What is Digitalization?
When we talk about digitalization of processes, we refer to using software to make analog information digital, but also to elevating business processes through automation of actions and flows. Through digitalization, companies employ advanced technologies to reach efficient workflows, accurate information analysis, and new business opportunities, among other advantages. In short, it improves organizations’ operational processes and overall revenue.
Why Business Processes Should be Digitalized
In their early stages, processes run on simpler technology with fewer people involved. As an organization grows and processes become more complex, digitalization becomes essential to achieving desired goals. But what do we do when we digitalize? First and foremost, we standardize processes, which creates a predictable modus operandi, allowing us to measure our performance and ensure higher quality results.
Companies usually work with internal SLAs that assign certain people roles and responsibilities, among other components. By digitalizing, we could measure the accomplishment of these SLAs, including timelines. For example, an organization can learn how long it took an area to carry out its assigned task, enabling it to identify bottlenecks, potential problems, or opportunities for improvement, thus boosting its performance metrics.
Why Digitalize Customer Service?
Customer service is a long-familiar concept, but it has recently evolved into what some call "Customer Success." Increasingly, companies prioritize long-term value over transactionality. They must be proactive in this area because customer satisfaction depends not only on the pre-sale and the sale itself but also on the continued maintenance of a commercial relationship and the ability to deliver ongoing value over time. This mentality is naturally reflected in the service subscription modality (SaaS), but the fundamentals apply to almost all businesses. Each month or each subscription renewal, the client must choose us again, making continuous quality service essential. Response times must be immediate, and client history must be updated and accessible.
The digitalization of processes in customer service demonstrates its importance in three fundamental aspects:
Today the channels through which customers can contact a company have increased in quantity and sophistication. We are in an era of immediacy, where people expect quick communication and answers, whether from a person or a chatbot. Customers are increasingly reluctant to wait for an email response.
Adding these innovative modalities to the traditional ones results in a large amount of service channels. Through digitalization, it is possible to centralize these various channels and the information they provide, thus contributing to an omnichannel business approach. This strategy gives the client the same convenient service experience, regardless of their contact method.
The large number of channels that exist today each present their own particularities, especially in social networks. Some are broadcasting-based, establishing user participation, or spreading a message to incite reactions. Others lean more towards a conversation between the customer and the customer service agent, resulting in more personal dialogue. Contemplating these differences becomes very complex if they are scattered throughout the communications ecosystem. Viewing these channels globally and centralizing the information that each provides allows for more precise data management, and therefore more efficient responses.
A very powerful application has been created for Dynamics 365 based on this Omnichannel approach. If you want to learn more about it, you can read our article Omnichannel for Customer Service.
Customer service manages the diverse array of cases requiring responses to the client. These can include complaints, requests for information, and other issues. Contemplating all the options and actions to carry out in a highly personalized and precise way is not feasible manually or in terms of basic technological solutions. If you seek to professionalize the management of these cases, digitalization is vital; standardization allows large-scale processes to be handled and still respond accordingly to each case’s particularities, needs, and level of severity.
- Client Feedback and Reporting:
Due to the complexity and number of cases, it is also necessary to measure our processes and report their results. Structured data analysis allows for continuous improvement; digitalization collects data to avoid problems. By doing this, the processes constantly evolve through detecting opportunities for revision and discontinuing scenarios that fail.
In addition, digitalization not only allows us to measure our performance through established indicators, but it also gives us the opportunity to listen to what customers have to say, identify trends, and observe recurring themes. Based on the communications we receive and the analysis of reports, we can even improve product offerings. For example, if people constantly ask for a service or product we don't offer, it will get logged, and we can develop an offer based on that request.
How to Use Technology to Improve Customer Service
Technologies allow us to digitalize processes. Within customer service, basic technologies digitalize certain actions, while more advanced ones can fully carry out substantial transformation.
For a general overview of these technologies, here’s a list from the simplest to the most complex:
- Excel Spreadsheets: databases that allow you to store information in a structured way and perform calculations using pre-established formulas. However, there are limitations in terms of security and data structure. Being an easy-to-edit database, formulas are likely to be broken or data overwritten.
- Ticketing System: this system enables the generation and categorization of tickets, assigning them a unique concept, level of urgency, and person in charge. These criteria facilitate designated steps to execute processes. However, a ticketing system is non-customizable and fixed, which limits its adaptability to different flow typologies that may arise.
- Call Center System: initially, this was a telephone service system that automatically queued calls according to established criteria, based on customers’ selections during the call. This system has since evolved to a Contact Center, which incorporates other channels such as chat. In the case of calls, some have the sophistication of tone measurements and other analytical tools, but in effect it is a system that does not provide great performance measurement options, thus hindering analysis and proactivity when in contact with customers.
- CRM: there are some that are very basic and others that are very complex. In the case of complex ones, such as Dynamics 365 and Salesforce, there can be complete modeling processes for different cases. They are customizable platforms that store information and promote the improvement of complex business processes that centralize and integrate various areas’ tasks. In addition, elements can be reused in the modeling of processes already carried out, supporting great operational scalability.
