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2016

Welcome to the Partner Corner blog, your place to engage on interesting topics regarding innovative technologies for the Sugar platform. This guest post is written by Itai Galmor from Magic Software, a Gold sponsor of this year's SugarCon. I encourage you to join the conversation and share your thoughts by commenting on this post. Enjoy! --Mark Weitzel

Customer Experience (CX) has gone mainstream. All across the globe everyone from C-level executives to computer programmers are talking about enhancing the customer experience. Businesses of all sizes from start-ups to global enterprises are seeking to understand and improve the ways customers interact with brands and receive products and services.

 

To understand customer experience, a great deal of attention has been focused on Customer Journey Mapping. Marketers and advertisers like to talk about the customer journey and how they can reach decision-makers at the right point of the customer journey as customers pass through various phases. These phases are often described as:

  • Determining the Business Need
  • Determining the Specific Requirements
  • Evaluating Products and Services
  • Recommending and Selecting Vendors
  • Building Internal Consensus, and
  • Approving and Authorizing Purchases

 

However, those capturing customer stories soon learn that very few customers actually follow precisely the same path. In fact, in many enterprises, customer experiences vary widely depending upon the specific product being consumed, the business type and industry of the customer, and untold hundreds of other variables that constitute rather serpentine and unpredictable routes.

 

While journey maps can describe what the experience is, they don’t do a great deal to help us improve upon that experience. Many business analysts, whether in line-of-business roles or within the IT department, now realize that they need infrastructure and systems that can enable positive customer experiences across these varied journeys. Thus they are beginning to put emphasis on a customer experience architecture that can successfully support customer experience regardless of the particular journey that the customer is on. For example, even companies that famously create predictable and repeatable customer experiences in the retail industry have to take a completely different approach when selling online or via distribution channels. Even Sugar is best understood as providing customer architecture rather than enforcing a singular customer journey.

 

Last February, Denise Lee Yohn wrote in Harvard Business Review (HBR) that “A more thorough approach to designing and managing customer experience is to use a customer experience architecture.” Then in April 2015, Forrester Research suggested that “Currently, CX enterprise architects don't have a framework, reference architecture, or competency to translate the intent of CX strategies into actionable CX execution.”

 

The challenge is not only to provide smooth business processes through practices such as CRM to ERP Integration, but also to more fully automate business processes that span various customer-facing systems. At Magic, this is our goal. Our Magic xpi Integration Platform allows Sugar architects to support improved CX when processes spill over into ERP, eCommerce, POS, logistics, supply chain and other systems. At Magic, we are proud to be a part of the customer architecture that is enhancing customer experiences in a way that fully engages enterprise systems in support of fully integrated customer experiences.

Like what you've read? Share your thoughts by commenting on this post, learn more about Magic Software in SugarExchange, or follow & send me me a message in the SugarCommunity!

Welcome to the Partner Corner blog, your place to engage on interesting topics regarding innovative technologies for the Sugar platform. This guest post is written by Rachel Brink from 3CLogic, a Gold sponsor of this year's SugarCon. I encourage you to join the conversation and share your thoughts by commenting on this post. Enjoy! --Mark Weitzel

Customer experience is quickly becoming a business’ next competitive battleground, expected to overtake price and product as a brand’s key differentiator by the year 2020. The global “Switching Economy”— the potential revenue in the U.S. market due to changes in consumer spending—has swelled to $1.6 trillion. Integrating your call center and CRM will boost customer satisfaction scores and retention rates. Here are five best practices to consider when looking for an integrated solution.

 

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1) Deliver Multichannel Support: Because 76% of consumers want to use three or more channels during a single transaction with a company, multichannel customer service should be considered an absolute necessity. According to the Aberdeen Group, companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers. To ensure streamlined and informed interactions, businesses must converge digital channels under a single roof and leverage the CRM to make customer information available across all touch points.

 

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2) Reduce Average Time in Queue: Studies have shown that only 43% of consumers are willing to wait for longer than a minute, meaning that 57% of consumers will hang-up if their call is not answered by a live individual in less than 60 seconds. Failing to plan for high call volume or fix long wait times presents businesses with a number of challenges, including lost sales and reduced customer loyalty. Businesses should offer callers the option to remain on “virtual hold”, which prioritizes them based on information pulled from the CRM (size, spend, customer level e.g. a "Gold" customer, etc.), and schedules a call-back when the next qualified agent becomes available.

 

3) Optimize Call Routing: Constant transferring has always been an ongoing issue within the call center, with one in four consumers reporting no resolution of their problem or inquiry.  Leverage advanced call routing strategies, with information pulled from the CRM, e.g. identifying a "Premier" customer, to automatically select the right agent for the customer.

 

4) Ensure Customer Information is Documented and Readily Available: 42% of service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems and poor user interfaces (Forrester). Less than 10% of interactions are entered into the CRM, limiting an agent’s insight into a customer’s service history. By integrating Sugar and 3CLogic, customer facing professionals have immediate access to every interaction from the call center. This increases efficiency and drastically improves first call resolutions and customer satisfaction.

 

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5) Measure the Results and Tweak Accordingly: While it is not a crystal ball, a customizable and robust reporting engine can help guide a help center in the right direction. Measuring call center specific information e.g. an agent’s CSAT score can help highlight a help center’s strong suits and progression, or areas that are falling behind and need improvement. However, when call center data is aggregated with CRM information, a more sophisticated view of the customer can be understood.

 

Following these best practices, an integrated call center and CRM is a powerful tool to win more business and increase customer satisfaction. Call center history is a critical part of the 360-degree customer. 3CLogic and Sugar are two key front office systems that work together to make every customer relationship extraordinary.

Like what you've read? Share your thoughts by commenting on this post, learn more about 3CLogic on the SugarExchange, or follow me in the SugarCommunity and send me a message!