a sample, we may have more buckets like this, but the point is, if we know how active the contact is in various channels (by just asking them, “What is your preferred mode of communication? Email / Phone/ Twitter / Facebook / Others?”) we can push the same message to different people in different channels and expect a higher HIT Rate.

For example, a single campaign message may go to 20% of my contacts via direct mail (Post), another 20% in Email, 40% by Social Media etc., based on the bucket where they are. This way we ensure that a message has a higher chance of making an impact, by not falling on an inactive inbox / facebook wall.

Naga Chokkanathan

Senior Director, CRMIT

(Originally Published in http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/why-not-beware-of-inactive-inboxes/)

Spotlight on CRM++ Email Workbench

Published In : https://blogs.oracle.com/emeapartnercrmod/entry/spotlight_on_crm_email_workbench

Improving User Adoption with CRM++ Email Workbench

When we think about high-performance indicators within business verticals, two factors stand out: customer satisfaction and experience. Importance of efficiently answering Emails (which may actually be service requests, complaints, grievances, appreciations, request for more business and so on) coming from customers cannot be overstated. This forms an interesting divide: Emails Vs CRM Records!

As of now, Email Messages sent to customers and responses received from them are updated manually in CRM System by the corresponding Owners (Sales Executives, Service Reps etc.,), Means, unnecessary human intervention and possible errors. What if a new service issues from customers is not converted to a service request? No one will start working on it immediately and there is a possibility of missing the SLA and penalties attached to it.

In addition to this, quick response time and a direct impact on the end user satisfaction being critical factors, manual conversion led to a redundant delay in response time.

 

Developed by CRMIT, an Oracle Gold Partner specialized in CRM On Demand, CRM++ Email Workbench is a Web based plug-in designed to solve the puzzle of CRM : Email Co-existence. CRM++ Email Workbench allows Sales and Service Organizations to work in a single window: the CRM system. Employees needn’t switch between CRM and Email Windows anymore, all incoming and outgoing Emails are handled by Email Workbench in the background!

As the CRM system knows about all this communication, this leads to better tracking of issues and quicker response times, irrespective of which individual is working on a particular problem.

CRM++ Email Workbench automatically tracks all e-mails (including attachments) and converts them to Service Requests / Leads / Opportunities / Other in your Oracle CRM On Demand system. From that point, CRM users can respond to these mails, without ever leaving their CRM screen. This will ultimately result in faster response times, improved customer service and satisfaction.

To see CRM++ Email Workbench in action, view this YouTube Video

Growing Into Social CRM

During my childhood days, whenever I used to receive gifts from my family relations, one thing would always confound me, Volume of oversized clothing that I received from aunts, grandparents and family friends was really surprising. This usually left me with two conclusions, either my relatives were not paying attention or they overrated my physical appearance in a way that reflected my personality. However, eventually I actually grew into those clothes. Social CRM is like those gifts for most of the businesses. It may not fit immediately, but given time and the evolution of business, we are likely to grow into it.

Social CRM Fact

In general, CRM arrives via the sales team and then spreads its influence into marketing. This is a natural fit CRM. And then, as the businesses grow, data captured in CRM systems is seen as a valuable source by people serving different roles.

But when we talk about CRM failure, we consider force fit situations, where CRM application is just brought in and the workers and various departments are not ready to use it. And because the adoption rate is really bad, the entire endeavor receives a black mark. However, in reality CRM could have been a success. This is how CRM goes, but the growth is not driven by business issues alone.

Other Scenario

Social networking has been instilled into private lives of people and now they are enthusiastic to bring the ease of communication into their workplace. This clearly means that most of the organizations already have the willingness to accept and take on Social CRM. For some staff members, age barrier and change management may be a big concern because there is still little lack of understanding the fact “what does SOCIAL mean?” and how it can facilitate in enhancing customer relationships.

We never get our kid track spikes for a race before he is actually able to walk on his own. And same goes for Social CRM. So, it is always better to have the feet under you with a good CRM groundwork before you actually get on board with a full-blown social CRM initiative.

Charu Mehta

CRM Consultant, CRMIT

Misusing CRM : How to understand / avoid this

How many times have you seen a person trying to use a hammer while fixing a car’s engine, despite knowing the fact that he will not succeed? Or may be somebody trying to drive a nail from the rubberized side of a screwdriver, which is equally useless. We all know that every tool has a purpose, but still there are some always looking for an opportunity to use a tool for a reason other than what it is designed for. Same is the case with CRM.

Some businesses often make the mistake of taking Customer Relationship Management as software where all the data can be populated and problems will be solved magically. However, the truth is, CRM works like a discipline, where CRM software can be used to upgrade the discipline and automate its data management features. It is a tool and only using it right can facilitate you in finding success. Its applications do not create a problem, but the pesky users who work with it make it happen. Let’s have a look at common misuses of CRM.

