Provide customers and partners with self-service support 24 x 7
Certain CRM systems can actually provide direct access to your company through what are often called portal technology. This is a grand description for a fairly simple but very useful concept where parts of the CRM system are put online so that external users, customers for example, can directly input support request information into the CRM system.
Think of a customer service environment where partners or customers might want to log service requests with a company. Typically they phone a number, someone internally then records the nature of the request into a CRM system. Then if the customer wants a progress report they call the number again, give a reference number and your internal support looks up the system and reads the progress status back.
A Better, Always Available Solution:
Imagine then a situation where the ability to record this request is directly exposed to an external portal. There is no security risk as it is only a tiny subset of the CRM system. The request is entered, a reference "service ticket" number generated and the customer can log in at any time to see the status which is always up to date as it is the same system used inside and out.
Infor CRM SalesLogix Portal users can access a view of open and closed service tickets and drill down into the details of service activity and resolution.
Additonally the portal users can search your company's knowledge database of existing resolutions to their immediate issues - improving the customer's experience and reducing your service costs.
This ability can typically be extended to industries such as the distribution, customer service, professional services or education environments: essentially anywhere there is a manual interface to a system that is adding little value to the process. Indeed that person can often be retained to offer a second more valuable tier of service in terms of triage of requests or escalation, resulting in better customer service for all involved.
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How are you providing your partners and customers open resources within your company?