CSRs performing at an optimal level also need to have customers’ chronological transaction histories at their fingertips. If a customer previously has purchased tires that are under warranty for 50,000 miles, and already has put 46,000 miles on those tires, the CSR should be able to solidify the relationship with the customer by sending a coupon for new tires. Not only does it reinforce the perception that the customer matters, it presents an upsell opportunity.
Enter knowledge management, a process in which a company gathers, organizes, shares and analyzes its knowledge. Realizing ROI from CRM initiatives does not occur without a custom-built system that, in addition to building a data cube that lets users analyze real-time, chronological customer histories and profiles, facilitates total collaboration between customer service, marketing and market research. Well-designed knowledge management facilitates a customer lifecycle management process that involves holistic contributions from each of these disciplines, and the data cube must drive the appropriate information that makes every touch point unique and relevant.
The cycle begins with the customer interaction in which the CSR gathers new actionable household information at every call opportunity. That data is shared with market research, which runs mathematical models and develops new profiles for marketing. To keep the process running, market research must constantly ask itself, “What additional information do we need to maximize customer value and gain more insight into customer perceptions?” These elements are put into question form and passed back to customer service as guidelines for future customer interactions.
Marketing uses the CRM analytics and enhanced profiles from market research to develop new messages and product sets. Armed with its directions from market research and high-octane fuel from marketing, customer service is able to effectively drive the upselling, cross-selling and marketing machine.
Too many consumer products manufacturers are squandering opportunities. By not recognizing the critical role of customer service in the revenue-building process, they are mired in old-fashioned thinking that it is just a cost center that has little to do with branding, cross-selling and marketing—activities that can positively affect the bottom line.