Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., co-founders of Peppers & Rogers Group, have long said that the only way that a business can actually create value is with customers. Because if you don't have a customer, it doesn't matter how many products you have, you don't have a business.
This year's 2014 Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence winners in the Customer Service category know this mantra firsthand. They've adopted the necessary provisions to ensure their customers are satisfied by providing quick resolutions to their issues, and that they remain loyal to their brands by providing them with relevant communications and service at the points in their customer journeys when they need it the most.
SanDisk, our Gold winner in this category, for instance, has made it a mission to ensure its brand excels at delivering optimal customer service levels. The flash memory based storage provider improved integration across previously fragmented customer service channels to deliver a personalized and seamless experience across all channels, including the Web, social media, mobile, the contact center, and in the field.
Additionally, collecting data from across different channels and tracking customer communications is allowing SanDisk to proactively help customers by identifying and monitoring trends, for example the top drivers of calls to the contact center and leveraging online forum conversations to identify what customers like and dislike about products and services.
Overall, the whole strategy has led to an improvement in customer satisfaction for call center services of up to 97 percent, up from 91 percent in 2011 while reducing the customer service budget by 7 percent.
Our Silver winner, and an unlikely candidate for this award, is the City of Buffalo. Recognizing the need to identify the areas with the greatest need of city services, the city of Buffalo decided to leverage Big Data to pinpoint neighborhoods that required the most assistance. The plan was to embark on an interagency collaborative approach that would allow different departments to work together during clean sweeps to address multiple issues in one location. Although these clean sweeps had been underway for several years, there was no data-based reason for the areas targeted. The first step, which kicked off in 2010, was to bring all this data together to determine the areas that required the most attention, and quickly identify neighborhoods at risk and requiring the services of its Clean Sweep program. Working with the IT department, the city created maps that pull data from different departments and highlight the areas in need.
Better data is allowing the City of Buffalo to acquire new partners, a number which grew by more than 400 percent. Now the city can also quickly identify areas where poverty, crime, and 311 calls overlap indicating the need for special attention. Further, better data is increasing the impact and focusing efforts in areas that need it. The city also has addressed issues at approximately 5,400 properties - the most ever made during a 12-month period.
Finally, MedicAlert Foundation, the Bronze winner in the Customer Service category, wanted to obtain a holistic view of customers and increase flexibility of offerings. The company embarked on an enterprisewide CRM initiative. Now, MedicAlert Foundation staff has more detailed information about individual customers, allowing customer service representatives to access complete customer profiles--including health information, which marketing materials or communications they received, and their previous order history--while talking to that customer. This leads to a more personal and intimate communication as well as improved employee satisfaction.
Armed with more robust customer profiles, the foundation has started to segment communication efforts among its customer base, for example according to age, location, or medical condition. Further, customer feedback identified the need to provide a lower price point for some customers, and the new CRM platform has allowed MedicAlert Foundation to launch new membership services with varying levels of customer support, providing customers with a choice.
It is clear that a better CRM system has led to an improved customer experience, with MedicAlert Foundation achieving a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 62 percent in 2013, the first year it started tracking this metric.
We at 1to1 Media congratulate the winners in the Customer Service category. Please read their full stories here. And be sure to check back on December 1st when the 2015 Garter & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence call for entries opens.