If your only conversations with customers begin and end with market research, you’re missing a critical opportunity to get the real scoop on how your business is performing in the market. Today’s busy customers are unlikely to respond to surveys—with response rates often below 5%—and those who do respond often fall into extremes. However, capturing intel from your customer service representatives can help you understand what’s happening with your customers now. Here are some strategies you can use to gather that information.
Use a customer relationship management (CRM) system. A CRM system allows everyone in your company to see all the information available on a customer. When it’s integrated with your call system, an agent can make notes about information that comes up during a call. For example, if an SaaS customer is complaining about a slow connection and how it’s a recurring problem, this information will be available to other parts of the company, such as sales and technical support.
Have an escalation process. Most call centers have a process for escalating a customer service call when it can’t be solved by the agent. But does your company have a process for dealing with at-risk customer relationships? Increasingly, firms are embracing an escalation process that allows customer service agents to flag accounts for follow up and review when they hear something or sense that a customer may be considering terminating the relationship.
Hold weekly information gathering meetings. Consider holding a mandatory meeting where team members share big insights on a weekly or biweekly basis. For example, is a particular product or service driving multiple complaints? Is there confusion about a recent promotion or sale? The more information insights you can gather from your front-line customer service team, the more likely you’ll be to deliver a fantastic customer experience.
Create a suggestion e-mail box. Create a dedicated inbox where customer service reps can share insights from calls and customer conversations. Firing off a quick e-mail to an inbox that’s regularly checked by a call center manager or by the customer success department can help ensure the insights are integrated into the overall business.
Your customer service representatives have a direct line to your customers—and knowing what they’re focused on can help you gather intelligence and optimize the customer experience. Create as many different ways for your customer service reps to share their insights, and you’ll have the foundation for exceptional service and long-term, sustainable customer relationships.