DSC Tech Library
Customer Relationship Management
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to CRM Solutions and customer relationship management software and products.
Providing timely customer service information is vital to maintaining a successful business. Accurate information provided in an organized and thoughtful manner is key to business success.
TELEMATION, our CRM and contact center software, was originally built on this foundation. The ability to modify Customer Relationship Management software is important in this ever changing business environment.
Telemation Customer Relationship Management solution and contact center software is ideally suited for call centers throughout the world.
CRM in the call center and contact center
Though tempting to think of CRM in technology terms, it is much broader, comprising a range of commitments to CRM-consistent strategies, tactics, processes, skills, and technology. Because of its complexity and expense—and its impact on business operations—CRM requires clear and committed ownership from the upper reaches of the organization and whole-hearted participation throughout before it can be implemented successfully. The sales, marketing, customer service, sales finance, corporate finance, and information technology departments should agree on costs, benefits, total cost of ownership (TCO), and return on investment (ROI).
CRM and associated technologies address the following critical business needs:
Together with the Web, CRM places new demands on contact center personnel, such as customer service representatives (CSRs) and inside sales agents, by requiring them to:
- Internet-enabled sales, marketing, and customer service teams
- Enhancing customer interaction and communication
- Improving lead generation management
- Improving sales forecasting, revenue predictability and reporting
- Shortening sales cycles
- Increasing revenue through accurate quoting, pricing and order generation
- Implementing electronic commerce through selling channels
- Maximizing call center and contact center effectiveness
- Handle business, procedural and technical questions about the company's Web site.
- Respond to potentially large volumes of e-mail inquiries.
- Service collaborative chat sessions.
- Provide correct answers a vast majority of the time, consistent with customer experience and expectations.
- Assimilate extensive training and orientation to achieve high service levels.
Benefits and risks
Shopping is not just a walk or a drive away anymore—it is a click away. And it is not limited to just a section of town—it is the world. Desktop PCs populated with endless clusters of Internet-based storefronts and businesses offer a multitude of buying options that can originate virtually anywhere on the globe for just about any product or service. For the buyer, it can be like a candy store—so many tempting choices, which one should I try first? For the seller, it may not be so worthwhile.
With the established popularity of the Internet, more and more contact centers are gaining the ability to handle multiple customer access methods, including telephone, e-mail, chat, fax, and video. The multichannel character of Web-based transactions has created a multidimensional problem resulting in the need for yet another type of CRM—company resource management. After all, what good is having a Web site if it is not up to date and informative? Why have an e-mail address or a toll-free telephone number if there are not enough people to respond to all inquiries? What components are required to support IP-based telephony and how much do they cost? What special skills and training are essential if contact center agents have to interpret screen pops while remaining cool, calm and courteous? What talents should developers of e-business marketing programs have? These are just some of the questions that enterprises need to address.
It is critical that the allocation of people and capital and facilities accurately mirror a company's business plan—and the business plan has to reflect a company's business strategy. In short, commitment to CRM requires a commensurate commitment to develop an effective infrastructure that supports CRM initiatives.
In call centers and contact centers, CRM applications are often used in combination with data warehousing, data mart, and data-mining software to allow companies to gather and access information about customer buying histories, preferences, complaints, and other data. Benefits include:
Greater customer loyalty.
- Cost savings achieved by retaining existing customers rather than trying to gain new ones (costs approximately 10 times more for the latter).
- The ability to better anticipate what customers want.
- Faster response to customer inquiries.
- Increased efficiency through automation.
- Greater depth of knowledge about customers.
- More opportunities for collateral selling, cross-selling, and up-selling.
- The ability to identify the most profitable customers or customer segments.
- The ability to translate customer feedback into improvements and new products and services.
- Increased opportunities for one-to-one marketing.
- Information about customers/segments that can be shared with business partners.
- Customer expectations will escalate as businesses implement CRM and departments adapt to their new tools. Enterprises without CRM risk losing customer loyalty. Worse yet, dissatisfied customers have the ability to "broadcast" negative comments using voice mail, e-mail, and the Web to long lists of willing listeners.
- Enterprises must avoid the overuse of outbound e-mail marketing campaigns while giving customers the ability to "opt in" or "opt out" for this communication channel.
- Respect for customer privacy and security issues must be a priority and incorporated into the business plan.