2020 was a year of confusion and rapid change. Enforced lockdowns and work from home orders meant that almost every business in the country had to adapt their operations – or close.
As people and processes settled into this new situation, we learned several things. From a customer service perspective, it is possible to maintain some level of service without a full complement of employees in the same building. Second, the quality of service provided to customers varied widely between organisations.
Much of this variation comes down to how well-equipped remote customer service agents are. Those who are able to access and collaborate on accurate data in real-time are also better placed to serve customers quickly and efficiently. Agents who could not immediately access that information are at a distinct disadvantage and cannot deliver the service pre-pandemic customers had become accustomed to.
A return to the office may not solve all your problems
The instinctive solution is to simply re-open offices and call centres as quickly as possible, centralising people in an attempt to restore standards. But the reality is that homeworking has exposed existing shortcomings in the way your business accesses and shares customer data.
A return to the office may improve operations slightly, but they will still be far from optimised if employees are still ill-equipped. Indeed, concluding that remote operations don’t work could be a strategic mistake – particularly if the problems are actually to do with the way data is used and shared within the business.
Assessing Customer Service Management technology
You almost certainly operate come form of customer relationship management (CRM) platform already, offering a way to centralise information relating to your clients. Undoubtedly useful, CRM data tends to exist in a silo however – it is not available for use by the product development or operations teams for instance. Similarly, the customer service team cannot easily access client data from other silos, limiting insights into each client and their experiences.
Replacing CRM with CSM – Customer Service Management – greatly broadens internal data sharing potential. CSM becomes a central point of reference for everything client related, allowing you to collate insights from across the organisation to create a true 360º understanding of each individual customer – and their lifetime journey with your business. This allows you to better understand, and serve, every customer.
Dealing with disaster
Creating a single point of reference for all things customer-related will also help to strengthen your operations in the event of another event that threatens local operations. Your customer service team could be distributed across the world, yet still have access to a complete picture of each client, allowing them to deliver a consistently high level of personalised service.
Indeed, choosing a cloud-enabled solution like ServiceNow CSM allows you to formalise many of your customer-facing processes. This helps to keep remote employees on track and on message at all times. At the same time, key customer information can be accessed any time, any place on any device, allowing you to build a truly flexible workforce – or to maintain operations in the face of a significant disruptive event.
To learn more about ServiceNow CSM and how improved access to customer data will help your business join the economic recovery, please get in touch.
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