Customer service has historically been treated as a cost center, while other departments like sales are revenue generators. The two departments typically have little to do with each other in an organizational chart. However, the customer may engage with a business through both customer service, sales, or marketing during their journey.
With this complete interaction cycle in mind, when it comes to revamping workflows and considering customer relationship software, businesses should take action based on an understanding of individual customer service interactions, just as customer service teams should be aware of specific marketing promotions and sales activities when dealing with a customer issue or inbound inquiry. This kind of internal partnership not only lends itself to increased transparency which makes agent’s jobs easier, but it’s also the foundation for a cross-selling.
The internal disconnect between customer service, sales, and marketing often also carries over into technology stacks. The CRM system should ideally be the technological link between each function, but it often only makes the situation worse by reinforcing siloed thinking.
In a four-part blog series focusing on how your CRM can act as a unifying tool that breaks down silos across departments, this first article sets up the problem about why CRM is often a blocker to interdepartmental unity and presents a more refined treatment of the customer via tools that integrate information across systems.
Incomplete View of the Customer Journey
Despite the first letter in CRM standing for “customer,” generally CRM systems have been designed around companies and their processes–NOT customers. Most teams use CRM systems to drive segmentation and list building for their campaigns and to store customer attributes.
However, many of these campaigns are invisible to the rest of the organization. When a customer reaches out to a contact center to get an issue resolved, typically, the agent will be able to see basic information about the person, like their transaction history, address, payment, etc. However, they don’t typically see any of the marketing communications the customer has received.
Although CRM provides the capability to do personalized, behavior-based outreach, almost no one is actually doing it yet because the dots between marketing and pre/post-customer support are not connected. The reality is that many of the capabilities of the expensive CRM platform are rendered useless.
Lack of ROI and Lifetime Value Visibility
There is often a disconnect between what customers say and what they actually do. Yet many companies ask consumers one time how they prefer to be contacted, and they set it and forget it in the CRM. Rarely are those selections ever analyzed down the road to see which channels are actually more effective for reaching the consumer and sparking a conversation. One look at their activity would show that promotional emails have been successful in converting them, meaning there is an opportunity to realize savings on expensive printing costs by focusing on email or even SMS. If a company can understand the ROI of each communication, it can begin to prioritize communication investments by the individual.
While many newer technologies built with integrations in mind can play nicely with CRM systems, the same is not usually true of large, legacy enterprise systems like contact center or ERP platforms. It can be a nightmare to bring those systems together because they were designed to stand alone. When using multiple systems, many times there is no “master customer record” so many attributes are called the same thing in different places and it can be hard to bring them all together for analysis.
Why doesn’t everyone just use the CRM system so integration is not necessary, and both marketing and customer support have the same view? That would be ideal, but most CRM systems today have not been designed for contact center agents to use. And, if the configuration is possible it is often rejected in the planning stages because of the necessary work and expense to get it done. A truly customer-centric platform is one designed for this purpose, to help companies connect the dots of the customer journey through technology.
Most businesses are not utilizing their CRM systems to full capacity because of data challenges. The powerful combination of marketing, sales, and customer service data could lead to true personalization based on meaningful attributes like purchase patterns, preferences, support interactions, and post-purchase behaviors.. So you see a proliferation of first-level personalization, such as using the first name in an email salutation, or slightly more advanced retargeting based on purchase history.
Despite the rapidly expanding capabilities of CRM systems, there are still many limitations in using them across the full customer journey. All interactions, from sales and marketing to customer support, need to be taken into account.
In our next post for this series, we’ll talk about where CRMs need to go and how the best contact center leaders will, in the future, address the challenges discussed here.
LiveVox is a next-generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion interactions a year. We seamlessly integrate omnichannel communications, CRM, and WFO capabilities to deliver an exceptional agent and customer experience, while reducing compliance risk. Our reliable, easy-to-use technology enables effective engagement strategies on communication channels of choice to drive performance in your contact center. Our battle-tested risk mitigation and security tools help clients maximize their potential in an ever-changing business environment. With 20 years of pure cloud expertise, LiveVox is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Our more than 450 global employees are headquartered in San Francisco; with offices in Atlanta, Denver, New York City, St. Louis, Medellin, Colombia, and Bangalore, India.