Unlocking CRM’s Full Potential to Improve the Customer Experience

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant

Most people reading this will agree that the overall purpose of a CRM is to focus on the customer. This is true in a broad sense, however, time again this tool with great potential is used as a contact management system with dashboards. IT can be better than this.

If enhancing the customer experience truly is your goal, there are some key themes that need to be considered in a CRM system – to avoid falling behind the curve.

There’s one constantly recurring theme: speed. Consumers and businesses both carry higher expectations from you in terms of timeliness, without compromising quality – whether that’s a response to their problem, getting something sent out to them, etc. This is what I call ‘the power of now’. Automating repetitive tasks doesn’t have to kill the feeling of ‘the human touch’, and can actually make you seem like a more attentive organisation.

We’re going to explore how.


Listening to all of your customers at once

Analytics can be performed on any structured data set. To get everyone on the same page, structured data is essentially data that has been organised into a consistent format, in an addressable format such as a database, where a field can be picked out and you know the type of data within it. The spoken word, or a written letter is most likely to be ‘unstructured’ in its raw format.

To make unstructured data useful at scale, cognitive computing can either be integrated or used within a CRM system. From this you can leverage the power of something like text analytics to comb through emails, texts or webchats to extract useful data from unstructured data sets in a consistent manner. In this case, you are automating the traditionally human chore of combing through written correspondence for important information like names and job titles.


Speech and intent

By using services which can break down a customers’ intents, much like an Alexa does, you can then find out how many of your customers are enquiring about certain topics. You can even take it further, you can see the kinds of phrases your team are using and see how that impacts customer outcomes. For example, through the analysis, you’d be able to identify that a particular member of staff is effective at a specific type of enquiry, you can identify the phrases they use which may be explaining things to the customer in a highly effective way. From there, you can empower your staff to serve your customers better.

This can be taken one step further through not only harnessing data from text, but also from speech. If you operate a contact centre, this can be highly effective. As shown by the proliferation of home assistants, the technology is becoming much cheaper and easier to implement. The exact same technology used in Google Home and Amazon Alexa are available for business use, and can be built up bespoke to the environment your business operates in.

As described, taking more channels of data from your CRM, which is intrinsically linked to your customer, can be an incredibly powerful way of understanding the types of customer and how they can be more effectively served.


The power of now

You might be considering how you can be faster without compromising quality. An investment in a new or existing CRM  could mean being able to give your team the knowledge they need quickly. How could that compromise quality?

Knowledge management is part and parcel of a comprehensive CRM strategy and been available in many solutions for over 15 years. Using enhanced search capabilities or even enabling a capability of ‘push knowledge’, where a user can start writing up, for example, a call note or receive an email and having articles suggested based upon the words used. Not only does this make your staff seem intelligent, avoid the Googling of questions, and mean that your customer is satisfied and confident, it means you can then move on to another customer quickly. Whether sales or support desk, this  is a pretty quick win.

Other ways to cut out tasks that a member of staff really shouldn’t have to do include making use of existing functionality. CRM systems have an ability to create and manage workflows and various bits of ‘business logic’ can be embedded in, whether by developers or, increasingly, business users. You may have heard of an app called IFTT. If This, Then That.

If you want to start making your staff happier, your customers happier, and improve efficiency…Imagine you’ve hired a new member of staff. You’re telling them what they’re going to have to do on a daily basis. IF you get an email about THIS, THEN do THAT. After that, ask yourself the question, should they really have to do that. From following this simple logical flow, you can start coming up with your own ideas to automate mundane tasks.

Finally, you’ve probably already heard of this one, but that doesn’t invalidate its power. Omni-channel. With the range of channels a customer expects widening, having built in or integrated SMS handling, social media accounts, and being able to link webchat and chatbot conversations not only makes you more accessible, but provides more sources of analytics. ‘Social listening’ tools can also give the team an insight into what people are talking about right now.

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More about the author

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant CEO

As CEO of Equantiis, his main focus is on strategic leadership and growth within the business whilst working through new opportunities that support this. Alistair manages client relationships so that they can benefit from his experience and knowledge. He thrives on leading a disruptive business that works with business leaders to identify and overcome complex business challenges, with cost certainty and transformative outcomes. Alistair is passionate about anything outdoors. Including running, camping and travelling with the family.

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