When it comes to customer relationship management (CRM), digital channels present something of a double-edged sword. They facilitate communication between consumers and businesses, but also provide disgruntled customers with the means to quickly and widely broadcast their discontent with a product or service.
Dimensional Research conducted a Q1 2013 survey of US internet users who had recently interacted with the customer service departments of mid-sized companies. Interestingly, they found that among those who said they had had a positive customer service experience, more said it was because they received a quick resolution to their problem, rather than a desirable outcome.
The customers who had a poor experience most often cited talking to several people to achieve a resolution as the cause of their unhappiness. But about two-thirds of respondents said that they either had to speak to someone who was unpleasant, or that their problem took too long to fix.
When it came to sharing customer experiences, bad news had a way of traveling farther than good. Customers were more likely to share bad customer service experiences than good ones, no matter what communication channel they used. That practice carried over to the way customers shared customer service stories on social media and on online review sites, such as Yelp.
But staving off poor customer experiences is only one way that CRM proves its value. According to Q3 2012 data from research company Gleanster, top-performing small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) cited a number of reasons for investing resources in CRM tools, with a significant majority seeing them as a way to manage both marketing and sales campaigns and to centralize customer information.
The investment top-performing SMBs have placed in CRM tools that offer data-gathering and analysis suggests that these technologies may ultimately have a role to play in driving more of those good customer service experiences, particularly if harnessing and centralizing data helps with quicker service and a hasty resolution to problems.