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Loyal Customers Can Get You Through Tough Times

Round Table Topic: Expert Advice on Leveraging Your CRM System to Survive This Economic Crunch

Hoyt Mann, President of Phaseware, responds to our round table topic “Expert Advice on Leveraging Your CRM System to Survive this Economic Crunch.” Hoyt’s recommendation to focus on retaining existing customers in sage advice for any business.

Contributed by: Hoyt Mann, President, Phaseware, Inc.

Much attention has been given to the ways in which CRM can help generate new customers. In an economic downturn, your company must also focus on retaining existing customers. In the course of retaining these customers by keeping them completely satisfied with their interactions with the company, new customers may emerge through referrals. But those existing customers must be taken care of first.

It has been our experience at PhaseWare that customers prefer their interaction with a company to be quick and efficient.  Increasingly, the preferred interaction is over the web.  The customer wants access to accurate and useful information available at a time of their choosing and without intermediary aid. In other words, the customers want to serve themselves.

Self service through internet portals is rapidly becoming the expected channel of communication. Within the self service portal is 24/7 access to a knowledge base, to solutions, to forums of others who use the same product. It can even give the customer the ability to create an incident report at the time an issue occurs. This means your company can get the earliest possible start in resolving the customer’s problem and the customer is not forced to wait for an agent. Phone and e-mail support alone cannot hope to match this multifaceted approach to customer service.

Each time the customer can find the answer himself one less call is made to the customer service line. For your company, this means a significant savings in terms of overhead without sacrificing customer satisfaction. Phone support is still needed, but the call numbers will be decreased and they will be from those who have an issue that is not addressed by the self service center. Information gleaned from these calls can then be used to organically grow and adapt the knowledge base to existing customer needs and, in the future, deflect another call.  All this leads to increased customer retention and satisfaction while controlling internal costs. Happy customers are loyal and will refer others to your business.

Additional savings for your company can be leveraged through automating certain functions in the workflow. Customer notifications, management alerts, incident escalation and closure, and routine report distribution can all be handled via software solutions. With these purely administrative steps removed from the workload, agents will be free to perform other more lucrative tasks while customers and personnel are reliably kept informed.

PhaseWare has a strong focus on Self Service and Customer Support Automation.  We believe that these services are part of the answer to today’s increasing costs and decreasing budgets. Keep the current customers happy and loyal. They, in turn, will refer new customers to you.

[Photo courtesy of denamico.]