Category: Self Service Portal

New Age Customer Self Service Portals for CRM

Traditionally, CRM self service portals used to be the web support channel for customers. Some companies extended this concept and used such portals for employee management, dealer management etc. However, such use cases are very minimal.

Even today, majority of the self service portals in the market focus on these standard functions only:

  • Register / Login
  • Search / View Knowledgebase published by the company
  • Create Service Requests

While these basic features are required, modern web support (whether it is self service or assisted) wants to go a step beyond this. For example, let us take an example of a college, deploying their own self service portal for students.

  • College students get a login (or can register) in the portal
  • They can login, see the college knowledge base / download documents
  • In case they have a support requirement, they can create a service request

Wait a minute, when you say “Service request” what do you mean?

For a student, it may mean many things: Requesting for a mark sheet, Requesting for an attendance certificate, Requesting for a change in the profile phone number etc.

While all these are service requests, their nature is not the same. For example, when requesting for a mark sheet, they may have to provide additional details such as their examination number, year of exam etc. When requesting for an attendance certificate, they may have to say this certificate is required for what purpose, from which date to which date etc.

This means, even though portals call it with a single term “Service Request”, it actually means many things. You can’t have a single form and expect that to serve every possible service request case. Either that form will be too generic not serving the purpose, or it will be too long and users will run away.

Customer Service Management

To take care of such problems, CRMIT’s CRM++ Self Service Portal is moving in the direction of dynamic SR Types Management feature. This means, companies implementing CRM++ SSP can design their own types of Service Requests, and design unique forms for each one of them, with specific fields, labels they are looking for. Customers will love this because only targeted questions are asked, Agents will love this because all the information they need to solve a particular problem is right in their hands.

Stay tuned for our next SSP release.

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Client On-boarding and Customer Experience

Anyone who has gone through the process of setting up a B2B (Business to Business) Account with a Bank would swear by the poor experience they are met with due to highly inefficient and ineffective client On-boarding process that they are subjected to. Banks these days have to realize this to ensure they make the first best impressions to their clients to avoid losing them to competitors.

Enabling Customer ExperienceThough part of the problem is compounded by ever growing regulatory compliance requirements like Anti Money Laundering, Terrorist Funding, Foreign Tax Account Compliance Act etc that the Banks have to adhere to, they just cover only one side of Poor Client On-Boarding experience.

The primary reason for poor on-boarding experience is attributed to few other reasons too.

  • Lack of Customer Centric Systems – Most the banks traditionally inherit systems that are Typically Product Centric than customer / relationship centric
  • Viewing the process of Client on-boarding as a back office operation than as an engaging front office with collaborative back-office framework to seamlessly work with numerous back office groups who play a facilitator role in the on-boarding process
  • Lack of metric / Key Performance Indicator (KPI) driven approach in place to plan, measure, correct and reward performing groups / Individuals who make significant difference to the client on-boarding experience

Though putting in place a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is not a magic wand that wipe-out all the issues listed above in one go without fundamental change in the way Organizations operate, an effectively designed / implemented CRM that mitigates the above challenges can be a sure differentiator for Banks to improve not only the customer experience but also the Net Customer Life Cycle Value.

Here I have articulated few suggestions and tips on how a CRM system can help Organizations to effectively improve the client on-boarding process.

On lack of customer centric system…

It is never going to be an easy task to just like that replace your product centric legacy back-end systems in one go into a customer centric system. The next viable best alternative available over here is to put an overarching CRM system that wraps your entire product centric core banking systems and make the CRM as a Centralized front office Application for your Relationship managers, Product Specialists and other Sales / marketing teams. The key design attributes of this CRM to facilitate On-Boarding should be below.

  • For new customers to be on-boarded, enrich the basic prospect data that you have collected in CRM with rich info that is available by integrating with Trusted Data Service Providers like D&B, Hovers etc. These systems provide very rich info about your clients like Client Organization Structure, Business diversity, Geographic Diversity, Key Client Contacts & their profile, financial data etc. This ensures a lot of info is already built in your system to do your KYC (Know Your Customer) as well as Risk Rating / Assessment in an effective manner by asking minimal info from your customers.
  • For existing customers, ensure your customer profile details (demographic, relationship, financials etc) spread across multiple internal products centric systems are cleaned and de-duplicated in the new CRM system. This would make it easier to facilitate on-boarding of existing customers to some your new products & services lot easier eliminating duplicity in asking info from customers that you have already with you.

