Versatile Communications

By Bob Violino Print this article Print

Businesses have a huge opportunity to improve customer relationships, but failing to take a strategic approach to CRM can result in lost revenue and market share.

Versatile Communications

One of the most important things companies can do to enhance customer relationships is give clients the option of getting in touch with them by whatever means they prefer.

Companies have to be prepared to engage with clients by phone, email, instant messaging, Twitter, blogs and other tools.

“Today, consumers expect a multichannel experience,” Accenture’s Wollan says. A majority of the consumers Accenture surveyed reported frustration when they weren’t able to access company information or purchase a product through the channels of their choice.

“We currently maintain contact with our customers through various channels, depending on the mode by which they initiate [contact] with us,” reports Rutherford of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? “For example, our call center manages inbound live phone calls, as well as email, [Facebook] messaging and chats from our public Website. We pride ourselves on providing world-class response rates and customer service.”

As an early adopter of many of these technologies and communication channels, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has relied on a series of cobbled-together solutions to provide this service. However, in March 2012, the company launched a contact center management platform, based on Microsoft’s Lync 2010 and Aspect’s Unified IP 7 unified communications offerings. The platform makes it easier to manage a variety of customer communication channels. In addition, the company built a complaint resolution system that monitors communication channels, such as phone calls, emails, social media, etc., for customer feedback, and enables agents to quickly take action based on their comments.

“We use the data gathered from this system to train our franchisee partners how to better deliver an exceptional customer experience,” Falcon says.              

Because of the complaint resolution system, “we can now commit to timelines to resolve our customers’ complaints,” Falcon says. “Our goal was 80 percent [of issues] resolved within three business days, and we have achieved 90 percent resolved within three business days. We have also been able to individually address certain [issues] and reduce how often they affect our customers.”

With customers becoming ever more discerning, demanding and tech-savvy, companies will need to make these types of service improvements to hold onto their clients and create even stronger relationships with them.

Tips for Strengthening Customer Relationships

  • Keep customer data clean, fresh and available to the people in the organization who need it. If you want all this data located in one place, be prepared to do the work necessary to achieve that.

  • Ensure that key stakeholders of customer touch points (call center, on-site, Website, etc.) are closely aligned and meet regularly to discuss customer experiences. By having better collaboration, systems and strategies, you’ll improve service to customers. <li">

  • <li">Give customers benefits that matter to them. Today, customers want more than just a smooth experience—they want to be recognized and rewarded for loyalty.<li">

  • <li">Provide meaningful ways for consumers to engage with the company, including via digital channels. Boosted by social media, customers crave personal interaction.—B.V.

This article was originally published on 2012-05-24
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