Category: Service Request Management

CEM : Customer Experience Management

Yesterday I had a casual lunch conversation with one of my colleagues and the topic of “Online Purchases” came up. He quoted a particular website and said “Their website is good, but the way they run their buses, it is horrible to say the least!”

I was surprised, because to my knowledge that website doesn’t run any buses. They just allow you to book tickets from various bus service providers and that’s it.

Personally, I have used this website many times, I know they don’t run any buses and hence I only book tickets from bus services which are highly rated by fellow users. As a result, I never had a bad experience. I would gladly recommend their website to anyone.

But my colleague, had a totally different view on this. He said he will never book tickets from them anymore.

So, I decided to probe further and asked him about the ‘bad experience’ he had with this website. His response was ‘Their buses start late, arrive late, they are dirty, Air conditioning is poor…’

‘But wait, these are the problems of Bus Service Provider, The website where you booked the ticket can’t be held responsible for these operational issues. They just act as agents and allow you to book a ticket at the comfort of your home, that’s it.’

‘I don’t care. For me they sold the ticket, and they are responsible for my travel experience. Isn’t it?’

Now, you can’t argue with this logic!

Few days back, I had a similar experience when we tried to buy a washing machine for home. We went to a super market, looked at various models, and were debating on which one is best for our needs. My wife had some additional questions about few of those models, and asked the sales person.

Unfortunately, that person was not able to answer any question my wife asked. It was clear that he didn’t understand anything about washing, forget machines. He is simply paid to stand there and tell people what models are available and how much they cost.

My wife got really upset about this. ‘Let us go to some other store’, she decided abruptly.

‘But why?’

‘These guys don’t know anything about the products they sell!’

I tried to explain her how retail industry works. ‘This super market deals with hundreds of brands, thousands of products, it is practically impossible for them to know technicalities of all those goods they sell.’

Her response was almost same as my colleague’s, ‘I don’t care. I buy from this shop, and they should give convincing answers to all my questions, Else, I am not buying from them!’

So, Consumers are not ready (or don’t want) to understand the gap between Sales and Delivery / Usage Experience. It is for companies to manage. They don’t care if you sell somebody Else’s product, they want the entire process to be smooth and you are responsible for it, end to end!

When you look at the way most companies are organized, there is a Research division which looks at various customer needs and imagines products. Then we have a production division which makes these products, we have Sales / Marketing divisions which take care of the selling process and Support division to take care of customer issues. Each one of these divisions have their own problems / solutions and boundaries.

Not anymore. A sales guy can’t say “My CRM ends when an opportunity is converted to an order”, a Service guy can’t say “No Purchase, No Support”, Whether we like it or not, we need to do everything possible to make sure that EVERY touch point a customer has with us, are giving them the best possible experience.

For example, someone coming to your website, visiting your twitter page / facebook wall, buying your product in a small store, calling the telesupport number to report an issue, talking to their friends about how your product functions … all these touch points (and more) are important, and as a company you need to make sure all these experiences are great. This is not optional anymore, one bad experience in any of these touch points can drive tons of business away from you.

Customer Experience Management, that’s where the future lies. CRM is not enough, it’s going to be CEM Era now!

Naga Chokkanathan,

Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published In : http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/why-not-manage-experiences/

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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

What To Monitor In A Tweet?

One out of every three Twitter users talk about brands in their tweets and that’s a fact. This is a good way to keep an eye on your brand. A tweet may look very small and even insignificant, but actually there are so many things that you can monitor in a single tweet. There is lot of business information that can be driven from this amazing social media tool. You can know a lot about your customer and their feelings by just carefully observing the tweets they write. Check out this picture, which talks about various things you can track from a single tweet.

There are various factors that can be considered while looking into a tweet of one of your customers or prospects and this can be mapped to your CRM data, as well. While Twitter not only works as an opinion poll, it also helps people to build an instant “backchannel”. And if your prospects are online most of the time, monitoring the tweets and responding to them promptly, can immensely help with business development and augmenting customer service.

Charu Mehta

CRM Consultant, CRMIT

Measuring Customer Satisfaction

When it comes to building business, adding new customers to the pipeline is not the only crucial aspect that should be taken into account, retaining existing customers is equally important. Customer satisfaction actually works like an interpreter for envisaging customer retention, loyalty and product repurchase. So, in an organization, a CRM system is the best way to measure customer satisfaction. CRM system can produce actionable reports for management and is also reliable enough to attach employee performance and compensation to the final results.

Here is a pictorial representation on how these things work together:

There are some critical aspects that should be taken into consideration while measuring customer satisfaction:

Quality with “Zero Defects”: Projects are never perfect and defects cannot be immediately detected at the time of delivery. But if they can be detected during the time of warranty period, customer will feel happy about the service. Though we know that a product with zero defects is rarely achieved, but customers always expect such products.

On-time delivery: For a customer nothing is more frustrating than not receiving product delivery on time. This affects “customer satisfaction”. Even if the delay is caused due to some change that customer has requested, they would still expect the product to be delivered on time.

According to an old perception, vendors always prefer to compromise with the quality rather than delaying the delivery. However, the fact is that customers might forget a delayed delivery, but they hardly ever forget poor quality and whenever asked for references, they highlight the quality factor than on-time delivery.

Price Rating: If a vendor expects his invoice to be respected fully, without any issues, then he should not bill the customer for an amount that was not agreed upon. But sometimes, contracts are drawn up as per hourly rate, thus allowing variance on both sides and whenever customer has to pay more, customer is always dissatisfied.

