How back-office technology can help you attract and retain customers
- Last Updated: January 8, 2021
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- 5 Min Read
To improve customer experience, you have to ensure your departments have the best tools so they can offer their best support. Back-office technology is critical because it impacts your whole organisation: customers, employees, and business profitability. Let's have a look at the role your back-office technology plays in your success.
How back-office technology helps your customers
Amazon has an efficient live chat support system. Let's say you want to cancel an order. Not only can you get it sorted right away, but you can also ask them about other things unrelated to your order, like their affiliate program or how much it costs to sign up for Amazon Prime. Even if you don't explicitly ask, the support agent on the other side always offers to help with questions across departments. This shows that they have the technology to find information like delivery dates almost immediately, shipment statuses, pricing issues, refund statuses, and even subscription details. You get all of this without having to call them up or stay on hold. That's a good customer experience.
Not all businesses have the same technological breadth as Amazon. However, the key is to improve the customer interaction process. Let's break that down.
Our last post talked about the customer journey. The first three stages of this journey—awareness, consideration, and purchase—are handled by your sales department.
The other stages depend on your back-office touch points and technology, such as order status, payment processes, returns and refunds, and transaction history. Here are three ways that better back-office tools help you help your customers.
Self-help for customers
People nowadays want instant answers. They'd rather read through a help document or watch a video and solve issues themselves instead of writing to you for help and waiting to get things sorted. With customer service portals, they can:
Update their shipping/billing addresses, profile information, and banking data
Track open orders and cancel ones they don't need
Pause or cancel subscriptions, such as for a library, gym, or club
View available and outstanding credits or invoices
Make payments online through their card or ewallets
Bots are great for automating some of your back-office operations, especially if you're short-staffed. If you have a list of basic information like your shipping policies, return and exchange policy, or frequently asked questions like how to use promo codes or resolve simple issues, you can feed in this information to the chatbots and they can respond to customers automatically. It's a good way to free up your employees to focus on more pressing tasks.
This is an ideal way to offer timely help to your customers right from their portals. For example, if they're looking at their latest invoice, your finance team can chat with them live about any additional information they might need.
How back office technology helps your employees
Employee experience is just as important as customer experience. It's important that your employees enjoy working with your organisation and are motivated in their roles. Happy employees = happy customers.
In his book, Employee Experience Advantage, Jacob Morgan discusses how cultural, physical, and technological environments are crucial to establishing a good employee experience. With more people working remotely these days, the digital environment you design for your employees is more important than ever. That's why the technology your employees use should be collaborative, integrated, contextual, and employee-driven. With good technology, your employees are more likely to enjoy their work.
When you choose technology that's well-integrated with each other, your support team will have contextual information at their fingertips. For example, let's say you sell online, and all shipment details are displayed in your CRM. If your support system integrates with your CRM, when a customer calls in to check the status of their package, your support rep can immediately look up package details in the support system when a customer calls asking for information.
This is why Zoho CRM and Zoho Desk integrate. When a customer calls asking for a previous invoice, the support rep can see previous transactions without leaving Zoho Desk. Instead of waiting for the finance team to show up and send the invoice, the support rep can do it themselves. What could potentially take a couple of hours can be done in minutes.
During a sales call, both parties are short on time. When a sales person follows up on a lead, they should have the information they'll need at the ready—who the potential customer is, how they found your product, any previous purchases, issues they've faced, and any feedback they've given. With an integrated system, your sales team will have all these details in a single place instead of having to look them up in multiple applications. It particularly helps sales reps (who have strict deadlines or receive commission) plan and prioritise their calls.
For example, if two incoming calls are from a long-term customer who makes prompt payments and a lead who just signed up for an initial discussion with your team, sales reps can plan who takes which call based on their workload. Having an integrated system also enables sales teams to collaborate with marketing teams and run follow-up campaigns based on customer transactions.
Less data entry
In a siloed system, you'll end up entering the same data multiple times. For instance, your sales, finance, and support teams will enter the same customer's information in three different systems. If you have a system that syncs together, a sales person can add one piece of data, and it will automatically reflect across departments.
How back-office technology helps your overall business
A business' success depends on its employees' experiences. When your employees are happy with your processes and systems, they'll be more empowered to provide higher quality customer service. That's why you need to invest time and effort in establishing ideal back-office technology.
Most inter-departmental tension festers because teams don't have the necessary information when they need it the most. Consider a support representative following up on a customer's question received on social media. Without the context of previous interactions, the support representative will be wasting time trying to identify the customer's needs. On the other hand, if the support rep can instantly look up their communication and purchase history, they'll have a more productive conversation on the call. In other words, with the right tools, your teams can find everything they need to do their job well without depending on someone else.
When department systems, such as your CRM, support desk, and accounting application, function well together, it gives you a big picture view of performance so you can make informed decisions quickly. For example, a business intelligence tool like Zoho Analytics connects with tools like Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, and Zoho Desk. You can automatically link them up to your dashboard and periodically observe how your departments are performing.
Investing in well-connected back-office tools can help your business from the inside out. Start by digitising all manual processes across your departments, including customer interactions like purchases, returns, and after-sale support. When you choose technology that fits your business style you'll never have to compromise on the way you work.
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