CRM currently allows for the most advanced form of customer service and is therefore the highlight of this article.
How can CRM improve Customer Service?
Centralization of Information
These advanced platforms are easily integrated with other systems and consolidate the 360° view of customers. Thanks to the technological robustness of these platforms, integrations can be carried out safely and comprehensively. One aspect that demonstrates this great operational efficiency is the creation and maintenance of information fields. These platforms can incorporate more than 400 information fields, configurable to complete automatically. For instance, through its data extension and business rules tools, we can retrieve the country field from another source and the CRM automatically populates the language and continent. This operation can be carried out thanks to its great capacity to adapt forms and also to retrieve APIs from other sources needing to be integrated into the CRM, thus avoiding tedious, error-prone manual processes. The results of these actions allow for highly personalized, sophisticated communications, thanks to the large amount of information and fields stored.
Thanks to all the information being consolidated and centralized, we can establish rules and criteria to connect different fields. Labels can be added and fields or sections can also be hidden through visibility permissions. This functionality results in great flexibility for data presentation and facilitates analysis by privileging the visibility of certain data over others.
Another long-standing feature is CRM’s ability to handle sensitive information. In Dynamics 365, “virtual entities” allow retrieval of information that is not persisted or stored in the CRM database, for viewing and not storing. For example, if you want to consult a client's past invoices containing sensitive data, the platform will allow integration with its original source to make that data visible, but without storing it later. This functionality brings great advantages in terms of storage capacity.
KPI Analysis for Improving Customer Service
CRMs such as Salesforce or Dynamics 365 already have several preset holistic panels for the most fundamental indicators, created according to area or user role. The Customer Success representative, for example, has their own view of indicators, modeled for their role’s interests in the company. This is one of the main advantages of KPI analysis and a clear example of how CRM can improve customer service. Filtering and customizing the indicator panels according to user role enables more precise analysis, avoiding irrelevant information contamination.
To illustrate this concept, here are examples of indicator panels that analyze the performance of customer service.
In both cases, companies or users can modify the panels according to their needs. Although the platform provides preconfigured dashboards to make work easier, it always allows you to add or remove data.
Moreover, when we talk about KPIs, we refer to past performance. However, it is important to note that these platforms increasingly incorporate predictive indicators as well. They offer us numerical results that can predict and anticipate different events, such as the increase in the sale of a product or service at a given moment, or the fall in popularity of another. It presents a scoring system that allows positive and negative predictions to be made for the company, allowing commercial executives to anticipate and carry out more efficient actions.
Even these platforms have become a more evolved concept represented by the acronym CDP (Customer Data Platform). The sophisticated prediction models consolidate years of historical data to create a 360° view of the client, thus achieving much more accurate predictive suggestions. Through supervised machine learning algorithms, they gather information provided by companies and collect information through APIs, thus incorporating a large number of variables to accurately predict customer behavior.
Customer Service Workflow Automation
It is clear that technology can now facilitate the tasks we previously carried out manually, allowing us to generate fully automated workflows. Today, countless processes require the help of automation to optimize resources. In addition, given these technologies’ improvement, it is possible to achieve high degrees of personalization as well as variations in the flows dependent on previous actions or inactions.
Sometimes these processes can be standardized and applied on a massive scale without human intervention. Other cases require some human input. To differentiate these two types, we will use the terms Full Automation and Semi Manual or Automatic Automation.
Full Automation: flows that configure work from start to finish without human intervention. For example, if a new client enters a bank and they have not used the credit card, a programmed message is sent saying something similar to: “We see that you have already received your credit card, but that you have not used it yet. These are the steps you have to follow to start using it: a, b and c.” If after receiving the message the client still does not use it, the automated flow contains another message adapted to that condition. This message reaches the customer with the text: "We noticed that you still haven't used your card. We'll tell you some interesting tips to get the most out of it." This flow was created once and through the different conditions and decision elements set, it contemplates and responds to clients’ actions. In this case, there is no human intervention at any time during this flow and is thus a case of full automation.
Semi Manual or Automatic Automation: flows with automated actions in different phases, but at some points, manual intervention is required to trigger set actions. For example, when faced with a customer claim in which the card did not arrive at their address, we can establish an automated claim process requiring certain client or user actions. In this case, since the plastic emission department is involved in card production, they must send evidence that the card was created. Once they complete that task, others are automatically triggered, and the automated flow continues.
Business processes are becoming more complex, and consumers are looking for a more personalized and immediate experience. Digitalization enables organizations to evolve alongside this mentality.
The advanced and intelligent software of CRM platforms such as Dynamics 365 and Salesforce supplies a push management system that constantly provides information, reminders, and recommendations to its users so that they can improve and perform their tasks more efficiently. These platforms also improve customer service by nurturing proactivity in business relationships, and providing more information to resolve problems.
In customer service, it is necessary to ensure that the client chooses the company again every day, requiring a practically non-existent margin of error. CRM platforms are companies’ number one allies when it comes to operating successfully with attention to detail in their services.
If you need help taking your customer service strategy in your CRM to the next level, do not hesitate to contact us. We can help you!