Issue Factor: Usually, error in the requirements or a conflict, any unclear specifications or lack of understanding the specifications causes various issues. A customer feels dissatisfied when vendors are not able to understand the requirements properly. Additionally, valid issues do not make customers dissatisfied to the extent, as trivial issues do. These really make customers annoyed.

Accommodation and Cooperation: Whenever a customer requests a change, vendors should be able to accommodate and cooperate with him, along with implementing the change without postponing the delivery of the product and without incrementing the price.

Charu Mehta

CRM Consultant, CRMIT

Excelling in Service Quality

It is a dream of every services organization right from coffee shop to hi-tech professional services organization to excel in service quality. It is easier said than done. Measuring service quality is lot more difficult than measuring product performance due to many factors. Some of the key factors that differentiate service quality among service providers are explained by SERVQUAL model. The easiest way to understand the model is to take the most common example of our experiences in restaurants as we all know just the food quality alone may not be a very compelling reason for us to go to specific restaurant than another. I tried to present below the five dimensions of SERVQUAL model, their definitions and their applicability to a restaurant scenario

Tangibles: Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personal and communication materials. This has to be considered as basic hygiene factor (if it is not there it would create a big dissatisfaction, if there not a great differentiator) that everyone expects from a service organization. In the context of restaurant it could be anything like hygiene of the place, well dressed staff, neatly arranged chairs and table, presenting the dishes in the right format etc

Reliability: Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately. This is a very important aspect as you would never go back to the restaurant if he assures you the food in 5 minutes but takes more than 30 minutes to serve (no wonder why companies like Dominos promises 20 minutes guaranteed delivery). Other factors like consistency in the taste of the food every time, availability of your favourite food whenever you go, no mistakes in taking / delivering orders, error free billing etc are other reliable factors that you obviously expect from the Restaurant

Responsiveness: willingness to help customer and perform prompt service. I believe many of you would have the experienced a situation of where the waiter vanishes after serving (dumping) the first round of orders. You have to really look around every nook and corner of the restaurant to locate to get even a glass of water. These aspects go under responsiveness

Assurance: Knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence. Factors like the ability of the waiters to explain us the ingredients of the menu items, ability to recommend the right food depending on your requirements (less spicy, hot etc), some accreditation/ certifications from Organizations like http://www.burrp.com etc goes under the assurance aspects of Service delivery

Finally Empathy: Providing care and individualized attention to the customers. This is a significant differentiator. Some of factors like the special attention given by the restaurant staff to kids, elderly, physically challenged people etc are examples of empathy. Promptly replacing a dish that is not in good form or shape without arguing with customers by understanding the concerns from customer stand point is also an example of Empathy

I presume with a good understanding on the above, it is no big deal to map the above to whatever services your organization delivers to ensure they are taken care to excel in service quality. Feel free to post on what does each of the parameter means in your organization’s context

Venkatesan Sundaram

Senior Director, CRMIT

(Originally Published in : http://venkysundaram.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/excelling-in-service-quality/)

New Customer For CRM++ Email Workbench

Great News! We just got the confirmation that CRMIT has won the opportunity to manage Email Service channels for a large global company, specializing in Visual Technologies. We will be deploying our CRM++ Email Workbench solution to this customer, and customizing it to their needs.

CRM++ Email Workbench (“EWB” in short) is one of the most successful products in our CRM++ suite. You can use the below link to know more about this product, watch a video and request for a demonstration / free trial :

http://crmplusplus.com/ewb.html

Support Without Scripts

Currently reading a book called “Delivering Happiness”. This is written by Tony Hsieh and it tells the story of Zappos.com, famous online shoe store which was acquired by Amazon sometime back.

Even though this book is supposed to be a business history, it gives so many examples of how an exceptional customer service should be. I recommend this book for anyone interested in knowing how to wow their customers. Eventhough it may sound like lot of work / unnecessary cost in the short term, it will help you in the long run. That’s what CRM is all about!

For example, take Zappos customer support. Typically call center people are given ‘scripts’ for various situations and trained on how to use them. Whenever a call is recieved, they select one of these scripts and strictly go by the books. This is the most effective way of handling repeated customer queries. It is fast, and hence cheap.

But what about Customer Satisfaction?

Ha, who cares?

Fortunately, Zappos cares. They doesn’t believe in call scripts. Their call center agents are trained to help customers, no matter what the issue is, and they don’t use any templatized answers. They don’t hesitate to go out of their way and assist in solving the customer’s (or prospect’s) current issue. Even if it means they don’t get any sales out of that particular call, they are not worried. Because they look at the experience that the person gets by contacting Zappos, not just the profit made in that call. Tony Hsieh explains this with a cute (and real) story:

Once, a lady from california called Zappos in very late hours, and this is what she told their call center agent: ‘I am staying in a Santa Monica hotel and very hungry. I want to eat a pepperoni pizza now, but my hotel’s room service is closed. I want to know if there is anything you could do to help me.’

Obviously, this is a strange request. Zappos is a shoe selling online retailer, not a pizza joint.

But fortunately, that call center agent didn’t get irritated or disconnect the call. She took couple of minutes to research on places around Santa Monica who deliver pizzas 24*7, and gave that lady not one, but five addresses.

Tony Hsieh concludes this story with a superb lesson: This is the benefit of having no call scripts, Just provide exceptional support, no matter what the client issue is, and they will be your customers for life.

Naga Chokkanathan,

Director, Innovation & Presales, CRMIT

Originally Published In : http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/why-not-support-without-scripts/