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Customer Support Systems Benefits for Support Managers

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A robust and thoughtfully implemented Customer Support System is a wonderful analgesic for today’s Customer Support Managers. Simply put, it mitigates, eliminates or manages the causes of most Customer Support Manager headaches and job challenges.

While companies often begin the implementation of a support system for the primary benefit of their customers (to increase in customer satisfaction), support managers are also clearly significant beneficiaries of the organization, management and automation delivered by these information systems. A frequently cited complaint of customer’s today is the non-responsive nature of customer service centers. Many companies are helpful and attentive when a sale is being made, or the customer is being courted. However, many feel that when there is an issue after the sale, especially one that offers no opportunity for up-sell, cross-sell, renewal or other additional money to the company, or, in fact actually brings additional cost to the company, support motivation wanes and response time can be measured on a calendar instead of a watch. However, companies can invest their time and resources into CRM strategy, support policies and customer support software in order to eliminate this customer perception, bring order to the chaos and build the customer relationship over time with each successful touch point and encounter.

Customer support information systems effectively bring structure and consistency to the policies, procedures and exception conditions that a customer support manager would otherwise manage manually. With an automated customer service system, each client contact creates a new case or appends a prior case. This terminology can be different from company to company. Customer contact records are often called cases, tickets or incidents. What is important is that each case is logged, assigned and managed through a complete process that leads to closure and hopefully a satisfied customer experience. As each case creates a unique computer system record, an audit trail exists to bring visibility to the case's assigned resources, escalation path and ultimate resolution. Automated system alerts, notifications and escalation rules prevent cases from becoming stagnant, falling the cracks or otherwise languishing.

As with other company managers, the support manager has complete visibility of the customer support activities under his or her purview. This greatly facilitates decentralized or multiple location companies by permitting hands-on management from afar. Without having to loom over or meet with Customer Service Representatives (CSR) on a frequent basis, the manager can see who is doing what, agent performance metrics and overall team or call center effectiveness.

Customer Support Manager also benefit from the grouping, segmentation and consolidation of all cases. By interrogating the case data, problem areas can be quickly identified, root cause analysis performed and adjustments made to improve particular support policies or procedures.

A Customer Support Manager can generate, at the click of a mouse, reports that show real time and cumulative metrics for given work functions or areas. This information is very influential and permits managers to initiate programs designed to continually advance the call center, help desk or customer service division. For example, if the average time for all case resolutions is 15 days the service manager may be able to determine which service staff have a lower average and examine what they are doing; and then compare that with the activities of other CSRs with longer closure times and determine what is needed to help the less productive staff reach the benchmarks of the higher performers. This also allows for a proactive, positive approach as opposed to reactive or negative feedback that is time consuming and often demoralizing for CSR staff. If activities and their results do not change as intended, then a reallocation of human resources can be made with clear and objective data to support the change.

A Customer Support Manager can also see what products or services are generating the most cases and bring that to the attention of manufacturing, contributing to root cause analysis and adding to the customer support department's value proposition. A robust CRM support software system will empower CSR's to act as the intermediary between the company's production facilities and the customers' experience. The Customer Support Director becomes empowered with key information needed to become an asset of positive growth and change for the company. The CRM software support system also mines data which facilitates the support of marketing and sales efforts by capturing and reporting the data and metrics needed for these two domain areas. For example, in a given month a company has 75 new customer cases and the average is 50. The Support Manager can look deeper to the data and metrics and determine why and where the cases are originating. If a large percentage of the cases happen to have the same originating sales representative, the Support Manager can bring this to the attention of the Sales Manager who can then investigate, see why this is the situation and take appropriate action. CRM software support systems clearly provide the IT infrastructure for Customer Support Managers run their call centers, help desks or department's better and also elevate their roles to become a more valuable member of the management team.

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