It is time for another deep dive into different types of CRM. This time, we are looking at the specifics of Service CRMs. Most businesses have some service processes, but a Service CRM is meant for organisations with specific needs.

Service CRMs are usually much more about supporting customers after they have bought from you. However, they can be used by organisations with many inbound sales enquiries as well. Whether you are trying to better respond to customer requests or meet their needs most efficiently, a Service CRM might be what you need!

What do Service CRMs do?

At the most basic level, a service CRM will bring in your customer service requests and help you respond effectively.

There are many ways requests can come in—it might be a simple email to your customer service address, a phone call, an online chat question, a request filled in on a web form, or even a question asked on a social media platform. You might have teams read to answer in real time, or the CRM can capture these requests, and your team can respond when they are available.

The service CRM will receive the request and help you process it efficiently. For example, you can have automated responses for particular types of queries, set up queues and allocation rules to send requests to particular service teams or individuals, and, in some cases, manage appointments and customer visits with a field service capability—think washing machine repairs. Your service CRM can also help you manage your service levels and escalations. Are your customer questions being resolved in a reasonable time? Is your biggest customer getting the service they deserve?

Service CRMs can be very sophisticated in helping your customers and teams, and they are getting more powerful every day. Not so long ago, the best way you could help customers answer their own questions was to have articles on your website and try and link customers to these if they asked questions along those lines. These days, service CRMs can work with AI-powered chat-bots to try and answer customer questions instantly, only passing them off to humans if need be.

What are examples of Service CRMs?

Most large integrated CRM vendors have Service modules, such as Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and HubSpot. There is also a lot of crossover with specialised service management tools that are not exactly CRMs but deliver a great service capability, like ServiceNow.

Businesses with big service needs sometimes invest in very specific service capabilities. My clients have worked with a few examples: Helpscout, Zendesk, and many more.

As always, when looking to buy CRM software, make sure that you look at how the cost might evolve for your business. You almost always buy them at a monthly or annual price. One-off license purchases of software you own and use forever are still possible but unusual.

With subscription online products, the price usually has limitations, such as how many people can use your CRM or how many inbound channels you can have. Knowing where you are now and having a realistic idea of where you might be in 1, 3, or even 5 years helps you make good choices for your business future.

What if I need my Service CRM to link with other systems?

With a Service CRM, you might also want to look closely at the integrations—the other technologies it can link to. For example, if you get a lot of incoming phone calls, you might want something that links to your phone system so it can look up the incoming number and bring up the customer record as you answer the phone.

Many businesses get a stand-alone service CRM, but I have also seen people realise that this was a mistake. Will your service team have to open three different applications to help customers answer simple questions like what product they bought and what service arrangement they are on? This makes the support process time-consuming and frustrating for your team and your customers. When delivering great service requires information from earlier in the sales process, you might want to investigate integrated CRM tools.

Are you considering whether you need a Service CRM? Or could you use what you have more effectively? Book a free 15minute conversation to learn more.