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Tips and Tricks for Leveraging CRM Solutions

One of the best parts of my job is talking with--and more importantly, listening to--leaders from companies and organizations who use Cisco’s contact center products to collaborate with their customers and grow their businesses.  Over the course of these conversations, we’ve discussed ways in which companies can get the most out of their customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.  Today I’d like to share a few of them with you, gleaned from a recent conversation with Doug Saunders of Republic Services Inc, the leading provider of solid waste collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal services.

1) Don’t underestimate the power of self-service: Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a mature, proven technology for automatically handling routine caller requests that can free up valuable agent resources for calls that require more detailed/customized assistance.  For example, Republic Services uses Cisco Unified Customer Voice Portal for automated order entry, saving approximately five minutes apiece for each of 100-200 daily service requests--the equivalent of one to two full-time agents.

2) Creating a unified experience is key: Companies can strengthen their brand by providing a consistent, unified customer service experience across multiple media channels including voice, video, web, chat, and e-mail-- regardless of whether the “call” goes into a national service center or a local branch. Cisco’s contact center solutions are built on the network, making this unification a natural consequence of our architecture.

3) The first step to effective customer interactions is efficient internal communications: Customer service agents and supervisors can use presence and instant messaging to get quick answers from their coworkers and enterprise experts.  For example, the 170-person IT team and about 160 sales and operations personnel at Republic Services use Cisco WebEx Connect to see whether coworkers are online and then interact with them via instant messaging to resolve caller issues.

4) Once your CRM solution is up and running, keep your agents productive: Make the lives of your agents as easy as possible by using desktop tools and shortcuts to make them more efficient and productive.  One example of this is using calling features such as speed dials to reduce the time and errors needed to reach internal resources.

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