Your company’s CRM software is a key element in effectively engaging with your customers and in nurturing the company-customer relationship. Likewise, your call center is key because of the critical role it plays in facilitating communication between customers and the company.

In a day and age where there are countless avenues for communication, the simplicity, straightforwardness, and ease of talking via telephone has ensured that this traditional form of communication has remained relevant. But in order to make the most of your CRM software and your call center as a customer contact point, integrating the two is vital.

Exceed High Expectations

Consumers today have higher expectations than ever before. They’ve come to expect engaging, agile service on demand. When the time comes for them to make that demand, the call center is often their first point of contact. Ensuring that this first contact experience is a positive one, and exceeding your customer’s expectations immediately is of the utmost importance.

Information is Power (and it Builds Rapport)

Your CRM software should be one of the primary resources for employees seeking insight into the relationship a customer has with your company. The customer’s account information, recent purchases or orders, and former correspondence with your company should be at their fingertips when the call comes in.

This type of integrated access helps to build rapport between the customer, the customer service agent, and the company itself. The customer service agent is able to address their interests and concerns with in the larger context of the company’s ongoing relationship with that customer.

When CRM is well-integrated in the call center, it benefits agents enormously. They have access to all of the information they need to help the customer, and they no longer have to navigate between multiple applications or platforms. A CRM that is well integrated into your call center with an intuitive interface is a tool that helps agents focus their attention where it’s most needed: on customers and their current concerns.

Your company will benefit as well because better customer rapport means longer customer relationships. Your employees will face fewer obstacles to providing excellent service, leading to higher morale and productivity. Plus, integrated CRM makes it easy for agents to record each interaction with a customer in detail, meaning that the next time that customer calls, the next agent will have even more information.

Integrated CRM in the call center makes for higher morale in your organization, more satisfied customers, and stronger customer relationships. But as any leader knows, a big change—even one that is ultimately positive—can shake things up in any organization. Just as you should be seeking software that fully meets your organization’s needs in terms of data collection and storage, you should also be looking for software that’s well supported from (and perhaps even before) the time it’s deployed.

Making the Transition: Dos and Don’ts

Significant changes in day-to-day operations can be a challenge to manage, and a CRM software deployment in your call center certainly falls into this category. However, there are a number of things you can do (and mistakes you can avoid) to safeguard against disruption, interruption of services, and other issues.

Before you commit to the CRM platform of your choice, you should take into account the preparatory support offered by the vendor. Will you or the vendor be responsible for training employees on this software prior to taking it live? Are employees expected to figure it out on their own? Take tutorials?

Depending on your needs, the complexity of the software, and the experience of your employees the answer could be any one of the above. The point, however, is that you need to plan your implementation well before it’s under way if you want to be assured of success. Have a detailed, actionable plan in place for training. Allocate time to training and schedule quantifiable KPIs for a period of time after deployment.

One common mistake companies make is failing to communicate effectively with employees during the CRM software buying process. Of course, your employees aren’t making the final decision, but they are the ones who are going to be using the software, and they’ll know exactly which features stand out above the rest. It’s a good idea to have a small team of beta testers (those that will be using the software once integrated) to familiarize themselves with your top CRM software choices. They can point out strengths and weaknesses that may not have occurred to you.

Finally, take your time choosing the right CRM software for your company. TopAdvisor’s CRM Software Buyer’s Guide is a great way to familiarize yourself with everything the top CRM vendors have to offer.

It’s All About the Relationship

Customer satisfaction, which is predicated in large part on the strength of the customer relationship, is one of the strongest indicators of repeat business and brand loyalty. Reducing customer churn should always be a priority, and to do that, it’s vital to keep your customers satisfied, engaged, and communicative. Integrating CRM software into your call center can have a transformative effect on your relationship with your customers, and ultimately, your success as a company.