Customer service used to be seen as a cost. Some customers would complain and so you had to have a team set up to deal with them.

In today’s market, however, where online reviews and social conversations influence buyer behavior much more than ads, and where in many product sets there is little to choose between competitors on features or price, service is no longer seen as a cost – it’s seen as a key differentiator. It’s the way to gain valuable competitive advantage.

A growing number of manufacturing firms recognise this but are not investing in the technology that could help propel their customer service ahead of the competition. Incredibly, many still have engineers printing out service tickets, rely on multiple spreadsheets, and still use paper-based systems to track customer information, including purchase history and service requests.

They’re missing a great opportunity. Leading manufacturers are discovering how investing in a CRM platform can quickly transform their customer service and give them a big head start on their rivals. It does this in four crucial ways.

CRM for Customer Service

1. Offer self-service portal

Most customers would prefer not to call customer service if they can help it. They would much rather go online and simply find the solution to their issue themselves. CRM enables this sort of self-serve solution. Typically this happens in the form of online help videos, FAQs and a knowledge base.

The leading CRM applications such as Workbooks go further, giving customers the chance to raise new support tickets, track existing ticket status, and share knowledge with other users, all in a portal managed and monitored by your dedicated service agents.

Not only does this enhance the experience for customers, it also lowers costs, it reduces the actual number of service enquiries to your agents and improves customer agents job satisfaction as they spend less time answering the same repetitive queries.

2. Enable anytime anywhere service

There are now few services that aren’t accessible 24/7, from any channel. And this is increasingly what your customers expect from their manufacturing partner. A CRM platform allows you to deliver this.

It enables instant access to critical maintenance, warranty and contract information from one central location. From your perspective CRM lets you schedule any preventive maintenance, manage warranties and renewals, push service notifications to customers, manage return merchandise authorization, and fulfil any spares requirements.

Your CRM platform will record all interactions with your customers. It will automatically manage it when you need to and touch points are recorded, escalations and alerts kick-in at the right time, and your customers are never left unattended.

3. Route cases according to availability and expertise for better and faster outcome

Over time a CRM platform can build a clearer and clearer picture of agent skills and knowledge, and so automatically route cases to the agent best qualified to resolve them. This increases the chances of a rapid, accurate resolution.

It makes your service desk more efficient, makes the job more interesting for agents who get to deal with issues where they’re the experts, and of course it delights customers who just want their issues sorted out as quickly as possible.

4. Get ahead of faults

Finally, a CRM platform can aggregate information on products entering the market with defects. This allows you to more rapidly spot manufacturing errors and so correct them. This cuts the number of problems arriving at the service desk, both cutting costs and boosting customer satisfaction.

Workbooks has helped many manufacturers deliver exceptional customer service, consistently and across all relevant channels. Download our E-Book CRM for Manufacturing to find out more about how CRM can help your organisation improve productivity, deliver greater value to customers and remain competitive.

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