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Tools to ramp up the customer experience

This article appears in the issue October 2016, [Volume 25 Issue 9]
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Companies looking to boost their customer experience management capabilities are turning to knowledge management solutions to ensure that they have full access to customer information and the feedback they need to respond quickly to and enhance the customer experience.

Information sharing

Integrated Payroll Services, a firm that provides human capital management, benefits administration, payroll, human resources and similar services to businesses in the greater St. Louis area, relied on its managers to build strong relationships with customers so they wouldn’t go to a competitor for similar services.

However, the firm realized in 2015 that relying on personnel as the linchpin for customer experience management left a hole when a top manager left and made it harder to provide customers with the experience they expected because much of the knowledge was in a manager’s brain rather than in a tool that could be accessed by an authorized person.

“We found out that we needed better tools for our client relationships,” says Coray Grove, the company’s principal and co-founder. “When a person leaves, we have a lot of outstanding items (client information) out there. We needed to be better positioned to deal with that.”

Although the company had a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, it didn’t provide the up-to-date information needed to ensure a good client experience when someone else took over the account, nor did it allow line workers to provide support for simple items, enabling managers to spend their time with the more complex items.

So Grove chose TeamSupport and its B2B ticketing solution, going live in October 2015 with a customer service system for dealing with inbound ticket requests from any channel—email, web, social, phone or chat. Another advantage was that when porting customer information from the legacy CRM system, the company was able to correct bad information.

Grove admits that the initial customer response wasn’t overly positive; customers had been used to dealing with a single account manager. Doing so, though, resulted in delays in responding to customers when the account manager was unavailable because others in the organization didn’t have easy access to the data in the customer’s account.

Now with TeamSupport, customers can send emails and receive much faster support. Improved speed more than made up for direct communication with the account manager. An Integrated Payroll survey showed that 144 of the company’s 189 customers rated their satisfaction with customer support as a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, according to Grove.

TeamSupport also provides the ability for Integrated Payroll to design a self-service solution to enable customers to self-support on a number of issues, which Grove expects to further improve their experience.

Customer feedback

Gainsight provides customer success solutions, but for those solutions to continue to meet customer needs, the company requires good customer feedback on how its systems are performing and how they might be tweaked to enhance the customer experience.

But the customer-facing team had no such feedback available, according to Marie Forshaw, Gainsight’s product marketing manager. “It’s critical for us to understand what customers want. That’s something we take pride in with our product development,” she says.

Feedback to internal customers was another challenge. Getting any product feature request status from engineering to other departments was difficult due to the security requirements and the global nature of Gainsight’s business.

Gainsight didn’t need to look very far for a solution, choosing Azuqua, a firm Gainsight had earlier partnered with on a marketing solution. Gainsight selected Azuqua in October 2015, going live with the system in November.

Azuqua’s cloud-based software enables Gainsight to connect data between departments to show how they interact so they can react more quickly to customer feedback to improve the customer experience.

“The big thing that they offered is that we were able to automatically assign criteria to the customer feedback. We didn’t have to manually flag the records,” Forshaw explains. “It’s clear for all teams what the requests are. The requests automatically go into the customer-facing team’s system; they don’t have to search for individual posts. The customer feedback is easily reported on and findable.”

Although Gainsight has no specific metrics to go by, Forshaw says there has been an overall increase in customer satisfaction since the company started using Azuqua. Time to respond to customer feedback has decreased as well. Gainsight is looking for other ways to leverage Azuqua, she adds.

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