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How to use a CRM for customer service and support

It’s not just a sales and marketing tool

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Katrina Oko-Odoi

Content Marketing Manager

Your customers expect a lot from you, whether it's fair or not. And if it seems like consumers have become more demanding over the last few years, you’re right: 65% of customers say they have higher expectations for customer service and support than they did pre-COVID, Zendesk found.

The bar keeps rising higher and higher, which means that providing customer service out of your inbox, a clunky ticket system or an Excel spreadsheet just won’t cut it anymore.

You can have the best product or service in your industry, but if your customer support experience doesn’t back up your otherwise great business, you’re going to lose existing customers (and probably get a lot of bad reviews).

Nobody wants that, and that’s why every business — regardless of its size or industry — needs to use a CRM for customer service as part of its approach to customer success.

A CRM solution gives your business a central place to store customer data, gathering intel in real-time. Thanks to automatic data entry and syncing, a CRM system makes it way easier to give customers the top-notch service they expect, so they become happy customers and stay that way.

Sure, CRM platforms are popular in sales and marketing, but they lend a big hand to customer service teams, too. Learn why customer service CRM software is so critical, plus the five ways you can use it in your own business.

Why you need a CRM for customer service and support

If your customers have a question or problem, they want your attention, pronto.

But you’re busy juggling everything behind the scenes — plus inquiries from dozens of other customers. How can you tackle these to-dos without losing your mind?

CRM software helps you deliver awesome customer service thanks to powerful data, real-time insights and automatic data entry. Aside from saving you a lot of sleepless nights, customer service CRM tools will give you benefits like:

  • Transparent communication: 85% of customers say they would stick with a business during a crisis as long as it was transparent. But doing this at scale can get messy, fast. Fortunately, a CRM helps you be transparent and agile, notifying current customers about staffing shortages or supply chain problems ASAP.
  • Complete customer portrait: Customers shop in an omni-channel environment, which makes it tough to nail down a complete customer profile and understand their customer journey. The good news is that a CRM gives you complete data on every customer, including every conversation, email and text message you’ve exchanged with them, plus what content they’ve interacted with on your website and other channels.
  • Increase productivity: As a small business, you have fewer employees around to help out, but your customers don’t care about that — they just want their problems fixed. A CRM allows you to reply more quickly to queries because all of your customer information is in one place. You can even leverage marketing automation and templated replies to give customers a near-instant response. That translates into helping more customers in less time.
  • Increase sales: That’s right, better customer support translates into more money in your pocket. In fact, improving the customer experience can increase your revenue by as much as 15%.
  • Break down silos: With a CRM system, customer success teams get a fuller picture of each customer’s interactions with your business as well as all of their customer communication. You no longer have to wonder what marketing or sales promised a customer, because their conversation is right there in the CRM.
  • Never drop the ball again: Don’t let customer service requests languish in a ticket system or (even worse) your inbox. Everything is in your CRM data, including who’s responsible for which tasks, and for which customers. With automatic reminders and task assignments within your workflow, you know that everyone is taking care of business, helping increase customer satisfaction and improve customer retention rates.

5 tips to use CRM tools for customer service

Workforce shortages mean your business likely needs to do more with fewer staff — but you don’t want the customer service experience to lag, either.

Customer service CRM tools were designed to do the heavy lifting for you. Even if you think your current customer service processes are awesome, your customers probably feel differently: just 19% of customers say that businesses’ customer service exceeds their expectations.

We clearly have room to improve, so make things official with a CRM for customer service and support. Try these five strategies to offer superior customer support with the power of a customer relationship management system:

1. Automatically collect customer data

If you don’t use a CRM for customer service and support, it means you’re probably copy-pasting customer data into a spreadsheet. That takes way too much time, and there’s a good chance you’ll fat-finger an important number, too.

With a CRM like Copper, you can automatically gather customer data without lifting a finger. Using CRM integrations, you can typically source information from:

  • Emails
  • Social media
  • Website activity
  • Content

Copper also automatically searches the web for information that will enhance each customer’s profile, like a photo from social media.

2. Manage team tasks

If you have a customer service team, it can be confusing knowing who’s responsible for what. Your CRM should offer automated workflows, roles and tasks that simplify everything.

With task management, you don’t have to use a separate project management tool, either. When set up with this objective, a CRM can tell customer service reps who to call and who to follow up with, automatically.

Copper actually notifies your team about their tasks, so you don’t have to worry about a customer’s email going unanswered.

3. Automate customer service interactions

We’ll let you in on a secret: some customer service responses can be automated entirely.

For example, you can tell your CRM platform to automatically send an email template that says, “Thanks for your email! Our scrappy team is working diligently to reply to your message within 48 hours.” If you’re experiencing delays, this message primes customers for what they can expect. This type of straightforward communication and transparency can help build customer loyalty.

You can also send your customers a mass update if there’s a product shortage, shipping delays or other less-fun problems that will affect their order. Copper’s email templates will even allow you to drop in the customer’s name and order details, so you can personalize these templates at scale without sacrificing the customer experience.

4. Personalize the customer experience

Part of delivering awesome customer service and support is personalizing for each customer.

That’s fine if you have, say, ten customers, but what if you have hundreds of customers?

You can’t ask your customer success team to manually plug in each customer’s details. Instead, your CRM can plug everything into your messages with merge fields. A CRM like Copper can drop in personalized details like:

  • First name
  • Company name
  • Title

You get the idea.

Copper even allows for Custom Fields, where you can collect meaningful data about your customers.

Does Jane have a wicked pancake recipe? Does Margaret have an adorable Yorkshire terrier? That seemingly irrelevant information can help you hyper-customize your messages at scale, so don’t be afraid to collect data that humanizes the customer service experience.

5. Integrate with third-party apps

Do you need your CRM to do a really specific function? Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater: any respectable CRM will integrate with your existing third-party apps.

For example, Copper integrates with:

  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Mailchimp
  • RingCentral
  • DocuSign
  • Zendesk

… and many other applications so businesses can streamline the customer support experience as much as possible. It also means you don’t need to click through 15 different apps to email a customer the right information, which is a huge plus.

Develop a customer service relationship management strategy

Your customer service folks can benefit from a CRM platform equally as much as someone in sales or marketing. A CRM adds a dose of much-needed structure and sanity to an already stressful job. Follow these five tips to streamline your customer service and support with a CRM.

If you’re looking for a CRM that integrates deeply with Google, give Copper a try free for 14 days, no credit card needed.

Try Copper free

Instant activation, no credit card required. Give Copper a try today.

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