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Using Open CRM Platforms to Build Great Customer Experiences

“Customer experience” is how many brands are building business today. With an eye toward creating more than just an interaction with their customers, companies strive to serve a holistic experience with the end user. The people on their support team, and the tools those people use, can play a big part in that effort.

Customers engage with companies in more ways than ever before, creating a huge stream of user data that, in an ideal world, is neatly collated in order to provide the best experience for each individual. This allows brands to better understand their customers and better personalize each interaction.

Support agents, the people on the front lines of customer interactions, have long worked with CRM platforms that focus on traditional contact methods like phone calls or email. These CRM tools were never constructed with today’s diverse support matrix in mind. Their usefulness is somewhat limited by their inability to facilitate interactions from social media, apps, video games, and the like. They’re unable to provide a fully robust picture of the customer to the agent or company. 

Many brands have turned to open CRM platforms to fill these gaps. Open CRM platforms are able to meet the customer where they’re most often interacting with a brand and can process customer data from a variety of sources. With so much customer data compiled with proprietary programs using their own development models and programming languages, it’s hard to make it all accessible — unless you’re using an open CRM system.

One such platform that we’ve installed and configured for many clients is Zendesk Sunshine. It’s an open CRM tool that lets users stick with their preferred developer tools and is still able to pull in all of the disparate customer information in one simple interface, with the option of using Zendesk’s related app or other custom apps. For many of our clients, this is the ideal solution to their support needs. With a custom configuration from ModSquad, we can often maximize the tool’s efficiency and help the client improve their “customer experience” in four ways:

Track the order lifecycle. At every step along the order lifecycle — from initial order to shipping to delivery to return to re-purchase — an open CRM can pull in the data needed to familiarize agents with the customer’s current status and history. For brands with more complex order lifecycles, this data can be streamlined into a quick snapshot for agents to work from.

Track every customer touch point. Every time the user interacts with your brand, whether digitally (web visits, mobile interactions, email opens) or in the real world (in-store check-ins and purchases), they’re writing part of their customer story. An open CRM tool easily connects these touch points, from tracking spend to product preferences, including loyalty and reward programs. Not only does this make for better customer support interactions, it can be used to market to the customer based on their history and preferences.

Provide smarter assistance. Customers seeking assistance with digital products can avoid restarting the standard support script when they reach out for help. Agents can see the customer’s use of the product and how far the user got until encountering a stumbling block. Users can be tracked through their adaptation of a product, giving agents the background and context they need to provide the most helpful knowledge-base material to the user. Tracking of customer usage also provides brands the opportunity to segment users by level of advancement and connect with them in-product to encourage further usage or advancement of user skills.

Offer insightful tech support. Tech help desks can similarly track the use of a data-connected product, from a smart device like a mobile phone or exercise tracker to a household appliance that makes up the Internet of Things. These devices all provide data that can be collated by an open CRM platform to provide tech support agents with a variety of insights, from versions to upgrades to battery life. This information is all linked to the user’s records, allowing agents to see whether the customer has the latest software or apps, and facilitating the best tech support experience possible.

Open CRM products such as Zendesk Sunshine will build stronger bridges linking your support team (and by extension, your brand) to your customer. After all, isn’t the promise of that kind of connection the ultimate goal of a great customer experience?

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