The Basics of Serving Customers Better

In a marketplace where too many products and services are chasing too little demand, it's never been more essential to attract--and retain--customers.

The stakes are high: Reducing customer attrition by 5 to 10 percent can increase annual profits by as much as 75 percent, according to a study by The Wharton School.

Customer satisfaction starts when you offer both a trouble-free shopping experience and a smooth business transaction. But you also have to anticipate and meet your customers' wants, not just needs.

How Things Will Change: Make Every Customer Contact a Personal One

The more you increase your customer knowledge and centralize it into customer profiles, the better positioned you'll be to deliver a satisfying customer experience each time you interact with a customer, be it on the Web, face to face, by e-mail or telephone. New tools and technologies, such as Internet Protocol (IP) Communications and Contact Center applications, can help you provide top-tier customer service.

  • Customer data will always be available. Employees can input, update, and view information about your customers in a database that's accessible over wired or wireless network connections using a computer, phone, or other handheld device. Mobile workers can stay connected to customers and customer data in real time, whether they're on the sales floor, a warehouse, at an airport departure gate, or if they've just stepped away from their desks.
  • When customers call, you'll know who they are. You can ensure that vital customer details pop up on a computer screen the moment a customer calls. Your workers will have a 360-degree view of each customer, including notes from other employees regarding earlier transactions, as soon as that customer calls. You'll save time for your customers and employees and make a better impression.
  • Your customers can access their personal information easily and safely. Customers like to track their packages, see their purchase histories, and personalize their relationship with you. By adding a Web interface or telephone prompt interface to your customer database, customers can be an active partner in their relationship with you. They can get the information they need when, where and how they need it.
  • You'll be able to easily collaborate with customers more effectively. Does the customer have an assigned sales rep? Does the customer regularly need an expert in a particular area? With automatic call routing, you'll make sure that customers are connected to the most appropriate employee without numerous or needless telephone transfers.
  • Customers will communicate however they want. By telephone, via e-mail, Web chat, or by instant messaging, your customers will be able to contact you in the way they want.
  • Ensure that customer data remains secure. Consumers are increasingly wary of threats to their privacy online. A secure network will prevent thieves and hackers from stealing your vital customer information—the consequences of which can be disastrous for your business.
  • View other employee's phone status (unavailable, busy). You'll be able to only transfer customers to others in your company who are availableórather than sending callers into aggravating voice mail limbo.
  • Provide a rich customer experience. You can engage in video calls and Web chats to communicate more dynamically and effectively.
  • Improve employee morale. Employees feel good about themselves and the work they do when they have the tools and training necessary to do the job correctly. Improved employee morale is reflected in every customer contact made.
  • Improve the bottom line. By offering an enhanced customer experience, you'll be able to retain the customers you have and attract new ones. The end result: You'll reduce costs associated with attracting new customers and boost revenues.

Next:

Upgrading Your Network for CRM? Six Things to Consider

Serve Your Customer Better

Find a Local Reseller

City/State/Zip:

Country:

Business Heroes

Get innovative business insights and share your ideas, visit the business advice blog, "Business Heroes".

Visit blog