by Michelle Melland Small business leaders wear a lot of different hats and juggle multiple responsibilities. As an example, I was once surprised to see the CEO of an SMB updating the company's organizational chart (he didn't have an assistant to perform this task) and the COO of the same business mopping up water after a toilet overflowed (no full-time maintenance staff).
When small companies run this lean, it's important to be as efficient as possible to get the most from your resources and allow staff and leadership to focus on the right things. These "right things" include growing your business by closing more sales and increasing customer lifetime value (CLV) by delivering loyalty-building experiences to existing customers.
Growing revenue requires the right tools to make data-driven decisions and personalize offers and customer service interactions. Integrating CRM for small companies with contact center software can give SMBs the capabilities needed to meet their business goals and streamline customer management processes so that COOs can spend more time mopping bathroom floors. Just kidding.
Features enabled by integrating CRM software with contact center solutions CRM systems, at their most basic level, help organizations manage their customer information.
CRM for small companies should help SMBs organize customer and prospect contact information, provide a record of past purchases, and help manage the sales pipeline. And when CRM applications are integrated with contact center technology, businesses can add new features to customer service experiences and track customers throughout their journeys. CRM plus contact center solutions is a match made in CX heaven.
Let's take a look at some of the capabilities that are enabled by integrating CRM for small companies with contact center software.
Automated interaction documentation To be effective at closing sales and retaining customers, sales staff should know what happened during customer service interactions. However, when contact centers are busy, agents can shortchange call documentation in the rush to answer the next call. This problem can be solved when the right CRM software is integrated with the right contact center technology. Contact center software that uses artificial intelligence can create transcripts for voice interactions and automatically write them to the CRM system. Contacts from digital channels can be automatically documented, as well.
Single source of customer information Capabilities such as automatic interaction documentation enable CRM for small companies to become the single source of customer data. This adds accuracy and simplicity to reporting and analysis and streamlines sales and support functions. When customers call customer service, agents have all the information about callers at their fingertips, and before salespeople make upsell calls, they can view service interactions to see if they need to address anything during their conversations with customers.
Unified agent desktop When the CRM system is integrated with contact center software, it enables a unified agent desktop where everything an agent needs is contained in a single user interface. This eliminates toggling through multiple systems as agents assist customers. The unified desktop can include all the channels the agent supports plus all the customer information needed to personalize interactions and bring issues to timely resolutions.
Screen pops Integrated solutions enable customer screens to pop automatically for the agents that receive the calls. When the automatic contact distributor (ACD) receives the inbound contact, it can query the CRM application based on data such as the customer's phone number or data they entered in the IVR system. When it finds a match, the system will automatically "pop" the screen for the agent so he can immediately get down to business.
Smarter routing This same process of querying the CRM application also allows the ACD system to perform smarter routing. For example, if the customer's record indicates she's a high-value, VIP client, she could be routed to a special team that handles VIP accounts. Alternatively, she could be moved to the front of the regular queue, so her call is answered quickly.
Click to call When your contact center uses soft phones, an integrated solution enables your salespeople and agents to simply click on the phone number link in the CRM system to initiate the outbound call. It's a simple convenience your sales team will appreciate, and it will make outbound call campaigns more efficient.
How integrating CRM systems with contact center software can help small companies reach their goals These integration-enabled features aren't just fun-to-have bells and whistles; they can yield tangible business benefits. For small companies that run lean and need to fight for every customer, an integrated solution can provide the efficiency and differentiation needed to be profitable and acquire and retain customers.
Let's discuss four benefits of integrating CRM for small companies with contact center software.
1. Personalized interactions One of the many benefits of doing business with a SMB is that customers feel more valued and not like just another tiny fish in a giant corporate revenue pond. This is because small companies can provide that extra personal touch that lets customers feel like they are known and appreciated.
Personalization can be the secret sauce that helps SMBs succeed. How much do consumers value personalization? Epsilon found that "80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences."1 Additionally, Accenture found that "83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more a personalized experience."2
It's clear that today's consumers want personalized experiences, but how do small businesses maintain the personal touch as they're growing? They need the right tools, such as an integrated CRM/contact center solution.
When customer service agents have access to comprehensive customer data, they know what customers have purchased in the past; the outcomes and types of support issues they've had; and their CLV. This empowers agents to make personalized statements like, "I see you had an issue with a damaged product last April - was it resolved to your satisfaction?" and "You bought my favorite luggage set last month - did you know we now carry a matching makeup bag?"
Personalized conversations can begin with the automated screen pop, continue when agents leverage customer history, and end with a customer who is satisfied with the interaction.
2. Increase agent efficiency, effectiveness, and engagement Most small call centers need their customer service agents to be as efficient as possible to get the most out of their labor dollars and make sure their customers don't need to wait long in queue. Handle times, one metric that impacts efficiency, can be reduced when CRM systems are integrated with contact center technology. Features like screen pops and automatic call documentation shave time by reducing agent administrative tasks. Shorter handle times increase capacity and allow SMBs to have highly productive agent teams.
Not only are agents more efficient, but an integrated solution can help them be more effective at delivering exceptional customer service experiences. Having everything they need in a unified desktop allows agents to focus on customers instead of being distracted by awkward system navigation. Additionally, ready access to customer data means agents have the context needed to build rapport and personalize interactions.
Having modern tools that make them more effective at helping customers can increase agent satisfaction and engagement. Engaged agents are more committed to the organization's goals, which means they'll go the extra mile to deliver loyalty-building CX. And small call centers just might see a bump in agent retention!
3. Connect customers to the right resource The smarter routing that's enabled by an integrated solution means customers are much more likely to be routed to the right resource the first time. This decreases customer effort and frustration and is also a more efficient use of agents - rather than wasting time transferring misrouted customers, agents are routed transactions they are qualified to handle.
Customers who are transferred multiple times often have repeat their issue. This makes organizations hard to do business with. Customer effort score is becoming a popular metric, and with good reason. The Corporate Executive Board, a consulting firm, found that 94% of customers who have a low effort experience are likely to repurchase. On the flip side, 96% of consumers are more likely to churn following a high effort experience.3
Revenue from more purchases and higher customer loyalty can make the case for integrating CRM for small companies with contact center systems.
4. Make better decisions Integrating CRM software with contact center systems also enables better decision making by synchronizing and consolidating data. CRM applications typically contain data such as customer contact information and preferences, purchase history, and where prospects are in the sales process. Contact center systems, on the other hand, contain information like what types of problems customers have had, what channels they used, and who helped them and how. When married together, this data gives SMBs more holistic insights into the customer journey, which allows leaders to make more informed decisions.
But leaders aren't the only ones who benefit from this consolidated data; it also enables agents to make better decisions while interacting with customers. An integrated solution eliminates data errors caused by manual updates, so agents have access to accurate and more holistic context. This allows them to make better decisions about upselling and cross-selling, offering solutions, and more.
To learn more about the insights enabled by integrating Salesforce CRM with NICE CXone, read "Seeing the Bigger Picture: Using Salesforce CRM Data to Reveal New Insights that Improve Contact Center Performance."
Integrating CRM for small companies with NICE CXone NICE CXone, the industry-leading cloud contact center platform, simplifies integrated solutions with pre-built integrations with leading CRM applications.