Capitalizing on Customer Service

March 17, 2011 By Aminda

“If you build it, they will come.” The statement might be one of the biggest myths in today’s crowded business environment. Most businesses must follow a careful process to bring the right product to the right market and then follow through with exceptional customer service that will both encourage repeat purchase and incentivize new customers.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a valuable skill for any innovator looking to share their idea with the world. “Just as you don’t have a performance without an audience, you can’t have innovation without customers”, according to an HBR article. Here are some tools.

Crowdsourcing Existing Channels

Oracle has recently partnered with Accept to add product innovation management applications to existing CRM software.

Businesses that use Oracle software now have an organized way to track customer feedback and ideas. They can prioritize ideas and form private communities to further hone in on crowdsourced concepts. Customer-generated ideas automatically link with their CRM profiles, so sales reps and marketing managers can place the ideas in better perspective, understanding each user’s point-of-view, organization size, current use, and business challenges.

Expanding Customer Support

Web-based platforms have allowed businesses to provide information to customers far beyond the traditional FAQ. Some companies are even creating space for customer interaction, allowing customers help each other solve problems, easing the burden of help desks and also spurring creative idea generation and customer insight.

However, this model does not work for all types of products and services. An example given by one branding expert would be H&R Block: people working on their personal taxes may not trust assistance from other regular people having trouble completing their taxes. However, H&R block dealt with this by creating a dynamic Q&A forum where users can receive expert answers to personal questions and also browse and extensive list of existing answers.

Social CRM

Social media is getting a lot of buzz for its ability to interact on a personal level with customers, but the tool is constrained in that it reaches a limited number of customers, as illustrated by an interesting article on Blogging Innovation. It’s important for businesses using Social CRM to understand exactly what they are looking to gather from the customers. The report, 18 Uses of Social CRM, provides these three things a company must know to generate breakthrough innovations from customers.

1. What jobs the customer is trying to get done

2. The outcomes the customer is trying to achieve when performing these jobs in a variety of contexts

3. The problems and constraints that stand in the way of adoption of a new product or service

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