As a company that is focused on delivering web portals to help drive better customer engagement through multiple channels, it is amazing how many times we hear the following: “I want to get a portal up and running so I can retire my email and phone support options and make all of my customers enter tickets through our portal.” At first this may sound very pragmatic – after all, can’t we cut support costs if we force customers to a single channel? Less to manage, less to maintain, easier to gain efficiency. All great reasons to take this approach but the problem with this is that we are doing business in the age of the customer.
Customers have strong expectations on how your relationship with them will play out and be managed. Those customers are in control and they expect to be able to engage with you however they want, not however you choose. Are you that company right now - choosing how your customers "should" engage instead of how they want to engage? The term multi-channel engagement embodies this idea. As a customer, if I want to engage with you via email, then you should give me that option or I will find a vendor who does. If I want to engage via a live chat, you should have live chat. Twitter, Facebook, texting, voice and mobile are all examples of channels that customers expect you to provide, or at least a subset of these channels.
It gets really interesting, and a bit scary, when we start to think about the idea of omni-channel engagement. This means you provide multiple channels, and a seamless experience to your customer when moving between those channels. For example, if Joe Customer open a support case through our social channel, and then wants to log in to our portal to update it, he better not have to enter it all over again. He should see the case, and any correspondence to date, and be able to pick up right where he left off. While this sounds great in practice, it can be very difficult to manage effectively.
Utilizing Microsoft Dynamics CRM and some complementing tools, you can get close to this level of engagement. By adding in functionality such as the case to email process that became available in CRM 2015, a responsive web portal, and some type of social listening tool (Microsoft Social Engagement, HootSuite, etc), you can provide this type of experience, even on a small-business budget. These tools allow you to offer many engagement and support channels, and allows the customer to move seamlessly between them.
When you are looking at how to bring your business into the age of the customer, don’t forget that you want to allow them to engage with you in whatever way they choose. Provide them the channels, and they will take advantage of them. To find out more about how Microsoft Dynamics CRM and our web portal solution,
by CRM Vertex