How to use CRM data to improve customer service
Every day, whether you realize it or not, you’re collecting a wealth of customer data. When someone visits your website, opens an email, places a call or leaves feedback, that interaction is recorded in one tool or another. Your analytics tools, your email marketing tool, and of course your CRM act as warehouses for your data.
Many businesses take advantage of this data to optimize marketing and advertising campaigns but they aren’t aware that it can be used for many other purposes. A lot of the data that’s sitting around could have a positive impact on your business and customer relationships. For example, you can improve customer service and customer success metrics.
It’s important to think of your data as a tool that can be used in multiple areas which can help you make better decisions while serving your customers. When you do that, good customer service is the natural result.
This article looks at ways you can use data to improve customer service, make your customers more successful, and create a better experience for everyone involved.
What are customer success metrics?
As a business, you want your customers to be successful because that makes you successful. For example, a fitness coach would want their clients to lose weight so they’d stay with them and even give a positive testimonial. How would success be gauged from a business standpoint? Through customer success metrics like Churn rate, referrals, lifetime value, monthly contract value, etc.
Customer success metrics are the data points you measure in your business as a proxy for successful customers. This is different for every business but there are a few metrics that should apply to everyone:
- Lifetime customer value
- Revenue per client/account
- Referral rate
- Total monthly revenue
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer feedback
At the core of these metrics is proper customer relationship management. When you’re able to take advantage of the data in your CRM software, improved customer support and business outcomes are more common. Here are a few ways to leverage the data you already have to improve customer service.
Removing customer service roadblocks to improve satisfaction
Almost everyone has experienced a situation in which they’ve been passed from one customer service rep to another. The customer has to explain themselves every time they interact with a new support rep. The end result is a frustrated customer, long resolution times, and an overall poor customer service experience.
This can be easily avoided when organizations take advantage of the data available in their customer relationship management software. For example, instead of partitioning information and making it difficult for others to access, make it available to everyone in a customer facing position. That way, if a dispute gets escalated to a senior team member they’re able to quickly review the most important points without making the customer repeat themselves.
In this situation, the customer feels like they’re being listened to, there are shorter resolution times, and an improvement in the customer experience. Though it’s subtle, it’s interactions like this that improve customer satisfaction and get customers to stay with you for an extended period of time.
Proactive customer support to increase revenue per account
For a long time, customer support has been considered a cost center for businesses. A necessary evil. That’s the wrong way to look at it. When customer support performs at its peak, it improves key customer success metrics and becomes a profit center.
Traditionally, customer support has been reactive. The support team waits for customers to contact them with a problem. Once they do, support scrambles to solve it as quickly as possible. While this will always happen, it should only be a part of what the support team does while delivering an overall positive customer service experience.
When using CRM software like Hubspot, you can find out when your customer last interacted with your business, simple preferences, and where there are roadblocks in product adoption. The customer support team can then use those insights to create training, reach out to specific customers, and more.
For example, if you see a lot of customers are getting stuck at step 2 in your onboarding process then support reps can create better onboarding videos. Or, maybe a customer hasn’t achieved outcomes you know your product can deliver – have a customer service rep reach out and help them arrive at that outcome. This has the added benefit of them interacting with your products more often and possibly upgrading to a higher tier of service which ties directly into improving customer success metrics.
Track the right information to make customers successful
This was touched on in the last section a bit, but is important enough to stand on its own. The most important question to ask yourself is whether or not your customers are truly successful because of your product. Does it help them achieve the result they’re looking for?
If the answer is no then it’s necessary to assess where the problem lies. Is it a product or implementation problem? If it’s a product problem then it’s just a matter of making a better product. If it’s an implementation problem, then it’s a matter of supporting your customers until they’re familiar with your platform.
Metrics you can use to gauge this are product engagement, whether they’re experiencing the same pain points, overall impact on their organization, etc. For every business, the important metrics will be different so it’s important to choose a customizable CRM like Pipedrive that will help you track the right information to improve customer service.
The best proxy measurements for successful customers are your lifetime value and customer churn (churn being the percentage of your customers that leave over a specific time period). The less churn you have the more your customers are worth over time.
Track feedback & Sentiment over time
No information exists in a bubble or without context. That’s why many metrics alone aren’t useful until you have historical data to compare it to. The same is true when you work to improve customer service. What a customer says today is useful to an extent but it becomes more powerful when you can track it month after month or whatever period makes sense to you.
The key with tracking feedback, like all good customer service, is to be proactive about it. Yes, a few customers will volunteer feedback but most won’t. Make this painless by sending out short surveys or questionnaires that give you a general overview. You can also use quantifiable surveys like the Net Promoter Score (NPS) which is a measure of whether or not someone is an advocate for your company.
Not only do you give your customers a voice and help them feel even more valuable, you can find areas where you’re doing well and places that need improvement. When you send out feedback surveys, include a mix of open ended questions to gauge sentiment about your products and company as a whole and multiple choice questions which can be used to accurately measure improvement over time. CRM tools like Freshsales make it easy to keep track of customer feedback and take action when you’ve made a change or would like to follow up about with certain issues.
Customer data holds a wealth of opportunities if you know how to use it. This article has explored a few ways you can put that data to use and improve customer service. With better customer service comes better customer success metrics which are directly related to the health of your business.
This article has only scratched the surface of how you can use your CRM to mine for insights with customer data and use that to improve other aspects of your business. By all means, start with customer service but don’t end there.