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Mastering the art of customer service management

Customer Service Management
What is customer service management and why is it important?
Lead your team with a customer service management strategy
Drive toward customer service goals with technology
Final thoughts

Customer service is a critical component of any business today. A strong customer service team can build relationships, trust and loyalty with clients, leading to repeat business and advocacy.

Managing all the activities involved in providing that level of service takes skill. Customer service management leaders can drive toward – and exceed – customer service targets with a solid strategy and the right technology.

In this article, we explore what customer service management is and why it is important. We’ll also look at ways to manage a successful customer service team and how to use technology to reach customer service goals.

What is customer service management and why is it important?

Customer service management (CSM) is the coordination of all the tasks involved in caring for customers to ensure they have an excellent customer experience. CSM typically focuses on post-sale activities, but some companies may manage customer service before customers purchase.

CSM includes daily activities like:

  • Prioritizing support tickets by first-come-first-served or by intensity of the issue

  • Assigning customer issues to the right support rep

  • Optimizing workflows for better efficiency so customers are supported quicker

  • Monitoring performance metrics to ensure customer satisfaction stays high

CSM can be a manual process, with customer service leaders completing the above tasks to support customer-facing teams. The customer service management definition, therefore, often refers to the physical process management by a customer service leader.

These days, it’s easier to automate repetitive tasks and track performance in a dashboard. Technology has become so ingrained in customer service teams that CSM sometimes refers to the technology rather than the activities (similar to how customer relationship management can refer to CRM software or sales and marketing activities).

We’ll explore how customer service management software can simplify customer service tasks in a moment. First, let’s discuss why it’s important and where to start.

Managing your customer service activities to provide the best possible experience can help your business in many ways. Great customer service can encourage customers to spend more with the business, including repeat purchases and buying at higher price points.

A 2023 study by Hyken found that customer service was more important than price when considering whether to do business with a company for almost half of respondents (48%).

Customers also won’t hesitate to leave companies after just one negative experience and are more likely to tell a friend about it.

CSM is about streamlining customer service and supporting the customer service team so they can deliver the best possible customer experience.

Technology can help, but it’s wise to start by supporting your team with good leadership.

Lead your team with a customer service management strategy

Teams need the right tools, systems and processes to deliver effective customer service. They also need a leader who can motivate them.

Here are our top tips for leadership with a solid customer service management system.

Be transparent with your team

People respond well to open communication. In Gallup’s State of the Workplace: 2023 Global Report, when employees engage staff, the number of them who say they are stressed drops from 56% to 30%. They are also 18% less likely to be searching for another job than when they feel disengaged.

Here’s what transparency looks like in customer service management:

  • Explain decisions. Talking through your decisions with your team encourages them to get on board. For example, explaining why you’ve switched software providers could help them embrace a new tool.

  • Request 360-feedback. When everyone constructively delivers feedback to a colleague, both managers and the appraisee get a fuller picture. You can also encourage team members to give feedback to the manager.

  • Ask questions. Asking clarifying questions shows the team it’s okay to be unsure and request more information from other team members. They’ll know it’s safe to double-check facts, preventing miscommunication issues.

Use rewards and recognition to motivate

Consistently finding ways to motivate your customer service team can be challenging with so many other jobs to complete. However, it’s an essential part of maintaining a positive work environment.

Make sure team members know they have your support and you want them to succeed. Actively boosting your team creates an ambitious workforce more likely to smash its goals. Pipedrive’s The state of sales and marketing: The economy review 2022/2023 found that sales and marketing professionals who get support from their colleagues and managers are 20% more likely to hit their sales targets.

Employee support

Remember the following when motivating, rewarding and supporting your team:

  • Set achievable goals. You can only score when you have a goal. Set achievable goals (gamification can elevate this process) for the team. Break down difficult targets into manageable objectives to tackle each day or week.

  • Personalize rewards. Every member of the customer service team is unique. An introverted team member may appreciate a small, private thank you, while an extroverted employee might prefer public praise.

