If there’s only one thing we’ve learned over the past five years of WORK[etc]’s existence, it’s that no product can thrive without listening to constructive feedback from its users. No matter how much money you pour into marketing a square-shaped bar of soap, your business won’t survive for long if all everybody wants is a soap bar in the shape of a circle.
During the beta testing phase of our new iPhone CRM app, for example, we received feedback that the new Discussions module wasn’t as awesome as we first thought. Our testers found something that we spent a lot of time on as less than great.
Taking the feedback onboard meant a complete overhaul, but our iOS developers proceeded with recoding everything from scratch. The final version was delayed a bit, but the more polished end result was well worth it. The more intuitive and useful Discussions module helped get our app 4- and 5-star reviews from users when it finally went live on the App Store.
This is a textbook example of how to use customer feedback to create an amazing customer experiences. How did we do it? By using CRM software.
CRM software should be used for more than just sales
Now, a lot of CRM software advertising tends to put sales and marketing at the forefront. It’s understandable, since a CRM system can help you identify which customers are most profitable, spot buying patterns, and maximize profits.
What gets forgotten sometimes is that finding a customer and selling them your product are just the first two parts of the customer lifecycle. The “relationship” part of CRM isn’t restricted to sales and marketing — it extends to taking care of your customers and gaining their trust and loyalty as well.
One of the most important cornerstones of successful customer engagement is amazing customer support. It’s often the deciding factor whether or not you get a second sale from that customer you found or if they continue to support your product.
Fast responses are now more important than ever
Social media has amplified the need for companies to improve their customer support services (just see how quickly customer support horror stories go viral). Not only that, it has also made customers less patient when it comes to waiting for a response.
Whereas in the past a few days’ wait wouldn’t be surprising at all, customers regularly expect responses within 24 to 36 hours now — and God help you if you take more than that.
So how does CRM figure into this? A CRM system, especially one with integrated help desk features, can act as a hub for all the support tickets, inquiries, and other forms of customer engagement that you receive.
You get a quick bird’s-eye view of every issue, who sent them, when, and which ones are most important. Not all CRM systems are built for it, though. The ideal system is one that not only gives you multiple feedback channels but is also able to automatically keep track of and attach any support tickets to the proper contacts.
Provide multiple feedback channels
WORK[etc]’s Support module, for example, does both. The integrated Gmail gadget lets you turn any email into a support ticket (or a new contact, lead, or project update, for that matter), give it a priority level, and assign it to any member of your support team.
Custom web forms can also be used to gather any support inquiries straight from your website. Used with WORK[etc]’s customizable customer portal, you can even make a dedicated support form for your top clients with the priority levels and ticket assignments already set for your best support agents.
Giving customers multiple feedback channels shows that you really do want to hear from them. A customer won’t believe your “we’d love to hear from you” spiel if you keep your only feedback form hidden in a tiny corner of your website.
Accessibility is another important factor. While cloud-based CRM software can be accessed pretty much anywhere with an internet connection, there will be times when bringing along a laptop so you can access the desktop version of your CRM app is not an option. To that end, you need one with a mobile app robust enough to let you handle any support tickets or queries that might come in while you’re out in the field.
Tie it all together
Response speed is just one consideration, though. Your CRM software should also be able to consistently track all of these support tickets and other forms of customer engagement such as invoices, quotes, and projects.
An activity stream, which automatically links any communication or projects that you do for a particular client to their contact page, is of utmost importance here. Keeping a running record of your actual relationship with your customers is invaluable in crafting a good experience that they’ll remember.
If a customer, for example, calls you to follow up on an issue that they sent in three weeks back, you can just scan and filter their activity record to know exactly what they’re talking about. There’s no need to pester the customer with the same old questions that they answered before since it’s all there in the activity history.
This way, your support team can quickly get up to speed and your customer will thank you for remembering them. Your customers should be important to you, so you have to make sure they feel that way. Remembering their past concerns and tailoring your responses to their specific needs is already a step towards building an amazing customer experience for them.
It’s not enough to just give your customers a way to contact you — you have to pay attention to their issues as well. You don’t have to take everything on board, of course, but you need to be on the lookout for what most of your customers want. With the right CRM system in place, collecting and tracking feedback — and, in turn, putting what you’ve learned into effect — becomes easier.