If you are using a CRM system to manage your technical support or customer service tickets, then you are likely using related system notifications. These are notifications triggered by an action or inaction, and sent to a designated group of employees, customers or both.
Customer service teams use notifications for two main purposes, either to generate awareness about a business activity and/or to spur some type of action, such as checking back in with a customer or following up with another department to check on case progress.
Ultimately, effective use of CRM notifications will help you achieve your customer outcomes such as achievement of SLAs or customer satisfaction ratings.
Here are three tips to help maximize the success of your notifications.
1) Everything Good – In Moderation
Like with eating dessert or drinking coffee, CRM notifications work best when used in moderation.
If your team members or customers receive notifications for standard actions and processes, then those messages will get lost in the shuffle and will end up in the trash folder. Instead, use your notifications for exceptions to your rules and for the most important actions and processes. In addition, set up custom distribution lists so only the most affected parties receive the messages.
For example, every time a customer opens a Priority 1 (critical outage) case for product X, the product X management team receives an email update. Or, if a Priority 2 case sits in a waiting status for more than Z hours, a select group of analysts receives an email notification.
2) My Loyal Subject (Lines)
Per the Radicati Group’s, 2010 Email Statistics Report, the typical corporate user sends and receives about 110 email messages daily. Most CRM systems leverage email as the medium for their notifications (although some also use text messaging, or CRM activities), and many of the business leaders receiving the notifications are reading them on a mobile device.
Therefore, considering volume and visual impact, it is critical that your notifications stand out from the others and the key lever is the email subject line.
Here are several ideas to help your subject line stand out and spur the reader to open the email and access the notification content.
- Use short and concise verbiage and avoid the Corporate America blah, blah, blahs. Per Lorel Interactive, studies show that when email messages have subject lines that are less than 50 characters in length, recipients are more likely to open them.
- Start the subject line with a few words in caps, that describe the notification: NEW P1 OPENED, P2 DELAYED > 2 HOURS,
- Start by asking for help, e.g. “Your Help Needed: Support Case 12345 Requires More Information”
- Auto-populate relevant, issue specific information such as case number, customer name and/or product. The more relevant the email appears, the more likely the recipient will look at it.
- If supported by your internal email system, color code or highlight the text in the subject line.
Check out Marketing Zone’s post, “How to write great email subject lines”.
3) Optimize Notification Content
Similar to the email subject line, by including or excluding specific language within the body of a notification, you can influence your results.
- For email notifications that should to spur activity, be sure to include a clear “call to action” phrase in the email. Simply, tell the recipient what you want them to do, by when and how to do it. For example, “Please call our technical support team by August 1, at 1-800-888-888 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and reference case ABCDE.” or “Tech Support Manager….Check the status of case ABCDE in Salesforce,com and determine why it is still “waiting for customer” after 2 days. I like this list from Jessica Swanson at Shoestring Marketing, “50 Powerful Email Call To Action Phrases“.
- Include valuable information in the notification content, so recipients don’t need to click on a link to get the entire update. For example, if a case has been updated, include the most recent case comment in the email. Otherwise, you may get unnecessary phone calls from recipients who do not have direct access to your CRM or eSupport portal.
- As with email subject lines, use short and concise verbiage and avoid the Corporate America blah, blah, blahs.
- Review your notifications on an ongoing basis, to align with your changing business needs. Businesses often craft CRM notifications once, at the time a CRM system is implemented or upgraded, then never review them again. This is a big mistake.
- For fun.. check out this INFOGRAPHIC, “The anatomy of email response rates”.
When used effectively, CRM notifications can be a very effective lever in helping you achieve your SLAs and improve customer satisfaction. When was the last time you reviewed and improved them?
© 2011 – 2012, Marci Reynolds. All rights reserved.