With 89 percent of companies competing primarily on the basis of customer experience, customer service has become a critical function for any business to perform and grow. To drive differentiation, businesses must integrate service into every interaction point of the customer journey, including the sales cycle.
However, the level of support and engagement that customers receive during the purchase experience often falls short of expectations in the current marketplace. In fact, 77 percent of B2B buyers claim that their latest purchase was “very difficult.” To help ensure your buyer’s journey is an effortless one, businesses will want to bridge silos and close gaps between sales and support. Read on to learn the top three ways customer service teams can benefit from an integrated sales CRM.
1. Fosters a collaboration loop between sales and support
According to Zendesk’s Customer Experience Trends Report 2020, 90 percent of sales and support teams work together on a daily or weekly basis. Sales and support are like Rodinhood and Batman: they’re a power duo and the two departments that have a direct line to your customers. Sales reps are imperative in guiding prospects through buying decisions, and customer service is ubiquitous to creating a great experience when they reach out for help.
But silos often exist between support and sales teams, which make cross-department communication both challenging and inefficient. In fact, while 64 percent of sales leaders expect sales tools and customer support tools to be integrated, only 44 percent of customer support managers and 57 percent of sales leaders say their sales and support tools actually are.
To create a seamless line of communication between sales and support, high performing support teams are closing gaps between systems and software by integrating a sales CRM. For example, with an integrated sales CRM, support can seamlessly redirect tickets to sales, such as when a hot prospect reaches out with a question that is better-suited for the sales rep they’ve been working with, or notify sales when a conversation with an existing customer leads to a sales opportunity.
And eliminating the roadblocks that inefficient cross-department communication causes pays off—findings show that when sales teams and support teams break down silos, they have more qualified leads, create more deals, and close more business.
2. Improves CSAT
Research is clear: Customers don’t want to repeat information they assume your business already knows, no matter what team it was originally communicated to. They expect an experience that is effortless, fast, and personal. And they aren’t willing to compromise if they don’t get it—roughly half of customers say they would switch to a competitor after just one bad experience and that number jumps to 80 percent in the case of more than one bad experience.
To deliver on customers’ rising expectations, findings show that high performing support teams are integrating a sales tool to glean additional context about a customer or prospect, such as last communication, pipeline status, company information, time of purchase, number of active deals, or deal size.
Support teams often have to mitigate miscommunication that happens during the sales cycle without the context of what the customer was attempting or hoping to accomplish. Providing agents with relevant details on contacts, deals, and accounts from the sales process enables them to deliver more responsive and better-personalized support. For example, if a customer has a question about a past purchase they made, having visibility into their purchase history and current sentiment and experience allows the agent to gain an understanding of the sale in question, without having to ask that customer to repeat information or put them on hold.
Context is also key to providing consistent experiences across touchpoints and departments. And consistency is a key factor to customer satisfaction. However, when companies aren’t taking advantage of data to recognize a customer or prospect, sales and support often have different ways of handling the same person. For example, whereas support agents tend to have deeper product knowledge, they can miss opportunities to upsell or cross-sell. An integrated sales CRM provides the agent with context that enables them to immediately recognize if that person is a customer or prospect to ensure a comprehensive view of the customer and consistency across teams.
3. Improves agent efficiency
In closing gaps between sales and support, integrating your sales tool with your support tool also allows your agents to work more productively and efficiently. They’ll be able to resolve more tickets faster, reducing first-reply time, improving time to resolution, and streamlining first contact resolution—the highest correlation to customer satisfaction than any other customer service metric.
For example, a customer might contact support because they haven’t received their order yet. An integrated sales CRM enables the agent to instantly share the open ticket with the rep who made the initial sale. Or, an important prospect might reach out to support with an issue that a sales rep can more effectively solve. With an integrated sales CRM, agents can immediately recognize if someone is a prospect or a customer so they can notify the right rep for the task. With this seamless communication loop between support and sales, agents don’t need to waste time switching between systems and software, tracking down the right team members, or responding to tickets that your sales team could better support.
Support teams should also build macros—pre-written responses—based on information from their integrated sales CRM to further improve efficiency. This helps to reduce agent touches-updates that an agent makes to a ticket, such as changes of ticket status and other updates that customers may not be aware of. With pre-written text from your sales tool, agents can often resolve a customer’s problem on their own and more quickly, as fewer steps are needed to close open tickets. This lowers cost per contact (CPC), the effort it takes for support to resolve a single ticket—the easier it is to quickly find the solution to a customer’s problem, the lower the cost per contact.
Many support leaders already know that excellent customer service can increase retention and referral rates. What they may not realize, however, is that a sales CRM can further improve the efficiency of their agents and boost customer satisfaction. Most importantly, it helps to build seamless relationships across teams so sales and support don’t have to waste time navigating siloed systems and can place their focus back where it belongs: on the customer.