A customer service employee is the worst evil. They always call at a wrong moment, know nothing of your case, and can’t help you with anything. And on top of that, they are rude. Is this just an unfair stereotype? Not always. Fortunately, you can change this negative image. Obviously, a lot depends on people and their attitude, but also on the tools they use at work. Automation is the key to success.

Excel versus CRM

Imagine a position called “Manual reporting specialist”. It’s a real-life case, though the official name does not contain the word “manual”. Our specialist is responsible for preparing summary reports on customer service in the organization. Each support channel has a separate database in a separate system, and they are not connected with each other in any way. To prepare a report, the employee has to gather information from scattered sources manually, and sum everything up. Not only is the job tedious, but also highly distressing since you can never be sure that the summary report is complete. In addition, there is a problem of finding and deleting data duplicates.

Multichannel customer contact is becoming a standard: it is no longer a novelty, but a daily routine part of daily work. Despite this, customer service departments in many companies work in the old-fashioned way. Long lives Excel which is the basic tool for “automating” work, mainly related to data. However, it’s not enough nowadays because an automating system, though intended to support the activities of employees, places customers and their needs at the center of interest.

That’s what CRM systems do: not only do they collect customer data, and put all contact channels together but, above all, they make the support process consistent, standardize activities, and automate them whenever possible. The benefits are measurable: reduced support time and cost.

Customer satisfaction, that is customer experience, is always the most important thing. Regardless of the channel, you simply need to take care of your customer, and do it as well as possible. It is the customer, not your company, who decides whether it is more convenient for them to have their case settled by phone, or by email. Maybe it will require going through several channels of contact. Consistent support according to top standards – this must be the experience your customer gets each time they contact your company.

Using Salesforce as an example, we will show you how a CRM system can transform customer service operations. The system provides comprehensive customer relationship management, but we will focus only on the functionalities provided by Service Cloud, a module intended for customer service departments.

 

CRM: what does a consultant gain?

Let’s take a look at the tools a consultant is provided with. The consultant starts a regular workday: sits at the desk, and turns on the computer. The Home screen provides insight into the current status of tasks. It reminds the consultant how many cases they are currently handling, what their priorities are, and via which contact channel they were raised.

The consultant can compare their work with other team members: by the number of completed requests or by the average time spent on handling a request. The system indicates how long a customer waits for resolving their case from the moment it is raised, and whether the customer is satisfied with the service (provided they answer a questionnaire sent automatically by the system when the request is closed).

Moreover, the consultant can use a search engine which, similarly to Google, lets them browse the system by any record group (including attachments).

The consultant also sees a list of open cases, which is what they focus on in their daily work. It is important not to lose sight of them — therefore, it is also possible to view them in a specific request window view. Each request the agent starts working on is visible as a tab in the upper part of the screen which, as a reminder, disappears when the request is closed.

In many cases, customer service comes down to working with your headset on. To enhance this kind of contact, it is important to present the consultant who calls a customer with the entire context of communication so far. Salesforce Service Cloud provides this possibility since it identifies the customer by phone number, and displays the contact sheet, the so called 360 degree view, that is the full view. It includes customer contact details, and all the activities related to the customer (sales history, salesperson data, finished transactions, open sales opportunities, promotional campaigns, cases raised by the customer).

Customer contact by phone can be enhanced further by integrating Salesforce Service Cloud with other tools or systems dedicated to call center support. An example of such a tool is a phone component using AI which was developed by Alfavox. This solution is particularly useful when a customer, after answering the phone from a consultant, cannot continue the conversation. In such a case, the consultant can schedule a call for a time and date convenient for the customer. Then, the system makes the call by itself, and forwards it to the specific agent as scheduled.

Alfavox can also support outbound campaigns — the system will initiate phone calls with each and every customer who the campaign is addressed to, based on predictive calling. The group covered by the campaign is segmented based on the data from a CRM system.

Salesforce Service Cloud integration with Alfavox will also prove itself in case of task queuing. In this situation, the system will automatically assign requests to consultants (specific ones, or those who aren’t busy at the moment – you just need to create queue models in the system first, for instance, based on agent skills (foreign languages, specific product groups, specific markets, etc.).

 

CRM: what does a manager gain?

Above all, the head of the customer service department needs a deeper insight into the team’s work and its performance. Salesforce Service Cloud provides them with such a possibility. Similarly to a consultant, the head can choose from different views presenting specific indicators.

For instance, Omnisupervisor Dashboard presents a summary of the department’s current work. It displays all consultants, their current statuses (talking to a customer / free), and the contact channels they handle (Salesforce Service Cloud brings the most important channels, such as chat, email, Messenger, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, together). Omnisupervisor Dashboard displays also a load of agents, and the total work time of each of them, including breaks.

To learn the key performance indicators related to the department work, the manager can use dashboards. They contain data such as First Contact Resolution (FCR), SLA Compliance, Escalation Rate, the number of cases by priority and service channel, customer satisfaction for specific agents (which can be used, for instance, to launch additional motivational programs). Finally, the manager can tell what the customer value is, that is the value of all products sold to this customer compared with service costs.

How do the presented solutions translate into time and cost reduction? As studies show, after implementing Salesforce Service Cloud, the average customer service time can be reduced by up to one fourth, and agent productivity can be increased by up to one third.

Author

  • Marek Ceglarz
  • Salesforce CRM Consultant | Marketing Cloud Team Leader
  • Salesforce CRM specialist. Initially associated with the hotel industry, from which he went to IT (JAVA and Salesforce technology). He cooperates with domestic and international clients. He began his adventure with Salesforce in the Craftware sales department; currently, he is a Salesforce CRM consultant. His work focuses on finding the value of implementation for new customers, working with them on building its scope and pricing. He is also responsible for system configuration and deployments. In addition to his daily work at Craftware, Marek is an ALK lecturer at post-graduate studies in CRM and Marketing Automation. He is an avid motorcyclist. He owns a Salesforce Accredited Sales Professional certificate.

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