Salesforce.com – Assuming Customer Service is Great. How Dangerous

Many people use spreadsheets to keep track of their data. It’s better than nothing – but it’s quite a manual process, especially as you have more and more data. What’s worse than spreadsheets is going by your gut instinct and THINKING that your sales and customer service are doing well.
If you are not measuring your customer service levels using factual analytic tools, I bet that your customer service is MUCH lower than you think it is.
Salesforce.com’s Chuck Ganapathi, Vice President, Product Marketing gives us a comprehensive overview of the difference between what it means to think you have good customer service and to KNOW you have good customer service.

A Salesforce.com spokesperson writes When it comes to customer satisfaction levels, poor internal processes can often lead to poor service – giving new meaning to the phrase “clean house”.
In fact, a recent Accenture survey shows that 75 percent of high-tech companies believe they provide “above average” customer care, however, 6 in 10 customer respondents report dissatisfaction with their service.
The reason for this disconnect can be linked to poor communication levels within the company itself, as customer service managers have a limited view into the performance of the call center and the company as a whole. This lack of effective communication translates directly to the customer – after all, if a company communicates poorly internally, how will it ever communicate effectively with its customers (externally)?

Here’s the interview…
Question How do most small-mid size businesses measure or have some indication of the success of their customer support
Answer Most small businesses have a very hard time measuring their success and getting an accurate picture of how their customer support is being received. To obtain an accurate snapshot of your customer service, it is essential to implement a call center solution that is easy to deploy and universally adopted in order to capture all the relevant information needed for measurement.
However, most small companies do not have the budget or IT resources to deploy complex client based customer service solutions. That’s why thousands of companies of all sizes and across a variety of industry segments are using Salesforce Service & Support today. These companies are able to efficiently run their call centers , while providing a branded customer self-service portal that enables their customers to tap into the company’s knowledge base and help themselves.
Question EVERY call center phone call starts out by saying, “This call may be recorded for trainingÖ.”. Would that not mean that many companies (especially larger ones) should KNOW how their customer service is?
Answer Today, the analytics for call centers are focused on basic information like the length of the call and not on the actual experience of the customer.
Additionally, the customer service experience is no longer limited to phone calls with call center agents. Every interaction a customer has with your company – including sales, website, emails – helps shape their opinion. Customers are more connected to each other than ever before with social networks and every voice can now be heard through blogs and sites like YouTube – and a company’s brand can be destroyed with a single click. Salesforce Service & Support helps call centers swiftly adapt to a world where the rules are constantly changing.
Many companies have not derived their value from their client based customer service solutions because those systems are difficult to change and do not provide the flexibility for customer service agents to react quickly to business changes and customer demands. With an on-demand solution, customer service organizations can focus on service innovation, as opposed to worrying about infrastructure.
Question What is an example of a company that has good communication amongst all levels of customer touch points and one that does not. I guess one could be living in a fantasy world and the other not?
Answer When most people think of good customer service, a government agency is not usually one that leaps to the top of their list. However, New Jersey Transit has really done an incredible job of harnessing the power of technology to benefit both their customers and service reps. Since implementing Salesforce Service & Support, New Jersey Transit has been able to streamline their processes so that they can now provide customers with more comprehensive solutions, adhere to high performance standards and monitor issues and performance 24/7. Five months after rolling out Salesforce Service & Support, customer service agents handled twice the number of cases they handled before and reduced case resolution time by 100%. Real-time dashboards track key operational metrics and have given management true insight and the ability to respond quickly and efficiently to issues. With Salesforce Service & Support, New Jersey Transit has been able to experience success and pass the benefit on to their customers.
Question How does this communication work in the “real world” – especially for a smaller business? The customer calls or emails in, the front line staff take action and the problem is or is not successfully resolved. How does technology help measure this or enhance the communication?
Answer Technology definitely helps measure and enhance communication. Multi-tenant on-demand solutions, like Salesforce Service & Support, offer call centers multiple benefits.
On-demand changes the game in terms of the agent experience. With client-server solutions, call centers had to choose between speed or ease of use. Now, they can have the best of both worlds with on-demand. Our application is as intuitive as using Google or Yahoo!, while also providing a highly-efficient agent dashboard, thanks to Web 2.0 technologies like AJAX. Using the integrated CTI, agents know which customer is calling and have visibility into all the cases for the customer, whether opened through an agent or the Salesforce Customer Portal. This new user experience, combined with a 360 degree view of the customer, gives agents their dream desktop so they can be more productive and drive customer loyalty. The on demand customer service desktop also provides visibility through key reporting and dashboards
By eliminating the need for expensive hardware and software and long implementations, Salesforce Service & Support provides the fastest time to value. With our subscription pricing model, call centers only need to pay for what they use and automated application upgrades provide continued value over time. For companies looking to outsource, offshore or homeshore, on-demand is a natural choice – since our application is built from the ground up as a Web service, companies can turn any browser anywhere in the world into their own call center desktop.
Question Can you speak a bit about technology vs business process vs corporate mindset for customers. Meaning, let’s say you have a company that is NOT customer focused, but has great technology for customer serviceÖ.will they have good customer service? Starbucks for example, uses minimal customer facing technology in the store, but their PEOPLE make the experience wonderful. So if you could speak on the aspect of technology but also a mindset or focus on customer service.
Answer You cannot have good customer service without people and processes dedicated to ensuring customers have a positive experience. At the core of great customer service, there needs to be a culture that focuses on driving customer satisfaction as the top objective of every organization in the company.
When it comes to technology, client-server solutions have forced call center managers to spend their time managing their internal systems – to “keep the lights on.” Salesforce.com has turned this model on its head because Salesforce Service & Support runs entirely on demand, and allows call centers to focus on the customer, not technology. By freeing them from their technology shackles, Salesforce Service & Support enables companies to transform their agents into brand champions and turn customers into evangelists.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook