The spookiest time of the year is upon us - there’s no time like Halloween to binge-watch your favorite horror movies, eat copious amounts of candy and share scary tales. But when it comes to the real scary stuff that we need to face on a day-to-day basis, getting spooked isn’t so fun. Things like improper contact management can haunt you and your organization, especially small and medium-sized enterprises - and what comes of it is nothing short of a true nightmare scenario.
There’s no need to panic and scream, though. We’ve decided to go trick-or-treating in our own way - we looked for some of the trickiest parts of contact management for your business and treats to solve them.
1. The terrible foe: data silos
As a growing business, you probably have loads of software applications you use on a daily basis. Your marketing team is using tools like email marketing apps, automation and personalization software, while your sales wizards are likely using a CRM, phone contacts apps and other tools. What’s more - there are customer support tools for your service team, accounting, billing…
With all that going on, a dangerous foe is afoot: data silos. Data silos happen when pieces of information are isolated within a platform, tucked away from the rest of your app stack and not accessible to your whole team. This means that all the data you captured is stored in separate, disparate databases that are not communicating, and therefore no valuable insight can be gathered from it.
If this sounds familiar, your customer data is probably locked in quarantine in each of your apps, so sound the alarm bells - quarantine is a great idea when you’re dealing with flesh-eating viruses and a potential zombie apocalypse, but when it comes to your data, you want it all to be nicely integrated and in sync.
Data silos can look like a seven-headed monster, but the weapon to beat it is surprisingly simple: sync your data. With a sleek integration solution like PieSync, the contact data across all of your business apps will be in sync and up-to-date, so everyone in the company has access to the same correct information. You can relax knowing that all your contact, lead and company data is connected, centralized and organized according to the best workflow for you.
2. Botched data entry and CSV files
When trying to fend off the boogeyman of data silos, you might think that the solution is as simple as entering data manually in several apps, manual import/export or creating CSV files. Bad news: that’s about as effective as spraying a werewolf with water. If anything, it can make your problem worse (now you have an angry and wet werewolf on your back). Manual data entry can take up huge chunks of your team’s precious time, as well as subjecting you to mistakes, typos, duplicate entries, incorrect and outdated information... until your contacts database ends up looking like a regular Frankenstein monster.
Once again, data integration is your answer. With a smooth two-way contact sync in place, you can make sure that once the data is added or updated in one app, that change is reflected in your entire tech stack, regardless of the app in which it was changed. This ensures that no manual data entry or CSV files are ever needed again, so you can exorcise the demon of inefficient contact management from your life.
3. The fearsome curse of incorrect data
With these two issues above, there also comes the danger of having incorrect data in one or more platforms. When data needs to be entered manually, something as small as missing a comma can invalidate the entire contact information. This results in bounced emails, wrong phone numbers, mistaken identities and things of the sort, until it looks like a mischievous goblin just came through to wreak havoc in your company. Confidence in data accuracy will drop, meaning that your data won’t be trustworthy and thus virtually useless.
We’re starting to see a pattern here: if you don’t do proper housekeeping within your databases, it can become a real bloodbath. Getting an iPaas solution for your business is ideal to automate all contact management-related tasks - it takes care of scanning and merging duplicates, syncing historical and new data bidirectionally, preventing data mishaps and enriching all of your contact databases. That way, you can sleep easy at night knowing that there’s no horde of bloodthirsty data zombies coming to eat your brains (and sanity).
4. The unspeakable evil: miscommunication between teams
When operating with disjointed and incomplete data, your team members can feel like they’ve been left in the dark, and there’s a monster lurking in the shadows. What if your customer support agents gather valuable pieces of information about customers, but your marketing managers don’t have access to it because that data is stored in a different tool? That piece of information could make all the difference when creating segmentation or a personalized marketing campaign - but if the marketing team doesn’t have access to it, it loses its value. And what if the marketing department is capturing a lot of hot leads, but this never reaches your sales team because the data is stored in the wrong app? That’s a nightmare you can’t wake up from.
The data silos problem can lead to all sorts of communication breakdown in your company, but it’s nothing you can’t fix. By controlling the flow of data between all your business apps, you can make sure that the right people will have access to the right information at the right time. You can also set up automated workflows between your teammates using Intelligent Syncing, which allows you to automatically subscribe or unsubscribe customers from email marketing lists, or send hot leads or MQL from marketing apps to the sales team’s CRM. So no one has to worry about manual data entry, import/export, CSV files or any other blood-curdling (and outdated) ways to share data. And you know that no valuable information is getting lost in the abyss.
5. Frightening customer experience
Remember the monster lurking in the shadows we mentioned before? It’s customer satisfaction. It’s tricky to maintain, but also one of the most important things to pay attention to if you want your business to succeed. Your customers have increasingly higher expectations for your business, and more and more of them are expecting seamless interactions with your agents. Everyone knows that going through long waiting times, having to repeat your query over and over again and talking to unprepared agents just to resolve a simple query is the stuff of real-life horror, and it may well scare your customers away forever. Frankly, it’s enough to have anyone howling at the moon in frustration.
And it doesn’t affect only your customers. If your customer service processes are convoluted and time-consuming, it’s likely that your staff is ready to go from Jekyll to Hyde at any minute. Research shows that customer-facing staff are often frustrated with the quality of service they’re able to provide - many of them have to make do with inappropriate work tools and are stuck in the cogs of inefficient processes.
Customer service agents have one of the highest turnover rates as they experience several pain points when carrying out their function: these include having to pass customers between teams and departments (43%), having to manually enter the same information multiple times (32%) and having to prompt customers for information they’ve already supplied on another channel (24%).
If that sounds like the kind of things your agents go through, beware: it’s time to work some magic to turn things around. Luckily, technology comes to the rescue once again - there’s nothing like automation to keep your customers happy. You can, for example, connect your CRM to your help desk and ticketing software so you have a complete view of the customer’s history with your company whenever they get in touch. That means your customer-facing teams will always be in the loop when a customer calls and your customer data will always be up-to-date and centralized.
By getting rid of customer data silos, you can ensure that your support agents will always have access to your customers’ correct data at all times, whether it is stored in your CRM, accounting software, help desk, marketing or any other tools you use to collect customer data. That results in faster query resolution, happier customers and agents with more time to focus on the work that matters, instead of hunting for rogue data across a labyrinth of apps.
TL;DR: there’s a simple way to slash five of your worst nightmares when it comes to handling contact data: sync it. Now that all that is taken care of, you can enjoy Halloween by donning your best zombie makeup and having all-you-can-eat candy. Maybe even some pie. Happy Halloween!