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Customer Support Systems Post Implementation Pitfalls

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Operational pitfalls of Customer Support Systems tend to mirror those of Sales Force Automation (SFA) software and Marketing Automation software. However, as the primary point of data input, and a more voluminous data transaction volume that other CRM software modules, customer support systems are more susceptible reconfiguration after the go-live system cut-over, more frequent training requirements, corrupt data issues, troubled system integration issues and performance degradation.

Garbage in, Garbage out applies to no CRM software module more so that customer support. Years ago computer programmers called it GIGO for short. As computers and programs are 100% literate, they are only as good as the precise information given. If the Customer Support System is given incomplete, inaccurate or unstructured data or is just not given the right information by the Customer Service Representatives (CSR) the entire CRM system, not just the Customer Support component, will be degraded and CRM ROI will be negatively affected. The CSRs and the data entry clerks are often the lowest paid and least experienced of all company employees. They are also positions where tenure is short and turnover is high. Customer Support Managers must be especially diligent in providing clear data entry instruction and making sure that the data entered is correct, complete and not duplicated. Unused and redundant data has a tendency, if unchecked to accumulate. Bad data clouds good data making information analysis much more difficult. Bad data also lowers user productivity and system performance. With customer support systems, incomplete data can lead to stalled business processes and failed customer delivery. Duplicate data can initiate duplicate resource assignments, such as sending multiple representatives to work on a case or multiple mailers to be sent, or multiple parts to be purchased for a repair job.

Another CRM software post implementation or operational pitfall comes with maintaining information systems. A CSR is at the mercy of the support system to provide them with timely and accurate information about products and responses to client issues. If a customer calls in asking about a problem with a product, and that product has been discontinued or the resolutions for that product's known issues have not been maintained in the information system or knowledge-base, the CSR is underpowered, the resolution is delayed and the customer experience is negative. If new products, new resolutions, new FAQs (frequently asked questions), new knowledge-base articles or other corporate learning are not kept up to date, the entire call center, help desk or customer service delivery will be negatively impacted.

The one thing that will irritate a customer, especially one with a problem, is to hear the excuse of  “our system is down”. This all too common response magnifies the customer perception that the company is unable to resolve their issue to the company is completely inept as they cannot even maintain their own information systems let alone their products which reside at their customer locations. Software as a service CRM solutions have done an admirable job of keeping information systems up and running 24 by 7 by 365. Generally, the providers of on-demand or hosted CRM software have much greater IT (information technology) infrastructures (multiple data centers, hot sites, multiple levels of redundancy, etc.) than just about any indvidual company can afford or maintain themselves.

A final frequently encountered pitfall is the over-reliance of self service technologies offered at the expense of the human experience. All too often companies forget that many people are not computer savvy, are uncomfortable with technology or are simply impatient. These customers prefer to deal with people, exchange information within the human context and get direct answers. Relying too much on web-based or auto-attendant self service tools will alienate many consumers. Even those who prefer self service technology desire a link to a live CSR if they get to a point where they feel the self service is not helpful, not complete or otherwise just not working.

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