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Tips and Tricks to Using CRM for Customer Service

Customer service
Credit: Shutterstock

Customer relationship management (CRM) software does more than keep contacts organized and help close sales – it also helps your business provide excellent support and retain customer loyalty.

Most CRM software offers a range of customer service tools built into each account or contact. They also allow integration with third-party customer support solutions to expand customer service capabilities. The key is knowing how and when to use these features to your advantage.

Here are three ways to use CRM software to improve customer service and offer fast, personal support that keeps customers coming back.

Editor's Note: Looking for CRM software for your business? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

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You will often hear CRM software companies boast that they offer a 360-degree view of customers. This means the software offers a comprehensive view of each customer, such as all contact points, communication, opportunities, campaigns, complaints, how they became a customer and much more. This is all designed to help you personalize customer support.

Because CRM software can retain all types of data about customers beyond just their names and contact information, it can help you establish and maintain a meaningful relationship with them.

There are several ways to use CRM software for personalized customer service. For example, you can:

  • Address customers by name: Personalize calls, emails, marketing materials and other communications with their names and relevant information. Most CRM software can automate this process, making it easier for customer support agents to create a personal rapport.
  • Know what the customer wants: Use analytics, purchase histories, browsing behaviors and other data tracking tools to tailor solutions and target marketing materials to a customer's individual needs and personal preferences.
  • Make note of past communications: You will look more professional knowing the customer's issues ahead of time. This will also avoid frustrating the customer when they must repeat their concerns every time they communicate.

In the end, it's all about making customers feel valued, important and cared for.

No one likes being ignored, and no one likes waiting for a problem to be resolved. CRM software can help you address customer concerns quickly, making clients feel heard and demonstrating to them that you respect their time.

Although you can't solve everyone's problems all at once, many CRM software applications have automated customer service tools to ensure inquiries don't fall through the cracks so you don't lose the sale or the customer.

Here are a few ways CRM software can help address customer issues and address them fast:

  • Send an auto-response acknowledging an online inquiry as well as ask follow-up questions and let customers know an agent is working on resolving their issue
  • Automatically assign each inquiry a reference number and customer service representative, saving time and keeping communications consistent
  • Forward inquiries to the right department specializing in the customer's area of concern
  • Use premade response templates for common issues and frequently asked questions
  • Track all communications, log incidents and keep notes for future reference, so customers don't have to repeat their issues every time they call
  • Automatically insert FAQ pages, self-help resources and other links into auto-responders

Turn customer complaints into learning opportunities. No matter how big or small the issue, keeping a record of customer complaints will give you insights into areas of weakness. CRM software lets you keep complete and detailed support logs for each account, making it easy to analyze what happened and pinpoint where you can improve the quality of your offerings and business practices.

If a customer complains about a product or service, be sure to note exactly what the customer said was wrong or why they found it unsatisfactory. If a customer complains about customer service itself, CRM software will show you which agent(s) the customer spoke with so you can address the issue accordingly.

In both cases, ask yourself:

  • Are there any trends with related incidences and/or issues?
  • How can we prevent similar problems in the future?
  • What could we have done better to make the customer happy?

The data in your CRM software can help you answer these questions.

[Learn more about choosing the best CRM database for small business]