When selecting and implementing a new CRM, automation system, or technology, there’s a lot to think about.
Price, features and functionality, scalability, usability. The list goes on.
One often-overlooked element for consideration is the importance of customer service that the provider offers.
Because without great customer service, implementation and ongoing usage of new technology can quickly become complicated, overwhelming, and problematic.
Read on to understand key challenges that could arise for businesses who don’t work with a provider or agency that offers great customer service. And what they can do about it.
Slow response times
Slow response times are one of the most frustrating elements of poor customer service.
And this can take a variety of forms. Including only offering live chat or email support, having long telephone queues, lack of ability to hold face to face or online meetings, and of course simply taking too long to respond to queries.
Due to the integral nature of a CRM in particular, a business will often want to speak to someone as soon as possible when a problem occurs. And any delay in this process can have significant repercussions.
To avoid this challenge, enquire about customer service channels from the very start by asking the following questions:
- Is the provider happy to meet in person or host conference calls?
- Will they offer you a direct contact number?
- Do they have response targets to hit?
Significant time differences
Another challenge that can contribute to slow response time is significant time differences.
Time differences may not seem so troublesome at first. But if you are having to wait all afternoon for an urgent query to be addressed. Cannot hold online conference meetings or telephone calls. Or you are only receiving responses in the middle of the night. This can significantly delay resolutions.
Fortunately, time differences can be easy to determine by enquiring about the following:
- Ensure the company has a customer service team within a similar time zone to your own.
- If the time zone is different, enquire as to whether the business offers round-the-clock customer support, so you won’t be left waiting.
Poor onboarding process
A good onboarding process will ensure a business is thoroughly set up and comfortable using the system.
It should be tailored to the needs, challenges, and integrations within a business. So that all users are confident in using the system without support or guidance.
Poor onboarding can result in the CRM or technology not working effectively for the business. Users not understanding the full suite of features and functionality. The forming of bad habits. And of course, more reliance on the provider.
To ensure that the provider is offering a thorough onboarding process, ask the following questions:
- Is onboarding included in the package, or is it an additional cost?
- Is there ongoing onboarding support, such as for new users or new requirements as the business grows?
- What is the onboarding process and timeline?
- Is onboarding templated, or tailored to the individual business?
Without a dedicated account manager, it can be difficult to build a relationship with a CRM and technology provider.
Account managers should have a solid understanding of the history of a client’s business, alongside how their data is structured and growing, to really add value to their client’s CRM implementation and ongoing success.
For instance, at Bright Dials we have been working with many of our customers since 2017. We know their systems, data, and strategy inside out. So we can act as an extension of their team, and offer them the most relevant advice, tactics, and support to meet their needs.
If you are unable to build up a relationship with your account manager, the customer service reps who you deal with will not understand your businesses, your challenges, and the work you have been doing so far.
This means having to explain your situation every time you open a query. And potentially having to remind them of any support or resolutions that have been carried out previously.
Frustrating, so say the least.
To be able to build a relationship with your provider, ensure you do the following:
- Have a dedicated account manager, who you can work with long-term. So their knowledge of your business increases over time.
- If you don’t have access to a dedicated account manager, enquire as to how your conversations and support tickets will be logged. So customer service reps can update themselves prior to dealing with your query.
Lack of strategic support
Having a customer service team who are on-the-ball when it comes to troubleshooting issues is all well and good. But what about long term, strategic advice?
Many businesses will be keen to ensure they are getting the best out of their CRM or technology. They’ll want to understand how they can scale their system as their business grows. And whether they’re making the best use of the features and functionality available to them.
To avoid a customer service team that lacks strategic knowledge, ask the following questions:
- What level of knowledge or seniority are the customer support reps?
- Does the technology provider offer different levels of customer support?
No ongoing training options
Part of strategic support is access to ongoing training.
This is particularly important to keep on top of new features and functionality when they are launched. Something that many managers may struggle to find the time for.
Without training, large parts of the technology may not be utilised properly or effectively. When it comes to CRM, this can result in disconnected data and broken automations. Amongst other issues.
To get the very most out of your system, long-term, ensure the provider offers the following:
- At a minimum, support documentation and educational resources such as blogs, webinars, videos, and guides.
- Ongoing training, which may be at an additional cost.
- Full training for new users.
- Workshops and offline or online events.
- Thorough ongoing training alongside and after the onboarding process.
How to ensure you get the best customer service possible
Unfortunately, when it comes to CRM and technology providers, customer service sometimes isn’t at the top of their priorities.
You can get a good sense of the quality of customer service being offered, alongside the experiences of other customers, by looking at review sites such as G2 and Trust Radius.
Bear in mind, with CRM systems you will get what you pay for. Great customer service often doesn’t come cheap. And many CRM systems will include support as an additional cost. Therefore, it’s important you have a full understanding of what is included in your ongoing fee.
So, if you are looking for a truly personalised implementation and ongoing support package that is quick to respond, and offers strategic advice instead of just troubleshooting, we always recommend working with an independent agency or consultant to manage the process with you.
These agencies and consultants will spend time understanding your goals, challenges, and history to offer you tailored, ongoing advice and solutions.
Often, it can be difficult to gain all of the above benefits, value, and pain-solving from a software provider itself. It’s not what their main selling point is. So bear this in mind whilst conducting your research.
For instance, at Bright Dials we support businesses through every step of the journey. From discovery and implementation through to integrations and ongoing training. We pride ourselves on being approachable and believe that no question or challenge is ever too small to be addressed.
Bright Dials client successes
But don’t just take our word for it, here are some testimonials from the happy clients we have supported:
“We approached Bright Dials because we didn’t know what our business needed. We didn’t understand the terminology and didn’t know where to start…
We had a great business relationship with Bright Dials. Whether face to face, online or over the phone, it was smooth-running and seamless… Bright Dials provided us with step-by-step help along the way, which other agencies don’t do. You were approachable and had the ability to work across different communication channels.
Working with Bright Dials has been an absolute pleasure, from introduction through to wrap-up. The care and attention towards us as a brand, and as people, has been nothing short of exceptional. I couldn’t recommend Bright Dials any higher.”
- Tom Glover, Brand Manager, STRYYK
“Bright Dials looked at our systems and all our different criteria and recommended using SharpSpring as one solution. Bright Dials looked at our issues and created a bespoke solution for us. Having a new CRM combined with marketing automation features has replaced a lot of the manual efforts. We are now able to track our opportunities.
…You are always contactable, always clear, always concise and I know where you stand. You’re willing to help, and are able to talk clearly to people within our organisation at different levels without sounding condescending.
Bright Dials was always being proactive in finding solutions. Nothing was “Oh no we can’t do that”. It was “Yes I’m sure we can find a way”. If I didn’t know, you would advise on the best route. You could recommend a solution and you knew where I was coming from, so that really helped.
This isn’t a one project and then that’s it. We have an ongoing relationship to grow and improve our processes and marketing – having a recurring retainer is right for this.”
- Emilie Lashmar, Creative Director, PLATF9RM
Why not book a free 45-minute consultation call with to find out more?