Companies continue to spend a fair amount of money on customer relationship management solutions. So why aren't customer satisfaction scores improving? The answer is that too often, CRM reinforces silos rather than removing them. CRM ends up as an isolated point solution and typically ignores the fact that customer requests must often span multiple departments and enterprise systems. Few companies have solved this problem, and yet it is truly a CRM necessity. CRM is customer-facing, but even the best CRM strategy won’t work without the right back-end processes to support it. For this reason, business process management is taking a greater role in CRM. In fact, a number of industry analyst firms recently noted the value of process-driven CRM powered by BPM technology. By aligning CRM strategy and BPM initiatives with an emphasis on customer processes, companies can deliver better customer value. For decades, organizations have been dealing with the challenges of driving better, more effective customer service. Traditional CRM and contact center solutions have focused on presenting consolidated customer information, but still rely heavily on employees to take the right steps to resolve customer issues. This means the customer’s experience can vary greatly depending on the manual processes and efficiency of the staff at any given organization. Why can’t the industry evolve to a point where service is personal, quick and also cost-effective? This issue is one of the biggest debates in the CRM industry. Historically, CRM solutions have been standalone systems implemented within the front office, but they have limited integration with other departmental solutions or back-office systems. Such an approach means that the solution is only as good as the information and processes housed within it. Customer issues that must be completed by other departments are often “lost in translation” and frequently the customer is left to track his/her issue through to resolution. Surely, the next-generation of CRM solutions can do better. But, what can they provide above and beyond what traditional CRM systems have brought to the table? The answer to these questions is actually simpler than many have believed. Many think that process-driven CRM is the answer. By implementing a CRM solution that utilizes BPM technology, organizations can both deliver a better customer experience while lowering the overall cost of service. BPM solutions are fundamentally different because they aren’t isolated or siloed — they manage work from end-to-end and can incorporate both human tasks as well as data and functions from other systems into efficient, streamlined customer-centric processes. Imagine if customer service reps were guided through each step of a service interaction, knowing precisely what to say and do for each individual customer situation. And, what if hand offs to other departments and updates to legacy systems were automated so that requests could be resolved with speed and ease? The next-generation of BPM-based CRM solutions should offer this. Organizations need to be more customer-centric to capitalize on moments of truth and to build stronger customer loyalty. BPM solutions based on sophisticated business rules can also provide additional innovations, such as adaptive intelligence, by which systems can dynamically capture and remember customer behavior in order to proactively suggest a proper course of action that can increase the likelihood of customer satisfaction. Traditional, siloed CRM solutions are not equipped to deliver such support, but the best BPM technology should deliver solutions that can dynamically adapt customer processes based on the situation, customer criteria and persona, and business goals, which ensure customers get the most effective level of service, and CSRs attain higher productivity. Basically, we are talking about a more intelligent CRM solution, one that is able to use this intelligence to create more advantages to the organization using it. A revolutionary approach to CRM can help change the game when it comes to customer loyalty. By delivering a consistent experience across the customer service organization, companies are able to more quickly influence customer loyalty and experience to drive positive results. Utilizing BPM also enables organizations to roll out changes in processes more easily than traditional CRM solutions. Without such an approach, organizations have to rely on training and employee best practices to effect change. BPM ultimately offers transparency, uniformity of processes and greater integration to drive effective business transformation within customer service organizations. Using BPM to implement a proper CRM solution puts the focus back on the customer. After all, what good are low handling times if the customers are not getting their issues resolved? BPM ensures the best of both worlds. It facilitates efficient operations on the part of the service provider and also provides proper guidance and resolution for the customer, enabling organizations to achieve a high level of efficiency and customer satisfaction.
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