Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are transforming the way customer service departments interact with customers across a variety of channels.
When customers call a contact center, instead of waiting for a live agent, they can save time by completing many tasks through an automated interactive voice response (IVR) system. If the IVR system can connect to the customer record, customers can check account balances or pay a bill, for example. Thanks to computer telephony integration, calls requiring escalation can be quickly transferred to live agents, who can utilize the CRM system to authenticate callers, assist customers during call, and make any necessary changes to the customer record. Once the account is updated, the information is available to other customer service representatives, who can provide additional support if needed. Plus, if the CRM system integrates to a self-service system, the updates will be available to customers there as well.
As more customer service processes are automated and facilitated, overall support costs will decrease. Additionally, as contact centers incorporate sales capabilities, cross-selling and upselling options will emerge.
With the recent attention that social media has garnered during the past few years, it was only a matter of time before CRM vendors responded with customer service solutions that incorporate this new interaction channel. But, before you begin your social customer service initiative, there are a variety of things to consider. Read our feature story: 10 Social Customer Service Tips.
Voice of the customer (VoC) and voice of the employee (VoE) solutions are nothing new. However, companies are looking to blend the two to get a more complete picture of customer experiences. Read more about how organizations are combining VoE and VoC efforts in our feature story: When VoC and VoE Combine.
Also growing in popularity is the idea of gamifying customer service environments. The repetitive and tedious act of answering support calls all day can be draining, even for the most enthusiastic customer service representative. When agents are bored with their work, they become less engaged and less motivated to do their jobs well. They are also prone to making mistakes. However, gamification vendors suggest their tools can motivate agents by tapping into their visceral need for reward, status, achievement, and competition. For more insight on the merits of gamification in the contact center, read the feature story: Gamification Comes to the Contact Center.