How CRM Software Can Centralize Your Call Center
Years ago, managing your call center’s operations might have felt like trying to hold back a tide of ungainly, difficult-to-organize information that powered healthy customer relationships. Agents likely had notes, histories, contact information and more, that might be recorded anywhere from overstuffed file cabinets to bulging, unwieldy spreadsheets that seemed to be growing in every direction at once.
Some managers might have even gone the other way, seriously limiting the information they recorded in favor of streamlining operations. Unfortunately, they also limited the impact that good data can have on a call center.
Luckily, the development of powerful customer relationship management (CRM) software has made it possible to have the best of both worlds—making huge amounts of collected data easy to manage and easy to deploy when needed.
What is CRM Software?
CRM software is any software that is “designed to help businesses manage customer data and customer interaction, access business information, automate sales, marketing and customer support, and also manage employee, vendor and partner relationships.” To put it another way, CRM software collects and organizes all your client information and makes it available to your agents in whatever way you think is most appropriate.
The story of CRM software begins in the 1980s with the advent of digital customer databases, and in the early 1990s, the acronym “CRM” was born. Tom Siebel of Oracle, after failing to convince Larry Ellison to market their internal database marketing system, left Oracle to found his own company and bring customer database systems to the masses.
Siebel System’s success took the business IT world by storm, revolutionizing how customer relationships were handled. Database marketing evolved into Sales Force Automation (SFA), and SFA, along with terms Enterprise Customer Management (ECM) and Customer Information Systems (CIS), became CRM around the year 2000.
CRM Power in the Call Center
In a call center, a CRM solution is especially valuable because of its ability to manage customer data and put that data to work for your operators when they need it. It augments your staff, super powering them when they’re on the line. Having a CRM system in place can improve both inbound and outbound interactions.
Successful customer contact is all about being prepared. Knowledge retention is considered one of the top qualities of the best call center agents, but human memory can only go so far. Imagine if your agents could have perfect recall when on the line with a customer and were able to access a record of every interaction with that customer in real-time. CRM software makes this possible no matter how many customers you have.
When your agent connects to a call and there’s a CRM solution in place, they instantly have real-time access to a wealth of customer information, whatever you determine is most suitable for the given interaction. That could be a record of past interactions, detailed expository notes about client preferences, analytics on other similar client’s needs, or all three. You could even offer agents access to information on special offers tailored to whomever is on the line. With an adaptable CRM system, there’s no limit to what’s possible.
For more information on how to work smarter with business intelligence solutions for the modern call center, check out our Top 10 List When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center Solution whitepaper.