On collaboration…

It is a common phenomenon observed in many Banking Organizations that Customer On-Boarding is considered either as a complete Back End (risk, legal, finance etc) responsibility or in few cases as sold Front end responsibility forgetting the underlying need of effective collaboration of front-end and back-end teams to make it easier for the customers.

The CRM one deploys should have all ways and means to make this collaboration between back-end, front-end teams and customers possible without any compromise on data security.  The collaboration could be facilitated by in-built email management solutions in CRM, a self-service portal that is integrated with CRM where customers can log-in and have visibility on his on-boarding process as well as share / submit additional info & documents needed, an internal discussion thread / business social features that can make interaction between back-end and front-end teams lot seamless and easier etc. In reality today many of these happen in an adhoc & in-efficient manual manner making it a time consuming as well as frustrating experience for the end customers.

On KPI Measurements…

None of the above systems and processes would work unless people on the ground are mandated to adhere to stringent KPI (Key Performance Indicator)/ SLA (Service Level Agreement). Assuming there is a commitment at the top to make it possible in having them in place, the CRM should provide support to have in place interactive dashboards and reports to report on these KPIs to identify the bottlenecks in the process and streamline it. The reports / metrics can be as simple as one that provides info on on-boarding throughput, performance of adherence to SLAs by various departments managing the on-boarding process, overall lead time, ageing analysis to identify critical bottlenecks etc. The KPIs should serve as a key input to your performance management team to see continuous improvement over a period of time.

So in net, going back to my original point, would like to share that Customer On-Boarding is an important process in establishing a new relationship with your client and making it effective / efficient with a well designed CRM system can make a big difference to Banks as well to Customer Experience.

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Twitter’s Self Service Advertising Platform & What it means for Social CRM

Buzz is that Twitter has launched a Self Service Advertising Platform for certain markets. We can expect it to go mainstream soon.

For quite sometime, Twitter uses promoted tweets, promoted trends etc., to make money. But they were not as self-service as Google Ads or few other alternatives. Having a system where people can manage their own Twitter Ads (& use them as per their budget) is going to add lot of value. And improve user adoption too.

Social CRM will jump into the bandwagon too, Soon we can expect features such as create a Twitter Ad from your CRM, Track effectiveness of a Twitter Ad, Track responses to a particular Ad, End to end campaign effectiveness reports etc., Exciting!

Do you use Twitter Ads? Are you planning to integrate them to your CRM? If yes, how? Who will benefit most from a platform / integration of this sort? Share your thoughts.

Handling “Contact Us”

Today I found an interesting question in quora.com:

How do large and small networks handle the influx of “Contact Us” messages? Are there volunteers that screen and answer complaints and questions? Or is there an online “call” center that handles such traffic? Is this outsourced? And what’s the best strategy for a small network to adopt, can it be handled on a shoestring budget?

When we think about this, it is not specific to Social Networks, or any kinds of companies, and applies to everyone, only the number of “Contact us” emails may differ from website to website. Hence, I took it as a generic CRM Service Management / Email Response / Social Media / Brand Building Problem and wrote an answer like this:

This differs for each social network (or for that matter each company / website). I have read that amazon.com handled (or handles) this in a really rapid manner (Have a team of individuals answering 10+ Emails in a minute!), I still wonder how they can get some good answer in 6 seconds or so!

Trick may be, using a large template database, Because the questions being asked are very repetitive and you can form categories easily. As long as you can judge which one this current question falls under quickly, all you need to do is copy paste. As your support staff become more and more experienced, this can be done in 6 seconds are less!

To answer your specific question, if you want to provide a machine like support, a shoe string budget operation may work. If you want to provide personalized attention, need a larger and more commited team, whether that makes business sense or not is a different story altogether 🙂

On a related note, CRM systems handle this “Contact Us” Problem in multiple ways, to suit multiple channels (Emails, Web Form, Chat, Phone (Audio Call), Social Networks etc.,). We have deployed end to end solutions to handle these, and automatically convert them to CRM Records (Leads or Service Requests or any other object), so that they can be handled effectively.

My take on this will be, automate as much as possible, Handle the rest by manual team members to provide the best possible experience. Good luck!

Do you agree? What will be your strategy to handle this? How do you think the biggies are handling it? Share your thoughts in : http://www.quora.com/How-do-social-networks-handle-Contact-Us

– Naga Chokkanathan, CRMIT