CRM Systems & Sales Managers

With one of the toughest job profiles in an organization, sales managers are always fully loaded with the responsibility of motivating and communicating with group of people regarding byzantine information, be it lead changes, new collateral, sales contests and so on. Therefore, sales managers get an automated insight into sales pipeline through Customer Relationship Management software via how quickly sales staff enters the data into CRM. Though blunt words from managers, at times, can prove helpful for salespeople, but overdoing it may cause a drop in usage of CRM system. And due to the unpleasant behavior of the manager, sales staff will quickly catch on to the source of his anger and will gradually stop using CRM system, thinking that why load the system with data that will ultimately drive manager to turn around and use the data against them. So, if sales managers do not want to get into a situation where they will have only a partial idea of how the pipeline looks like, they should be careful while using info from CRM system.

CRM : A Silo Or Tool for Breaking Silos?

CRM is very good at collecting data, be it comprehensive reports or customer records, but these are just a way to increase the office paper costs, particularly if not put to some use. This is a common problem, because many organizations make sure that data is flowing into the system and is keeping sales organized, but actually fail to connect with the rest of the organization. The data that was equally helpful for support, marketing and R&D team may not be able to make it to other constituents, just because there is no pathway. Now, this is an organizational issue that should be tackled at the outset of CRM strategy development. So, it is always advisable to use CRM system in a way that it breaks down silos, rather of becoming a silo itself.

Charu Mehta

CRM Consultant, CRMIT

Listening To Customers : Very Valuable!

Here is a wonderful CRM story I read today, about listening to your customers!

J Sainsbury Plc, a London based prominent retailer has recently decided to chang the name of their “Tiger” bread to “Giraffe” bread. Reason? Feedback from a customer!

So, what’s new? Everyone listens to customer feedback, once in a while they change the product name, Nothing great!

True. But this news item is unique because, the feedback actually came from a 3 year old baby, and the big fat organization listened to this very young customer and decided to make the required changes.

Lily Robinson, the now-famous baby who gave that feedback, saw the tiger bread and stated that it has more resemblance to Giraffe Bread.

Chris King, working in J Sainsbury’s customer service team picked up Lily’s letter and replied “renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea, it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it?” and he thanked little Lily Robinson for helping them see the spots for what they are.

Reading this story, one thing that really stroke my mind was how listening to customers can prove helpful. We all are familiar with the fact that listening is one of the most important skills, when dealing with customers, but do we really know how to listen?

Well, the reality is that we just pretend to listen and usually, try to overcome the situations by stating “thinking about your response” or may be “wondering how this will impact your work”.

To really listen to our customers, we need to put ego aside and open ourselves to the customers. Although this is difficult, it is an effective way to drive a positive impact on customers. This helps to enhance the customer experience and improve the product and service base.

When a customer complains, that means he / she wants the products of our company to serve him / her better. This is an effectual way to share the important happenings in our industry that customer is actually seeing from the opposite side of the street. So, just love when customers complain.

To learn more about how an open minded approach to negative feedback boasts earnings and morale, read this interesting article from ‘inc’ magazine :
http://www.inc.com/vanessa-merit-nornberg/why-i-love-when-customers-complain.html

Charu Mehta,

CRM Consultant, CRMIT

Leaders : Listeners

Recently, We found an interesting article in the net (not sure which one is the original source, it is found in many websites now :-P), and circulated it internally:

Today’s leaders don’t have all the answers. (How can they?) But they know how to find the answers and, more importantly, they know how to help others find the answers.

Leaders today are listeners. They listen up, down, and all around their organization. They listen in order to:

  • Pick up on problems before they get out of hand
  • Uncover the causes of miscommunication and conflict
  • Understand people’s motives, values, and feelings
  • Build rapport and mutual respect
  • Discover trends that drive the way business gets done
  • Gather and evaluate ideas
  • Generate solutions

Our HR Director Bhasker Rao elaborated on these points, We thought it will be very useful to our blog readers and sharing the same here:

Pick up on problems before they get out of hand

 

  • Very important to pick problems proactively and solve. When you solve a problem in a reactive mode, you never get enough credit!
  • Preempt all problems early

Uncover the causes of miscommunication and conflict

  • Set up a communication model/ structure for yourselves
  • Keep communicating in multiple ways : Announcements, 121 meetings, feedback, suggestions, Asking Questions, Summarize, Briefing/ debriefing and more!

Understand people’s motives, values, and feelings

  • Use body language and gestures, Have systemic view (open to multiple perceptions)
  • Understand people well : their strengths, motivational factors, needs, values
  • Empathize with people, and relate to them (customer orientation).
  • Again, be proactive

Build rapport and mutual respect

  • Develop (You can learn to be an extravert!) good attitude for developing relationship
  • Converse based on mutual interest, have respect (every one has some strength) for every one and develop trust
  • Recognize and appreciate in public. Find reasons to do this! (Example: You look happy today!, You look good in this dress!)

Discover trends that drive the way business gets done

  • Focus on business, Organization and project and see how you can help it to succeed

Gather and evaluate ideas

  • Generate ideas, brain storm (even if you do get any thing on many occasions)
  • Make people think
  • Use many different methods to instigate people to start thinking in many ways, Analyze ides, structure them

Generate solutions

  • Develop solutions, actions and follow up
  • Involve every one in solution forming, delegate work.
  • There is always scope for innovation and improvement
  • Aim very high and keep focus