Last Thursday, we discussed the importance of documenting customer interactions in 5 Reasons Customer Documentation is at the Heart of Great Service. In that post we discussed how important documentation is to a great service culture.
Yet, it is not enough just to value good documentation, team members should also understand the best way to document a customer interaction.
Before we delve into the documentation itself, I feel compelled to share the most important rule in all of customer documentation:
In today’s complex, information-soaked world, you will get nowhere using a system that does not handle the basic information needed to effectively manage your customer experience.
Of course, your system does not have to be perfect. If you work for an organization whose CRM system does everything and records everything in exactly the most efficient and effective way possible let me know; I might need to interview the CIO.
Assuming you have a system in place that enables your team to properly record and share information, the next question becomes what do you document.
7 Keys to Documenting a Customer Interaction
- Time and Date — So simple, yet so overlooked. You need to mark when or over what time period the issue occurred, and the date and time of the conversation you are having.
- All Appropriate Names — Most customer service issues come down to a series of human interactions. Work for a large company? Make sure you record who in the service chain you involved in the issue. e.g. Passed it to Jim in Claims at ext. 317 for a credit analysis .
- Important Account Information and Identifying Info — How may Bill Smiths does your national company have in its database? Make sure you have the right one’s account information and make it clear in your CRM system which Bill Smith it is.
- Important Transaction Information — Bill has three years of orders with your company. Make sure you notate not only what happened but also which order it pertains to.
- Details That Matter Later, Not Just Now — These can include things like what the client says went wrong or what a person says they prefer . As we discussed in 5 Reasons Customer Documentation is at the Heart of Great Service, details that preempt or presume future issues are immensely helpful.
- What Needs to Be Done to Resolve the Issue — If the customer states what they are looking for as a resolution, that information should be recorded. That way, the next person in the chain will begin with the customer’s end-goal in mind.
- Scheduling a Follow Up — If a follow up is relevant, it should be scheduled and noted at the time of your interaction.
Of course, this is a generic list that should fit most organizations. However, each business is unique, and you want to look at the specifics that are relevant to your business.
For instance, do you create case or ticket numbers? Do you have to mark certain status designators? Does your system allow you to correct or tag previously entered erroneous information? Make sure you have a documentation protocol that fits the needs of your business.
Customer documentation truly is at the heart of great service. If you do not already have training in place to help people effectively document customer interactions consider creating one.
After all, CRM systems are no different than any other computer system — garbage in, garbage out.