  • Be creative with rewards. Many people are motivated by monetary rewards, like bonuses and commissions but not every company can afford to offer financial incentives. Instead of forgoing rewards completely, try getting creative. Offer travel incentives, paid time off, restaurant vouchers and more.

Note: Pipedrive’s shareable dashboards and reports help teams set targets and track toward goals.

Learn to handle busy periods and difficult situations

Busy periods and difficult situations, such as unexpected absences and urgent requests, are an everyday occurrence in customer service.

Customer service management means knowing how to deal with these common issues behind the scenes while maintaining a flawless customer experience. For example, you may be short-staffed, but your customers still want their problems handled promptly.

Here are a few strategies to demonstrate CSM leadership when this happens:

  • Rescheduling unimportant meetings. Prioritize immediate customer requests and postpone less important meetings. Learning which issues are more pertinent takes some skill and will differ for every business, but it’s critical to CSM.

  • Delegate tasks to the relevant departments. Some issues will come through the customer service department but they’re better suited for another team. For example, if someone complains about a recent marketing campaign, the head of marketing may be best positioned to handle it.

  • Use technology to meet service goals. Are busy periods a regular situation? Investing in technology (chatbots, live chat, etc.) is a great way to streamline your customer service team.

Pipedrive really ensures that I keep up the pace when trying to close a deal. With their very nice workflows, I see what actions I need to take in order to sign up a client and I never forget to follow up with them. No leads are left behind!

GabrielAccount Manager, DashThis

Help your remote teams work efficiently

The shift to remote work in 2020 was one of the biggest changes for customer service teams. Managing customer service teams outside of a traditional office environment has led to some bad habits, like getting stuck with outdated technology or overprescribing reps with work.

If it’s been a while, check in with your team and address any issues that may be preventing them from delivering the best experience.

Here are some examples of open questions you can use to better understand how customer service improvements can happen in your business:

  • Is there anything you struggle with when it comes to your work?

  • Are the tools familiar and easy to use?

  • Do you feel like your workload is manageable?

  • Would you benefit from more regular or less regular meetings?

With team feedback, leaders can create a strategy to improve the employee experience and boost the customer experience in the process.

Drive toward customer service goals with technology

As businesses grow, customer service becomes more time-consuming because there are more people to deal with. If customer service teams feel too thinly spread, your customers will likely feel that drop in quality.

Technology plays a vital role in modern customer service management, with many companies using it to streamline their support processes.

Pipedrive’s The state of sales and marketing: The economy review 2022/2023 found that people are resilient in these tough times but they rely on the support of managers and technology.

The same report also found that despite the economic downturn in many countries worldwide, businesses are investing more – not less – in tech.

With that said, here are five ways to use technology to streamline customer service management.

1. Use live chat and AI-powered chatbots

AI-powered chat has revolutionized customer service by handling many low-level customer requests. Chat functions can help direct customers to knowledge base resources, collect customer information and even assign them to a rep, taking pressure off staff in busy periods.

Chatbots are virtual agents that simulate human conversations, typically with text messages. They use customer feedback and conditional logic to complete simple tasks such as checking shipping updates and order statuses, troubleshooting simple problems and redirecting customers to self-service options, such as frequently asked questions (FAQs) pages.

Chatbots can also help agents approach support situations already equipped with the information they need to resolve queries quickly.

For example, Pipedrive offers a customizable combination of a Chatbot and Live Chat for quick, convenient service.

Customizable chatbot

Customize Chatbot’s playbook template on each page of your website, offering different responses to help customers with different intentions.

For example, if your customer engages Chatbot on the FAQ page, you can set Chatbot to pull up an answer they might be looking for. If they engage Chatbot on a product troubleshooting page, you’ll know that they haven’t found their answer in a self-service section and Chatbot can direct the customer to a rep more quickly.

Pipedrive’s Live Chat is another key part of the customer service package where customers can speak virtually with team members.

