Ask yourself this question. “What’s my customer relationship management strategy?” Chances are, you’ll begin either mentally or verbally reciting the same credo every company does, with generalities about how the customer is important, the customer is always right, and the customer comes before all else. As the recent film Cloud Atlas said, “honor thy consumer”. Well, for the most part, this has some truth to it, but it’s not 100% in actuality. On top of this, exactly what is your approach to any of this?
Customer relationship management strategy is important, and if you don’t have definite answers to these questions, and you’ve fooled yourself into thinking a pure customer pantheon of value is actually doable and practical, then you’re in for a rude awakening, I fear.
So, allow me to take a moment here to enlighten you. I learned these things the hard way, and I wish to spare you the same pain if I can.
First, let’s get the elephant out of the room. Customers are wrong sometimes, and in their defiance, sometimes you actually have to know when to say no. Customers may ask the impossible of you, due to this stereotypical entitlement they feel they have with any company they patronize. This can result in exploitation of your company, or ongoing conflict which paints you in a wrongful poor light.
So, know that there are times when saying no, when pointing out that your policy is your policy and you change it for nobody, is actually not only acceptable, it’s crucial. Take this to heart. It’s entirely dependent on your situation where this line is drawn, naturally.
When it comes to actually serving customers, do you value first call/first contact resolution? Is this in fact your main goal? If not, it should be. From here, all your strategy in handling CRM and CS should focus around being able to resolve the problem for better or for worse, with no need for a callback.
This means contingencies for possible problems being worked out and drilled into agents, as well as a guideline of consolations and resolutions for screw ups on the part of your company. All agents should have authority to act on these if the case meets the criteria, as well.
For instance, an agent in customer service should be able to remedy a double billing mistake without redirecting the customer to the financial department. However, the financial department should be made aware instantly of actions taken, so have your CRM software properly set up.
Also, remember to incentivize customers to actually express concerns and also to express their satisfaction. Having a convenient contact channel for them to express praise and compliment your good service shows you when things are going right, not just when they are going wrong.
Silence tells you nothing, you need positive and negative reinforcement, not negative versus silence.
So, I hope that you will take these things into consideration, and actually formulate logical answers to the questions I posed. It’s important for the sake of your company, your customers and your livelihood that you have a very defined and reliable customer relationship management strategy.
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