Profiting From Great Customer Service With a Document Mangement System
We have all had bad customer service experiences. And we love to tell the stories about how we will never go back to the company. Maybe as a business owner you've even lost a customer due to a breakdown in the service your team provided. So how can a document management system help a company improve in this area?
Given how hard it is to find new customers today, once you have a great customer, they are worth their weight in gold. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but every business can attribute a lifetime value for a customer. It is obvious that companies can benefit tremendously from referrals and repeat business, but a customer will not return to your company, or recommend your service, unless every experience working with you is a great one. Treating your customer with respect and fulfilling their needs quickly and efficiently leads to higher revenue per customer.
So how can you create an environment for your company that allows you to provide great service? The answer is, you build efficient systems and give employees the tools needed to respond quickly.
Typically, the tools needed by your customer-service team focus on account information. When a customer calls or visits, the employee needs access to all of the account data. If it is incomplete, then how will they be able to understand the issue and make a decision on how to respond?
For most companies, the problem is that account information is spread out among multiple systems. You might have data in the accounting system or the customer relationship management system, but usually that is only part of the puzzle. Customer records tend to have a paper or document component too. Letters, faxes, and e-mails can all contain customer data. Shipping records, receipts, contracts, invoices and even checks can all be part of a complete customer file.
Tying all the information together into one cohesive system is what makes the difference for great customer service. Take for example an office supply company that ships everything from pencils to desks. Prior to having an automated system, their customer reps would answer the phone, research what the customer needs by looking in their accounting system and then going to the file room to retrieve the customer's file. The typical turnaround for this interaction was four hours. Depending upon the time of day, this means the customer might not get an answer until the following business day. This is good customer service, but not great customer service.
By implementing a document management system that is tied into the accounting system, the customer service rep may now answer, look in one location online to pull all the customer's records and may answer the customer's question immediately, while the customer is still on the phone. This is great customer service.
With no wait time, two things were accomplished:
1. The customer had a great experience and would have positive feelings about the company.
2. The company saved money on phone calls and research time because they did not have to spend hours looking for the one document they needed.
Here, they had two real benefits: higher customer retention and lower operational costs.
Every business is different. However, by tying a document management system into your other company systems, you too can profit by giving your employees the tools to be more efficient. Want to read other examples? Learn more about Nonprofit customer service and Credit Union customer service.
The DecadeThat Needed Document Management
The first decade of the 21st
century was book ended by recessions: the dot com bubble that burst as the new century dawned, and the banking and real estate crash that took place in 2008/2009. While there was a period of stability in-between, businesses over the past 10 years saw a number of highs and lows, and the challenges that came with both.
During the time when companies were strong and prospering, executives saw an influx of document and information that needed to be managed, and so they hired more people to manage it. They believe they were too busy to implement a true information management system that would assist in maintaining the growth, so important documents were filed in cabinets, or saved on desktop computers. Employees would spend hours searching for the information they needed by trying to decode whatever filing system was used by the person that originally stored the information. Retaining documents for compliance was in the back of everyone's minds, but they didn't really have the time to worry about it; their business was booming!
Then, when the times turned tough many businesses were forced to cut staff losing the knowledge of where documents were located, or how they were organized and the processes that surrounded them. Lost information, missing compliance controls, security breaches of information became a scary reality. Documents easily walked out of the office in briefcases of angry ex-employees, shared with competitors or were deleted from computers.
Additionally, greed and corruption had been making the headlines. In response, compliance regulations on securing and managing company data were mandated by the government. These new compliance regulations put businesses behind while they tried to reorganize; only now, they didn't have the money to hire people to help.
Many of the businesses that took the managing of company information seriously during this decade are still with us today. They had implemented document and information management systems to help them work more efficiently, save money and protect them as new compliance rules were enacted. These companies had solutions to help them become more organized by categorizing documents into single, easy-to-search repositories, instead of over-staffing. Their people were not pushing paper, they were doing work that added value to the companies and generated revenue.
They went "green" by creating electronic versions of their documents, saving money on printing, postage, faxing and copying. They stored their information in an application that housed their data in a secure facility, protecting it from loss due to disaster. They used their document management platform to create automated workflows that pushed documents through their business processes. And they used records management tools that ensured that if they were in fact faced with an audit, they could not only produce the evidence easily that relieved them of any unjust penalties, they would not be retaining information beyond its retention requirement that could potentially subject them to unnecessary fines.
Sounds dreamy, doesn't it? The reality is that even the struggling businesses today can afford a solution that can handle all of these responsibilities. With the adoption of cloud computing, document management systems are now available "in the cloud" where they are managed in a secure data facility by the vendor 24/7, protecting your data from disaster and requiring no equipment or IT support. Businesses from one employee to thousands can implement these software-as-a-service applications for a small monthly subscription fee.
So as we look ahead to the next decade, the same question remains. If there is a platform available to you, that you can easily afford, that will store your data, make it simple to find when its needed, protect you from liability, and this same platform could save you money and ultimately increase your revenues, are you still "too busy?"
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