The customer service team receives a notification as soon as a live chat is requested, allowing a faster reaction time and improved conversion rates.

2. Automatically schedule meetings

Scheduling meetings and onboarding by emailing or calling back and forth can be tedious. However, securing time with customers and other team members is a crucial part of customer service.

Quickly finding times and automatically setting up meetings with scheduling software frees up agent time for other activities, like strategizing CSM and nurturing high-value customers.

Pipedrive’s Scheduler tool helps customer service teams share meeting availability and syncs team members’ calendars.

Automatic Scheduler Tool

Use the Pipedrive Scheduler to propose a specific time or an available slot.

You can also manage the appointment times in a calendar view.

Manage appointment times

3. Collect data and view trends

Data collection and trends offer valuable information, allowing leaders to zoom in on specific performance targets and identify the areas where assistance is needed.

Fixing these issues, whether broken sales processes, cold leads or performance issues, can transform the customer service experience. Every activity can be tracked with a CRM, allowing leaders to use this data to:

  • Remove the daily busywork. Automate as much of the customer service experience as possible to free up the management team.

  • Make informed, data-driven decisions. Automatically view trends with visualized pipelines, graphs and charts without the headache of a spreadsheet.

  • Track individual performance. View and compare individual data from key customer service agents. Measure KPIs and create goals to keep performance at high standards.

Pipedrive’s sales dashboard offers granular reporting, preventing performance issues from becoming bad habits that drain productivity and sales. Leaders can customize their dashboards, generating visual reports that make data easy to understand. Share dashboards both internally and externally to create a transparent knowledge base.

You can customize the dashboards with variable report block sizes and configurations. Quick filters may also be applied to the dashboard data, allowing users to filter the information by periods and individual users or teams.

Insights dashboard pipedrive

You can also rearrange the report blocks to view them in the order you prefer. To do this, hover over the report, click on the move icon in the top right corner and drag the report to the desired location.

Pipedrive’s Professional or Enterprise plan users can create additional dashboards, targeting different datasets, trends or visualization tools for maximum information. They can also populate new dashboards with existing reports or start from scratch by adding a new report.

4. Be more efficient with customer service automation

Connecting a marketing system to customer service technology is a proactive way to address customer service opportunities.

Internally, populating welcome messages to new users with useful content (FAQs, onboarding tips, step-by-step guides, etc.) can free up valuable time for service agents.

For example, a new user struggling to find where to update their payment card could use up valuable agent time. Automated welcome emails covering key information (such as how to update payment cards) can help customers quickly address their issues.

Campaigns by Pipedrive allows users to craft compelling email communication and manage information directly in the Pipedrive account.

Users can access all sales and marketing data under one digital roof, automate emails and monitor campaigns without tedious imports and exports to alternative email or customer service software.

Email marketing is not the sole solution for efficient customer service automation. There are dozens of marketing automation apps that work seamlessly with Pipedrive.

5. Use omnichannel workflow management

Omnichannel workflow management allows businesses to connect customer support tickets across multiple channels.

For example, a customer may first reach out via social media before speaking with a service agent over a live chat. With an omnichannel approach, the agent can access the previous support messages, get up to speed with the scenario and quickly address customer needs.

Understanding the bigger picture of customer issues is one of the more challenging areas of customer support. Accessing all available information allows the service team to perform the best possible service with data across multiple touchpoints.

Leaders can integrate an omnichannel approach within their CRM to maximize the benefits of the multi-faceted approach. This way, they can log any contact history within their existing tools for any future reps to review.

Note: There’s a vast range of apps in our marketplace that work with and are manageable within Pipedrive, including popular channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.


Final thoughts

Customer service management is vital in the development of customer relationships both inside and outside the sales process.

All customer service managers can struggle with the day-to-day operations of leading a strong team but deploying the right strategies can contribute to everyday wins. Technology plays a vital role in modern customer support management, helping teams to streamline their service for customer success.

Driving business growth