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Five Ways to Reveal Your Customer Data
New methods of collecting customer data are already providing attractive returns on their investment.
For the rest of the September 2014 issue of CRM magazine please click here

We've stated before that data is the lifeblood of any CRM system. With so many recent technological advancements, this has never been as true as it is today. Many of the new methods of collecting customer data are still evolving, but all of them are providing attractive returns on their investment. Below is a list of five technologies and strategies that can help your organization gain more customer insight.

1.) Let's get the easy one out of the way first. It seems nearly impossible to read business press headlines lately without stumbling upon a social media story. Today, there are more sophisticated enterprise solutions than ever that enable an organization to interact with customers on their preferred social channels. A good example of this appears in the article "Social Media Monitoring Delivers for Domino's," by News Editor Leonard Klie. This story shows how the pizza chain experienced a 137 percent increase in social traffic handled, with 89 percent of all cases being handled within an hour. Not bad for a company that can receive 10,000 social media interactions in a month, some coming from highly influential celebrities.

2.) You don't have to look too far to see the next trend—the use of mobile devices as workforce productivity tools. Field professionals love their mobile devices and use them quite often. In response, some savvy software vendors have introduced mobile solutions that enable remote workers to access and enter customer and product information before, during, and after a client meeting. To learn about these options, read Sarah Sluis' cover story,"Could Mobile CRM Solve Field Sales' Biggest Problems?"

3.) If part of your job is to capture relevant customer data, you should know about tag management systems. These technologies apply tags, or codes, to Web sites, applications, and emails to capture customers' digital behaviors. However, when applied to multiple digital locations, managing these tags can become unruly—especially when tags are added or updated and digital channels are modified. This is where a tag management system comes in. For more on this budding technology, take a look at our feature story "Why Marketers Need a Tag Management System," by Associate Editor Maria Minsker.

4.) Customer service reps are spending more time on the phone with customers, according to the article "Call Handling Time Continues to Rise," by Leonard Klie. As technologies become more sophisticated, so do the customer conversations about them, which can certainly add to the length of a call. However, something else is happening as well—the focus on average handle time is giving way to customer satisfaction. This means if it will make a customer happier to stay on the phone a little longer, so be it, that's what agents are being instructed to do. There's an ancillary benefit to organizations that do this. One expert in this story says it "almost certainly" brings in more sales and repeat business.

5.) Customer service reps are privy to some very useful customer feedback, such as customer wants and needs as well as complaints and praise about a company's products, services, prices, policies, etc. That's why progressive organizations are turning to agents for their side of the story. By combining agent feedback with customer feedback, contact centers get a more complete picture of customer trends. To read more about merging voice of the customer and voice of the employee strategies, read our feature story "When VoC and VoE Combine," by Leonard Klie.

As evidenced by these trends, the industry is maturing, and so are the ways in which companies interact with their customers.


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