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CRM Customer Service and Support

While sales force automation (SFA) and marketing often garner much of the CRM spotlight, the CRM suite is not complete without the strategy and software to engage, respond and retain customers. Further, in a crowded software market where many IT buyers believe CRM software is becoming a commodity, customer service operations and software applications may be the next true killer app. Customer service software manages and automates customer requests from initial contact through successful resolution and provides customers with the consistent service that increases customer loyalty, customer share and longevity. Customer Service
CRM Customer Service
Providing superior customer service may be the last competitive differentiator. Products can be copied by competitors, however, customer engagement is an art that permeates the company culture and is not easily duplicated. Once the sales and marketing team deliver a new customer relationship, it is then up to a customer support function to satisfy the customer for the long haul. Promoting sales without customer service at the ready is like pushing money into a pocket full of holes.

Customer Service Software Reviews

3.5 stars
Parature Positioning and Product Roadmap
Parature Parature offers some impressive customer service strengths such as its self-service portal, social service integration, knowledge management, mobile customer care and chat. But it has weaknesses that need to be addressed, such as offering tighter integration to CRM and adding enterprise feature sets such as BPM, ACH, CTI, IVR and next-best-offer technology to name a few.
4 stars
PhaseWare Software Review—A Detailed Look at Customer Service Software
PhaseWare Review PhaseWare is a small, privately owned software company with a big reputation as a provider of best of breed Customer Service and Support software applications designed for SMBs seeking to improve customer satisfaction, raise support staff productivity, and reduce costs. Here we examine PhaseWare to identify where it best fits.
3.5 stars
Living on Cloud 3:'s Service Cloud Morphs Support with Social
Service Cloud 3 made its first billion dollars in the SFA software market. Now the cloud leader looks to make the next billion in the service and call center CRM market. Service Cloud 3 (SC3) is far more than a call center software upgrade; It's an innovative release that morphs traditional case management with social media for synergistic customer support and satisfaction.
3.5 stars
A Look at Get Satisfaction
Get Satisfaction Hot off its win in the inaugural CRM Idol competition, Get Satisfaction is emerging as a global customer service leader helping to bring brands into the social conversations. Brands can respond to social customer posts directly, customers can respond to each other, and members of the community can rate the responses based on their value.

Featured Customer Service Articles
Social CRM Headlines

3.5 stars
Contact Center Workforce Management Solutions
Contact Center Workforce Management Good forecasting and scheduling contribute to improved customer satisfaction and agent job satisfaction – in addition to better labor cost allocations for the company. However, it’s difficult to schedule efficiently without good forecasting data, tools and IT automation. Scheduling forecast accuracy, or the lack thereof, directly contributes to customer service levels.
3.5 stars
Maximizing Customer Feedback with Enterprise Feedback Management Systems
Customer Feedback There are better ways to gather and manage customer feedback, and when it comes to feedback, there is no such thing as too much, as long as you have methods in place to understand it, manage it, and ultimately use it to your advantage. Enterprise Feedback Management solutions provide the automation to systemically collect and analyze feedback from multiple channels in real time.
3 stars
The Customer Service Hall of Fame's MVP—Most Valuable Practice
Customer Service MVP Studies consistently show that top performing customer service operations have something in common—happy and motivated staff. The most recent MSN Money, Customer Service Hall of Fame cements this recurring best practice among the ten companies providing the best customer service in America. Here we examine this best practice and offer a few additional steps.
3.5 stars
Is Your Customer Service Tracking The Right Metrics?
Customer Service Metrics Key performance indicators are all the rage for contact centers, but they aren’t all created equally. Most managers focus on KPIs that measure efficiency. However, instead of using performance metrics that measure from the inside looking out, try turning it on its head, and focus on the effectiveness of the contact center as measured by the customer, not the company.
3 stars
Speech Analytics: Effective, but Underused
Speech Analytics Speech analytics technology can analyze tone and sentiment of voice and talk/silence patterns to gauge emotion and satisfaction, tie detection of user-defined phrases to specific agent actions and monitor agents’ interactions with customers to easily ferret out agents which aren’t being proactive, or which are not succeeding in satisfying customers.
3.5 stars
Using Customer Service To Predict Customer Success
Call Center Success Most technology vendors talk a good game when it comes to customer service, but these claims are often difficult to assess before the purchase. Fortunately, one time-honored adage holds true: you are what you measure. This article provides the How To advice to predict future performance from your technology suppliers.

Customer Support Market Briefs

  • According to the Temkin Group's "Experience Ratings" which examined customer service at 143 companies across 12 industries, retailers deliver the best customer experiences, while TV service providers and health plans deliver the worst., Kohl's and Costco secured top spots in the report. Bruce Temkin, author of the report, noted that "there are a handful of good experiences," as only 24 of the 143 companies earned an "excellent" or "good" rating. Just under half of the companies received "poor" or "very poor" ratings. Temkin suggests that customer service is a "a work-in-progress" for many companies. "Companies periodically meet customers' needs, but they almost never make an emotional connection with customers," he said. He also advised low performing companies to benchmark outside their industries, "Within some industries, like health plans and TV service providers, you find an epidemic of bad customer experience. By benchmarking against each other, they fool themselves into thinking that they aren't really that bad, but customers know better." End

  • An Aberdeen Group research report shows that 91% of best in class customer support companies allow customers to track issues over the web, 57% track customer support performance across all available channels (email, chat, web, voice) and 62% use Integrated Voice Response (IVR). The research goes on to state that the primary methods implemented by best in class customer support companies include rigorous performance reporting across all channels, real-time integration across all channels to achieve information consistency, and integration among the ERP system, CRM software and the self service portal. The report concludes that best in class customer service and support translates into large improvements in customer satisfaction, first call resolution rates, customer retention, and ultimately increased revenues. End

  • Speech interaction reduces the time of a banking call by 35% compared to a touchtone call, according to a benchmark study on bank call centers by the Center for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue University. The Purdue customer service study also states that agent-assisted calls in banking cost almost $4 per call compared to 45 cents per call for automated speech recognition. Agent-assisted calls last almost five minutes, have an abandon rate of almost 6% and an average hold time of about 37 seconds. End





The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary."

~ Sam Walton


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Customer Service Lessons Learned
  • According to The Harvard Business Review, businesses lose 50% of their customers every five years.
  • Authors Emmet and Mark Murphy reveal that a 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%. Further, depending on the industry, reducing your customer churn by 5% can increase profitability by 25% to 125%; and irrespective of industry, customer profitability tends to increase over the life of a retained customer.
  • Bain & Co. research shows that a 10% increase in customer retention results in a 30% increase in the value of the company.
  • In a comprehensive survey, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce identifies the top reasons customer leave. 68% leave because they are upset with the treatment they've received (Customer Service) while 14% are dissatisfied with the product or service.
  • RightNow Technologies says 73% of customers leave because they are dissatisfied with customer service, but the company losing the customer thinks only 21% leave for this reason. The company losing the customer thinks 48% leave because of price, when in fact only 25% do so. Most companies find it hard to believe that their customers don't love them. They would rather believe that price is the culprit. It hurts their feelings less, but costs their companies more, because not only have they lost the customer, but more than likely they lowered their prices to try to keep them.


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