How to Use CRM and Live Chat in Your Call Center

Transform Your Call Center Agents into Customer Experience Ambassadors

By Chris Frascella

In the last decade there has been a vast change in the approach to customer service. Millennials (officially the largest living generation) may be to blame for starting the revolution, but the desire for a more centralized and omnipotent form of customer service is now a universal expectation.

Shrewd industry leaders have recognized the trend and have been transforming what were once simple call centers handling incoming customer complaints into teams of brand ambassadors. Consequently, call center teams are being reorganized, reenvisioned, and tasked with delivering consistent, centralized, and exceptional service to customers no matter what channel they use. Today, live chat is often a key component of call center service offerings.

Innovative Creation or Frankenstein’s Monster? Unfortunately, many agents have to rely on legacy processes from the old call center model: tools that aren’t suited to meet today’s customers’ more demanding expectations. Even centers that have the appropriate tools have often purchased and deployed them over time, leading to a confusing patchwork of log-ins, dashboards, and permissions.

Customers expect agents to know their preferences and history as soon as an interaction begins. They don’t want to wait while agents look up their records, and they won’t tolerate having to give the same information over again. It is impossible to deliver on a promise of centralized customer service when you have siloed information stuck in disparate systems. Agents will struggle, key performance indicators (KPIs) will fall, and customers will end up leaving even more frustrated than when they arrived with their problem or question.

Knowledge Plus Performance Equals Power: Implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system and an enterprise-wide live chat platform can make a significant difference in the quality of customer service you deliver. Exceptional CRMs contain an incredible amount of valuable information that can inform agent-customer interactions throughout the organization, but if the information is locked in a system that is difficult or time-consuming for agents to access, its impact on actual service quality is limited.

Deploying a system with integrated CRM and live chat within the call center gives agents the tools they need to truly engage users and accurately measure and analyze results. Here are a few examples of how an integrated CRM/live chat system can transform both the agent and customer experience:

Provide Agents with a Single, 360-degree View of Customers: Customer experience agents should never have to log in and out of different dashboards and navigate through various screens to get the information they need. At the simplest level, a CRM/live chat integration allows support staff to instantly view extensive customer data without ever leaving the chat window. This includes purchase history, service records, past interactions, location, and contact information. One-click access to a 360-degree view of the individual with whom they’re chatting lets agents focus fully on their current interaction with the customer rather than on finding and accessing records.

Capture Sales Leads Immediately: If a call or live chat event uncovers a potential lead, a truly integrated system allows agents to easily capture the critical information the sales team will need right away and within the live chat window. This kind of digitally facilitated handoff creates a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement between dispersed call centers, sales teams, and marketing departments.

Build a More Robust Cache of Customer Record with Ease: Customer records locked in other call center or live chat systems lead to siloed knowledge and information gaps, so getting your staff to actually use your CRM is not always easy. Agents should be engaging your customers, not transferring data from one system to another.

Integrating enterprise live chat and a CRM platform allows agents to work in one place. This will minimize the administrative burden, increase CRM adoption rates, and lead to more knowledgeable service and sales teams – as well as happier customers.

Chris Frascella is the director of partner marketing at Velaro.

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About Peter DeHaan

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan shares his passion for life and faith through words. Peter DeHaan’s website (http://peterdehaan.com) contains information and links to his blogs, newsletter, and social media pages. Peter DeHaan is the president of Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., (http://peterdehaanpublishing.com) the publisher and editor of Connections Magazine and AnswerStat, and editor of Article Weekly.