In our previous two blog posts, we discussed the core features of sales automation and lead management that a CRM needs to deliver complete functionality. Continuing on the same note, this blog post will discuss the core service and customer support features a CRM needs. Relationship management is more than sales and lead management. You will probably have customer interactions that demand your guidance and support. Thus, service and support features are also necessary to secure a strong customer relationship. Apart from this, these features will also weigh a lot regarding your sales and marketing initiatives. The data from such tools gives plenty of insights into your operations.
So, without further ado, let’s jump into the core service and support features that your CRM needs:
1. Case Management
When customers get in touch with your company for an issue, a CRM must be able to open a case. Apart from opening cases, your support representatives must be able to effortlessly and quickly handle these cases. Many companies rely on dedicated email addresses that automatically open cases in their CRMs: email@example.com. Other options include automated case creation for all communication methods, especially in companies that deploy omnichannel communication strategies. CRMs usually have dedicated modules for cases where strong workflow capabilities are deployed. These capabilities allow quick case routing and escalation to qualified agents in the issues that your customers encounter. In addition, intelligent CRMs can turn an email response to a case inquiry into a knowledge base article (see below) as it builds a library of solution information to drive higher first-call resolution rates and more effective self-service (more on self-service below).
2. Phone Integration
Because we mentioned omnichannel communication previously, we think that phone integration for case management is critical in all organizations. Some customers still prefer to pick up the phone and contact a live agent when encountering issues with their products or services. Phone integrations entail linking your CRM with your phone system (most accessible with a VoIP or software-based phone system), allowing for the data associated with an inbound phone call to be matched against a customer record in the CRM. This lets your company quickly route phone inquiries to the best support agents that can handle a specific inquiry, depending on the record’s history, products of choice, etc.
To further elevate customer service and support features, some CRMs even feature screen pop-ups for agents that let them know in advance the issue your caller is currently having, so agents can properly prepare before taking the said call. In this scenario, anybody with solid product knowledge can become a support agent without being part of a physical call center establishment.
3. Knowledge Management
If you’re aiming to provide spotless experiences to your customers along their journey, a Knowledge Management module is non-negotiable. Usually, these are composed of two elements: a knowledge base and a FAQ section. Knowledge base elements typically consist of authoring tools, where subject-matter experts can author content that explains and discusses topics regarding your products or services, workflows, or product features. Then, the content is split into categories (using tags or hashtags) to become more searchable and accessible to support agents, sometimes even when picking a case to manage it. For a similar tool to be highly effective, keyword and elastic global search are needed to ensure the most relevant results are accessed during a search inquiry.
FAQ sections are an excellent way to offer employees and customers quick fixes to minor, common issues, in a fast and cost-effective fashion. FAQ sections are essentially web-based sets of questions, with associated answers beneath.
4. Self-Service Portal
Not all customers prefer to interact with live agents when they encounter issues or problems. In such cases, self-service portals are necessary. Self-service portals usually consist of valuable customer information made widely available to them. Companies that deploy self-service portals typically experience higher levels of customer satisfaction. Not only in such cases can customers solve issues on their own terms, but not being forced to wait for an email response or in a phone queue saves them valuable time.
Self-service portals usually give access to:
- Status of the cases they logged
- A well-defined knowledge base
- FAQ sections;
- News and updates on products or services
5. Case Reports and Dashboards
Case reports and dashboards offer insights into your customers’ problems and needs, and thus, they allow you to stay on top of those. CRMs that deploy service and support features should also offer a series of pre-configured reports and dashboards, such as:
- New cases/period
- Number of cases closed
- Number of cases by status
While these reports offer an extensive view of your support department’s workload and progress, dashboards clearly represent visually the reports mentioned. More advanced reports can reveal which agents are getting assigned, managing, and closing the most cases per month. A reporting tool can also allow you to build custom reports on any system information, such as most frequent case topics, portal search topics, etc., to help you better adjust your support policies and staffing.
If you’d like to discuss more about your service and support features, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We’re here to help!