Now popular among businesses of all industries, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems are vital to the success of any business. Not only do they work well to keep current customers happy, but they also are frequently utilized to nurture relationships with prospective customers as they look to switch vendors. But what exactly is the relationship between a CRM and support software? How do the two systems work together and, more specifically, what can be done within the CRM to help solve customer issues faster?

Here are a few reasons how CRM best practices make customer support software more efficient and how to properly align the two systems…

Deploy an integration featuring a bidirectional link for tickets – The starting point for unifying the two is to deploy a customer support software and CRM integration between the two systems. As a bidirectional link, this enables CRM information related to tickets to be viewed within the support software and vice versa. So, what’s the point of this integration? It provides support with visibility into how the sales and marketing teams have interacted with customers in the CRM so they can be smarter with their responses to issues.

Emphasize clean data entry into your CRM team to benefit your support team – When utilizing an integration between your CRM and support software, it’s important that the information entered in to your CRM doesn’t contain any errors and remains consistent. Don’t have the salespeople give stacks of business cards to an intern for manual entry. This is a poor business strategy for customer support as having unkempt data in your CRM now affects more than just sales. For example, your CRM may have “ACME”, “ACME Company” and “ACME Inc.” with notes pointing to the right company… but in support software these notes may not be carried over and you’ll have three companies with the exact same name. Support employees will be confused and it will take longer to help the customer when an issue arises.

Keep customer support in mind when making custom fields in your CRM – One of the best ways to use an integration between support software and a CRM is by linking custom fields. This way, employees can see information entered in the CRM such as customer longevity and deal status so they know exactly how to respond to customers. However, if these fields are not clearly labeled or are misused, it can lead to chaos in a support system. Labeling a field “Customer Size” in your CRM but then putting only “National” or “International” as field variables isn’t helpful to support who wants to know the number of employees at the company (which is really labeled “Employee Count”). Be extremely precise with your labels to boost customer support efficiency and don’t use sales code words or acronyms.

Ensure CRM training sessions have a customer support voice in the room – Even for companies who have leveraged the same CRM for a decade, training sessions are common. New features are always being added and employees need to know how to make the most of them. As a best practice, always include an employee that is knowledgeable about your support system in these CRM training sessions. They will be able to spot how the new features and changes can impact the support team to make them more efficient when it comes to helping customers. They can also be there to raise the red flag should something new cause issues with support workflows and how information is shared between the two systems.

Wrapping up, CRM best practices make customer support software more efficient because they enable the support team to do a better job when it comes to helping customers. Linking the two systems together so support can pull clean information from clearly defined fields means they can solve issues faster. In addition, it’s always important to keep support in the loop when it comes to CRM changes so they aren’t surprised by any alterations. Having a strong CRM benefits not only sales and marketing, but it makes the life of support teams easier and improves communication throughout the entire company.