Customer Service Primer: Contact Center CRM Systems

Managing customer relationships has never been more critical for contact centers at the front line of customer service. Failure to do this effectively or efficiently comes at a steep cost.

Research shows that one in 10 customers will switch brands after a single negative experience. And two-thirds will switch after two to five negative interactions. Overall, 77% of customers will leave after receiving five or fewer negative interactions. The bottom line: Providing a poor customer experience will cost you.

When customers demand immediate, personalized attention across multiple channels — especially in an era of rapid innovation — customer relationship management (CRM) software and it’s integration into your CX tech stack becomes an essential component in meeting these needs.

This blog looks at how CRM software has evolved and how it can help your contact center deliver streamlined, empathetic experiences that build loyalty with existing customers.

Defining Contact Center CRM Software

Contact center CRM software centralizes crucial data, like customer history and contact information, to help agents efficiently manage and track interactions with both potential and existing customers. CRM software integrates seamlessly with contact center technology, bringing together the tools needed to automate various processes, leverage data-driven insights and empower agents to deliver empathetic and efficient customer service.

Unify CRM, WEM and CCaaS Like Never Before

Some defining features of a combined contact center CRM solution include:

Centralized customer data: A CRM system combines customer data from multiple sources into a single solution to give a holistic view of each customer’s history, preferences and past interactions.

Omnichannel communication: Contact center CRM systems excel at managing multiple channels from a single interface. Whether it’s email, text messages or live chats, agents can interact with customers on preferred channels — with access to a database of customer information.

Call management: With built-in calling features, agents can make and receive calls directly within the CRM platform, eliminating system switching.

Team collaboration: By accessing shared inboxes, notes or tasks within the CRM system, team members easily collaborate and share critical information.

Auto-dialing and smart routing: Advanced telephonic features like automatic dialing improve agent productivity and outbound campaign efficiency. Similarly, intelligent routing directs incoming interactions to the most suitable agent based on factors like skill level, workload or customer value.

Call recording: This captures interactions between agents and customers for quality assurance and training purposes. Managers can review these recordings for compliance and use them as a training resource for new hires.

Real-time analytics and reporting: Built-in analytics tools and customizable reports empower data-driven decision-making, offering real-time actionable insights into performance metrics, including call duration, agent performance and customer behavior or satisfaction levels.

Integration capabilities: Best-in-class contact center CRM systems seamlessly integrate with a wide range of other tools and platforms, such as marketing automation software, billing systems or internal databases.

Compliance and security: The systems include robust data security and compliance measures, ensuring agents follow regulations and handle customer data responsibly.

By offering these features and capabilities, a CRM system becomes indispensable in delivering an efficient and deeply empathetic customer experience.

Customer Experience Versus Customer Relationship Management

Customer experience and customer relationship management are often used interchangeably, but each serves different functions and encompasses different approaches to customer interactions.

Purpose: CX aims to deliver a seamless, satisfying experience across all touchpoints, from the first interaction to after-sales support. In contrast, CRM manages customer relationships and acts as a centralized hub for data collection and analytics.

Scope: Ranging from a website’s user interface to product quality to even pricing strategy, customer experience encompasses every customer interaction, including but not limited to communication. CRM’s narrower focus is on customer data, sales funnel management and customer service. While CX gives you a holistic picture of a customer’s journey, CRM provides the detailed data and processes to manage it.

Timeframe: CX operates on a continuous timeline covering the entire customer lifecycle, from awareness right up to brand advocacy. CRM is more transactional, focusing on specific periods such as the sales cycle or during customer service interactions. Think of CX as a long-term strategy to build lasting relationships, while CRM tools manage customer relationships at each transaction point.

Technology: The broad nature of CX means you need to orchestrate a wide range of different technologies when creating rich, seamless customer journeys. CRM — as one building block in the larger CX tech stack — is usually a single software system specifically designed to manage customer relationship data and automate various sales, service and marketing processes.

Despite their differences, CRM and CX are deeply interconnected aspects of customer engagement that work best when aligned. By streamlining interactions and offering insights into customer behavior, these  systems provide the tactical tools and data that enrich broader CX strategies.

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Simplify Your Tech Stack. Unify Your Data. Enable Your Agents.

The key to delivering on the expectations of today’s customer is to unify critical systems of engagement, including CCaaS and CRM systems.

The Benefits of CRM Systems and Contact Center Integration

From elevated agent experiences to improved data-driven decisions, integrating a leading CRM system into your contact center platform offers myriad benefits and transforms your customers interactions.

To start, this integration centralizes all your essential tools and customer data in one place. A unified system not only improves agent time management and operational efficiency, but simplifies interactions and sets the stage for a seamless customer journey.

Integration brings about an enhanced automation that supercharges a traditional call center. Features like auto-dialing and predictive routing, when coupled with quick access to holistic customer profiles, drastically reduces the time agents spend on repetitive tasks, increasing productivity.

The omnichannel functionalities of both platforms can be seamlessly integrated into your contact center, resulting in holistic dashboards that optimize CX by minimizing operational friction. Agents are empowered to effortlessly switch between channels based on customer preference or issue complexity.

Having real-time access to a wealth of customer data ensures that agents can deliver more personalized service, fostering satisfaction and loyalty — essential success metrics for customer-centric organizations.

CRM integration also empowers companies to track and leverage customer interactions and purchasing history. In doing so, businesses can identify and seize opportunities for customer retention strategies, such as following up with timely, personalized offers to effectively prevent customer churn.

Thanks to integrated analytics, you gain deeper insights that go beyond just tracking call times and resolution rates. With comprehensive data that includes customer behavior, purchase history and even sentiment analysis, decision-making is more aligned with customer needs and preferences.

Streamlined workflows emerging from a CRM system integration also free up agents to focus more on solving complex, high-value customer issues. And intuitive CRM interfaces minimize training, so agents have more time and are better prepared to assist customers. Ultimately, this leads to a happier, more engaged workforce.

Finally, a well-designed CRM integration should come with built-in data security and compliance checks for regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), helping ensure all interactions are protected and comply with legal requirements. This builds trust and credibility.

Understanding the Different Types of CRM Systems

With features like contact management, workflow automation and task management, operational CRM systems focus on streamlining and automating customer-facing processes like sales, marketing campaigns and customer service. In customer service centers, an operational CRM system can handle everything from dialing numbers to providing agents with scripts and storing customer interaction data for future reference.

Collecting and analyzing customer data from various touchpoints, analytical CRM systems focus on data analysis and customer insights. For example, these CRMs analyze call durations, customer satisfaction surveys, and product or service purchase histories to segment customers and predict behavior.

A collaborative CRM system focuses on streamlining communication between teams and stakeholders. This allows contact center agents, supervisors and other departments to seamlessly share customer information so everyone is on the same page regarding customer interactions, enhancing the customer experience.

A major consideration when implementing a CRM system is whether it should be cloud-based or on-premises. Cloud-based CRM systems are hosted on the cloud, offering remote accessibility, agility, flexibility and scalability. On-premises CRM systems are installed and run from a client’s in-house server, offering more control over the data and processes. However, they’re much harder to scale and require a dedicated IT team for maintenance.

Laying the Foundation for Your CX Strategy

CRM software is indispensable in customer service; it’s purposefully designed to enhance operational efficiency and help teams deliver positive customer experiences. As you strive to deliver meaningful interactions beyond the transactional, integrating a CRM system into the foundation of your CX strategy is key.

With the right CX strategy and an integrated, top-shelf CRM system, your contact center can truly serve customers with efficiency and empathy. Learn more about CX Cloud from Genesys and Salesforce today.