Making Useful Customer Connections - Internet Creations Blog

How you can generate a different kind of ROI

Okay, so what is Customer Service? Well, we know it requires productive communication between both the customer and a business representative….but what else?

Companies provide an open door for their customers (current or potential) to get in touch when they need assistance. Whether representatives are directly replying to customers via phone or email, or clients are utilizing self-service portals, a connection is being made. Yet, keep in mind that there are more important factors than simply solving technical issues. Customer service yields a variety of assets… you just need to know how to recognize and organize them.

In this article, we’ll discuss a few benefits of implementing a healthy flowing process from customer inquiry to overall business improvement, as well as list helpful solutions that Salesforce offers, and AppExchange products that enhance process efficiency.

Referrals and Recommendations

  • Businesses of all sizes are joining social media networks to work in sync with their existing support systems and provide service to customers. These channels have features such as LinkedIn’s ‘Recommendations’, Google’s ‘+1’, Facebook’s ‘Share’ and ‘Like’, Twitter’s ‘Retweet’, to name a few. Also, wherever your product or service is listed on the web, there is likely a rating system where users can provide a score to display their opinion of what a company offers.
  • A best practice would be to develop a method to request referrals and recommendations and put it into play whenever a representative sees fit. For example: If a customer thanks you for a speedy response time and overall excellent service, suggest they “Like” your company’s Facebook page, or request that they recommend your product on LinkedIn. This will make the client aware of your social presence, while providing evidence to potential customers that your current customers are satisfied.
  • Once you have your social media profiles set up and users are beginning to follow and recommend your products and services, it will be necessary to monitor the activity and information shared in these public places. (See more details on this below)

Discussing Product Enhancements

  • When products and services are updated, or when a company announces a new release, it is very likely that a number of these features were based on requests made by current or prospective customers. For example- Salesforce’s Winter ’12 release includes several enhancements that benefit the user experience.
  • Gathering a database of common complaints and functionality requests is important for any company. Organizing this information and putting it to good use can be difficult if you’re not sure where to start. Some of these customer tips and suggestions can be requested directly, while others will need to be monitored outside of the typical customer-business conversation… perhaps across social networking channels. It is important to set business processes into play that will guide your company in collecting this data, organizing it in some form of knowledge base, and distributing it to the appropriate departments for review. (Ahh, yes. Salesforce provides tools for this too – keep reading!)

What’s Working and What Isn’t

  • Your customers are your critics, and an integral source for gauging what works and what doesn’t work within your company. For example: if you’ve come across a few complaints that your reps are slow to respond to email inquiries, perhaps it’s time to adjust your business process accordingly. Had you not been tuned in to your clients’ opinions across all channels, you may have missed that important review.
  • There are certain aspects of every enterprise that typical metrics and sales numbers won’t provide – no matter what the industry or size of the business. Perhaps your quarterly budget will only allot one department to update a portion of their operations. Looking back at the quantity of comments and suggestions for a particular product or service could assist in determining which department needs the most improvement. This is one example of how customer feedback can ultimately drive the growth and success of your business

How Salesforce.com Can Help

1. Knowledge

Using this tool, you can capture information from all social channels in Knowledge Articles and view metrics that will identify trends. You can use the information gathered here to perform any of the above tasks. Based on the nature of the information contained in your Articles, they can be shared internally among Salesforce users within your org, or externally to customers via a Customer or Partner portal. Users can access Article Types, Categorize and Manage Articles, and utilize Articles to solve Cases within Salesforce.

2. Solutions

Solutions, an out-of-the-box feature within Salesforce, provides a detailed description of a customer issue and the ultimate resolution of that issue. Solution managers, administrators and users can create, review, and categorize solutions as they see fit. Solutions can also be made available to the public, as well as created from a Case (see info on Cases below). If a specific solution is being viewed internally or externally several times each day – perhaps that is a notification of a product or service that needs updating.

3. Cases

As another useful out-of-the-box feature, Cases provide a description of a customer’s feedback, problem, or question. Customer Service reps can use Cases to track and solve issues and extend customer inquiries to other departments. Like the features listed above, you can quickly create, edit, locate, and view Cases from a tab within Salesforce. This tool helps to gather customer feedback from your company’s website, customer emails, and other channels using features like Web-to-Case and Email-to-Case. Using another tab called Social Conversations, you can view activity from Twitter and Facebook and respond to customer requests from those channels within Cases in Salesforce (new feature in Winter ’12!)

4. Radian6

Radian6 is the no. 1 social media monitoring and engagement platform, and it is available as a product within Salesforce. Users like this tool because it allows them to listen, analyze, and engage in conversations with customers across all public social channels on the web. You can measure and evaluate conversations, and respond in real-time.

Note: Also be sure to check out Ideas and Answers, and use Chatter to collaborate across departments on customer inquiries within your Salesforce org!

Some AppExchange Products to make this stuff even better!

Salesforce for Twitter and Facebook – by Force.com Labs

Email to Case Premium – by Internet Creations

Case Flags – by Internet Creations — (We’re currently giving away a free license of this popular App! Read here for details)

In conclusion…

In order to find success in the realm of all things customer service, businesses should:

• Open the door for conversation

• Listen to customers and prospective customers

• Make conversation

• Collect feedback

• Use this feedback to update internally, create new products/services, improve existing products/services, etc

For more questions about Salesforce, the Service Cloud, or Internet Creations’ Apps to enhance process efficiency, feel free to contact us or respond in the fields below. We love feedback, too!

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