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CRM must cut down the little aggravations for customers

by Scott Wallask

October 13, 2010

By Scott Wallask, Insider Learning Network

John Burton, a director of product management at SAP, wrote a relevant and hugely funny blog post on the Social Customer Web site about incentives that could improve employee morale in contact centers.

In the piece, Burton notes, “As a general rule of thumb: angry, grumpy, moody, disgruntled, suicidal employees are bad for business. Whereas happy, friendly, engaged, empowered employees encourage customers to do more business with you. Shocking and groundbreaking stuff isn’t it?”

Man, did his words ring true for me personally in two recent examples. In the first case, after refinancing my home, I called the new mortgage company after looking on my statement and seeing the call center hours went from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. I dialed the number at 8:40 p.m. and a recorded announcement said customer service was closed. I tried again and got the same message.

We all know what probably happened: One or more workers turned off the phone forwarding ahead of time so they could get off their shift on time. Customer questions can wait until the morning at this mortgage lender, apparently.

Then, just an hour later, my wife tried to find out the remaining balance on a gift card balance for a retail store. The phone number registered with the card had changed, so the phone system wouldn’t give her a card balance even though she had the card number and PIN. She had to wait 10 minutes on the phone to talk to a human – all for a gift card balance.

Both the retail store and mortgage company may very well have great CRM protocols and policies. But when flawed systems and lazy employees can’t match the height of those policies, then those protocols cease to mean anything.

Successful CRM has so much to do with learning how to overcome the little snags that can aggravate customers and drive away business.

Follow Scott on Twitter @sapcrm_observer.

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