Don't be a bad Yelp review: How to improve your customer relationship management


customer-relationship-lightwellThe Internet was abuzz recently with the curious tale of the Union Street Guest House, a small, vintage hotel in upstate New York that generated a firestorm of negative consumer attention with a policy that allegedly charged guests $500 for posting a negative review. The spot, a popular destination for wedding participants, reportedly sent a statement to guests reading, in part, that "every negative review placed on any internet site by anyone in your party," according to The Independent. Needless to say, people were upset, and responded by driving down the hotel's Yelp rating and leaving comments encouraging future guests to look elsewhere.

This type of anti-consumer behavior is obviously a particularly bad misstep, but it's safe to say that, at this point, any B2C activity - especially anything negative - can and will end up on the internet. For a small business, having its top hits on Google be negative references and getting low grades on Yelp could threaten to put it out of business, but social media is increasingly impacting larger enterprise profitability as well. In this day and age, it's vital that businesses ensure they're not falling short of customer expectations. They can leverage an customer service management solution to not only improve the value, administration and cost-efficiency of their customer relationships, but can extend those benefits to other B2B and omni-channel commerce aspects of their business model.

Challenges in customer service management
Today's customer demands near-constant attention. Even when a company isn't actively engaged with its consumers individually, it's always interacting with them on some level, whether it's via social media, email contact, loyalty and rewards programs, in store or on a website. With so many options at the average customer or prospective customer's disposal, it's difficult to know exactly when and how they will interact with the enterprise's brand, personnel or products. Additionally, while customers are right to be irate about being charged simply for posting an honest review of their experience with a company, as in the case of Union Street Guest House, it's also true that not every client will report every interaction they've had with an organization in good faith, while others may have incredibly high expectations that are hard to live up to.

This is why it's key to ensure that all components of the customer service management chain are aligned with each other and attuned to customers' needs. Of course, this is easier said than done, and paying attention to all of these different channels, as well as ensuring they're streamlined with commerce and supply chains, demands a converged approach and sophisticated, automation-heavy tools. As many processes as possible need to be performed with as little close personnel administration as possible, since companies can't afford to waste time and energy addressing lapses or gaps in their customer service management approach.

Toward context, convergence
Business 2 Community contributor Keith McFarlane recently wrote about "contextual routing," a principle that he said was the future of customer service management. It involves paying attention to the customer's individual journey and being able to respond directly to their needs with the right solutions and ideas. He focused chiefly on call center agents, who serve as the front-line representatives for customer contact, but the questions raised and principles discussed can be applied to customer service management on a whole.

"Real-time contextual routing is going to change the definition of the customer journey industry-wide, and this ability will serve as the foundation for a generational shift in customer experience management," McFarlane wrote. "A customer service platform that is able to make decisions without human input is on the horizon; customer service technology will not only be able to provide options to customers, but will automatically recognize the best course of action, and will be empowered to take that action without human intervention."

The advantages of NetSuite CRM+ stretch beyond the front lines
NetSuite CRM+ enables organizations to implement and maintain a call center environment and overall customer service management framework that can fulfill the need for context and convergence. The advantages of the NetSuite CRM+ include: 

  • Automation: Key components of customer engagement, including call assignment and management, can be conducted automatically, speeding up the engagement process and ensuring that all customer issues are resolved quickly and painlessly
  • Interactivity: The software includes a Web-based portal that provides more visibility and responsiveness for customers. Instead of combing through disparate site locations to find FAQs and get support, they can interact immediately and comprehensively using the portal.
  • Knowledge: Customer service management representatives need access to real-time information about a consumer's status, product management and other key workflows. Putting this data at their disposal empowers them to make informed, proactive decisions that leave the customer satisfied and improve value.

The advantages can also be applied to areas like the supply chain and B2B integration, with customer service agents, marketing and sales representatives, and supply chain administrators able to share information, preemptively address problems and field all variables affecting the customer relationship process cost-effectively. This builds trust with customers and makes the company look good to potential business partners. It's the kind of savvy an organization simply needs in this day and age.

Ready to enhance your relationship with current, and prospective customers? Learn more about what NetSuite and Lightwell can offer: