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Is CRM Pushing Service out of Style?

The reasons why customer service, especially at the point of interaction, fails to create a positive impact on the customer include poor training, understaffing, poor coordination with the back-end, sloppy back-end work regarding procurement and distribution, and poor database management.

Another interesting facet of the effect of CRM on customer service is that “old-fashioned” or personalized customer service is perceived to have given way to interaction with programmed responses. Customers are now being put on hold and are having to deal with automated voice responses that do not offer satisfactory information as well as dialing options that can leave customers dazed and still finding themselves where they were at the beginning of the call.

CRM Issues that Affect Customer Service

Across industries, poor customer service is often the number one reason cited by customers who switch service providers. Poor customer handling and oral communication skills displayed by customer-facing staff are a major worry for managers.

Research shows that in the U.S. big companies do not answer around 40% of the mails received by them. A non-responsive attitude to answering emails hurts business because of loss of potential buyers and eroding customer loyalty. The probable CRM-related causes can be a commitment to more than you can deliver in terms of response management and faulty email practices because of improper training.

Customer service for a large part deals with problem solving and easing the customer’s mind. Aspects that are to be considered as a part of this include knowing your product and service, not digressing and trying to push another product, being flexible and employing a personable approach. The absence of these factors affects customer service.

Retail for example takes or is supposed to take a very customer-centric approach; however, a high level of turnover requires that new recruits be trained in the company business ways. Some may require grooming from scratch. This is because CRM systems are often much customized to the needs of a given business and learning the ropes may take time. Retail, incidentally, also faces a very high level of customer turnover as compared to other services such as hotels, airlines, and life insurance.

The culture of customer service in a company is bound to be influenced by CRM practices. CRM investments alone cannot foster customer service. What can, however, is information on what customers prefer and what puts them off. Learning gleaned from such information should be made a part of CRM training initiatives so that “bad service” can be eliminated as much as possible.