We’ve all heard the phrase “data is the new oil”, but just like oil, data needs to be refined to be valuable to any business. When we think of customer data, it’s easy to understand how this can be valuable to a business. Yet, more often than not, businesses fail to use this data to their benefit and end up storing it away to no use.
And when customer data is not put to good use, your business is missing out on the key ingredient to enhance customer experience (CX). If you think CX is not the be-all and end-all of your business success, it’s time to think again. With two-thirds of businesses now competing on the basis of CX, it’s never been more important to leverage data to deliver the best possible experience to your customers.
But if data is the new oil, the integration between a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) software and your contact centre is the refinery machine – only simpler to use and a lot less expensive.
What is a CRM?
A CRM is a system used to manage customer interactions across the entire customer journey, from marketing to sales, support and customer service.
CRMs collect customer data and help the business manage customer interactions, every step of the way. Without a CRM, businesses would need to record customer data manually and make decisions based on guesswork, rather than hard facts.
With a CRM system, businesses can accurately and systematically make decisions to improve the customer journey and deliver better customer experience. Information is shared across the company, so that every team, from marketing to customer service, has access to all the necessary information to improve business results.
How does a CRM integrate with your contact centre?
It’s safe to say that your customer service agents are fundamental to gaining valuable customer information. When a customer gets in touch with your contact centre, your business can discover recurring issues or queries, and use that data to improve CX, products or even to create better marketing campaigns.
Integrating a CRM system with your contact centre makes all of those things possible and more. With this integration, the CRM system and your contact centre exchange information and present it in a simple way for your employees to use to benefit the business and your customers.
A CRM integration should be a simple process, as most contact centres offer it as a standard – if you’re having issues or if your contact centre solution doesn’t integrate with your CRM, it might be time to look elsewhere.
What are the benefits of CRM integration?
· Omnichannel CX
Customer behaviours have changed drastically over the past five years. While phone calls aren’t dead yet, it’s inferable that they’re not the only, or in some instances not even the main channel that customers prefer to get in touch with a brand. Almost half of all customers now prefer email to get in touch with customer service, with another 24% preferring live chat over traditional channels.
But that’s not all, with so many more channels to choose from, customers also expect to have a seamless conversation regardless of the channel – and more importantly, even when moving from one channel to another.
With CRM integration, agents can retrieve a customer’s previous interaction, regardless of the channel they’re using. This means that every time a customer gets in touch, whether via call, email, webchat or even social media, the agent can look up their interaction history and help them more efficiently.
Omnichannel CX (the ability to deliver a seamless customer experience across multiple, interconnected channels) is now the standard for contact centres, but it can only be truly successful thanks to CRM integration.
· Agents engagement and productivity
Agents don’t have it easy, especially when they’re not equipped with the right tools to do their job properly and efficiently.
When a customer gets in touch, they expect each and every agent to know exactly how to help them. No one likes to wait on hold for very long, nor to be passed around three different agents who have no clue how to help.
A CRM system allows different departments across your business to access the same useful customer information, so that every agent is always able to retrieve it and help the customer accordingly.
On top of that, CRMs make automation easier, so that your agents don’t have to manually make calls or get back to customers, but can schedule interactions with the click of a button.
· First call resolution
First call resolution is the ability to resolve a customer query on the first interaction. It may sound too good to be true, but by integrating a CRM with your contact centre, it’s easier to achieve than you’d think.
As we’ve previously mentioned, with a CRM system sharing information with your contact centre, and vice versa, agents have all the customer information they need to solve a customer query.
When customers call, agents can retrieve their previous interaction history, deliver a more personalised experience and solve issues more quickly.
What are some of the best CRMs in the market?
Salesforce is one of the most (if not the most) popular CRM platforms on the market. Founded in 1999, it vaunts more than 150 thousand customers worldwide and dominating over 20% of the market.
In its over twenty years of existence, Salesforce has expanded its range of products to allow businesses to store all sorts of customer information – from marketing interactions to sales or simply customer experience.
Even so, all Salesforce products are fairly simple to use and to customise, as they’re all stored into a single platform, with customers only having to choose which they prefer and need.
Salesforce is an ideal choice for medium-sized and enterprise businesses hoping to make the most of their customer data.
· Microsoft Dynamics 365
As the name gives away, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a CRM system delivered by tech behemoth Microsoft.
This solution comes with in-built AI and advanced capabilities ideal for larger businesses that want to up their data game.
The main benefit of this solution is its native integration with Microsoft Office. While it might be slightly difficult to get to grips with, it boasts a very familiar interface very similar to other Microsoft programmes.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is also hosted on Microsoft Azure, making it a very secure choice for more complex businesses.
You might not be familiar with Zendesk, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it as your preferred CRM. Founded in 2007, Zendesk is a “service-first” CRM company that offers an array of CRM services.
Zendesk comes with a huge range of interesting features that can make your agents’ lives easier, from Internal Help Desk – to support and answer agents queries – to self-service portals to let customers help themselves before getting in touch with your agents.
This system is a good choice for businesses of all sizes, as it offers cheaper plans for smaller businesses.
To wrap it up
To make the most of your customer data, your business should definitely invest in a CRM system (if it hasn’t already) and ensure this is perfectly integrated with your contact centre solution. This won’t only improve your agents’ productivity, but it will also ensure your customers receive the customer experience they expect.
Not sure where to start? Get in touch with our team or discover our contact centre solution with built-in CRM integration to make the most of your customer data and deliver better CX for your customers.