A Customer Services Managers Guide to CRM
Helpdesk needs for business
Help desk is a term launched a long time ago for IT support. Now the term has been adopted also for customer service and business needs. In essence, it is a system to manage the customer service process.
If you already have an email address for your support requests you most likely have a team working on those cases. You have recognized a need to support your customers. The next step could be to move away from emails and implement a CRM system that keeps track of all customer communications.
Typical Business needs
Help desks for business have different needs than IT support. In both worlds, the service requests are called tickets. A ticket stores all data needed for controlling their execution and data to calculate key metrics.
Service requests need category or segmenting information, e.g. what product or service the request is related to, what is the issue category e.g. operation manual etc. This categorization data is essential to understand what types of issues customers have and what can we do to improve our products and services.
As these systems also are able to calculate the work hours spent in solving the issues it easier to pin point the critical areas for improvement.
In a typical email serviced Help desk this data and the potential growth in your business can not be achieved. Email based ticketing is very transactional.
Recording service requests
If you already have an email account dedicated to service requests you need to accept customers to use their own email channel. However, the CRM Help desk must automatically create the tickets and attach them to the customer in question. In this way, the Help desk personnel can start working on the cases immediately.
However, a more reliable way to create service tickets is via web form. The customer can do part of the ticket categorization himself. Also it is easier for the customer to add more information later on, like attach documents and other files. The easier it is for customer the better service they experience.
Service Level Agreements
Even if you do not publish service level agreements to your customers you should set and use your internal service levels. This means you need to set target resolution times for service requests and report the results for your own performance use. Sometimes this is used for bonus payments.
And the day comes when a customer demands you to sign service level agreement. If you have no control over your service operation it may become a very expensive agreement if you decide to sign an agreement with service levels that are based on pure guesses. With CRM you know where you are.
Reporting and development
As mentioned earlier categorization is the key to reporting. You need to spend time thinking what the key performance indicators are. Customer service key metrics are data driven and the data needs to be there.
When the categories and data is in place the reporting itself is not an issue. Graphs are good to display overall information on “how are we doing today” and textual reports are good for analysis and designing performance improvements.
Productivity and FAQ’s
Help desk is very much about keeping everything under control, managing the organizations and managing quality and costs.
When productivity is considered, support usually receives a number of very similar requests. This can not always be avoided but what certainly helps is to analyse where customer service staff spends their time on. Automating parts of service process like using FAQ replies give customers good service and reduces your costs. Unfortunately, this is not true for all customer service processes but for most it is.
360 degree view
When customer service Help desk is part of your CRM system you get a complete view on your customers. Are they reading your emails, when did we last time contact them, do we have outstanding business opportunities, how have we treated their service requests etc.
In order to keep existing customer this is vital information. This information should be used and result into some form of an action. Depending on your company policy.