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CRM Tutorial – Part 6: Creating a Customer Service Portal 2

What are the key Customer Service Processes in your organization?

We touched on this briefly in the previous section. Every customer service issue will go through several steps in your organization before being resolved. For example, these could be loosely defined in the following series of steps:

  • Not started
  • In progress
  • Awaiting update
  • Deferred
  • Resolved

These are fairly generic headings but they do in fact cover a multitude of scenarios and processes if you stop to consider them.

The key thing is to make sure that your customer service team actually use them. It is essential that you manage the process end to end and set up procedures to progress chase and escalate service issues. You can do this in a variety of ways within an iportinstant CRM system by using the reporting tool to generate up to the minute performance reports and enquiries.

As a customer service rep updates the record, the two key activities that are required are that they record the details of the call in some form of Notes and Comments section (within iportinstant there is a comprehensive Worknotes section which is autoamtically date and timestapmed with the user details for example) and then to update the Issue Status as they move the issue forward towards resolution.

Training of staff is critical here. If you are to let your customers access the Customer Service Portal then your team will have to be trained in using neutral language in the Notes and Comments. Think about all the times you’ve misunderstood an innocent comment in an email and you’ll understand the wisdom of this! Needless to say, any inappropriate comments abut individuals being recorded here should be stopped immediately.

You can also have the system customized so that key activities and metrics are collected together into a simple traffic light system. For example, we operate a Green/Amber/Red system for our service issues with Red being a performance failure. It’s a very public pop-up that everyone can see at a glance. It operates on three levels -- the top one is our response to our customers, the second is our suppliers response to us and the third is our communication with our customers. It’s automatic and simple. If you’d like to see this in action or to have something similar done for your organization, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Processes also extend to which individual manages which kind of issue. Within iportinstant it is possible to create default permissions for Customer Service. This sets up a rudimentary workflow automatically. For example, if you wanted to make sure that all customer service issues went first to a designated Customer Service Manager for checking, then you can set this up automatically in iportinstant by creating the default permission.

More complex processes can be handled by customization -- such as issues being automatically assigned based on skill-set or experience.

In fact, there is no limit to the kind of procedural logic that can be built into your Customer Service Portal save that of your imagination.

In the final section of this series we'll take a look at managing your Customer Service Portal for profit.

Chic McSherry