How Intranets Can Improve Customer Service

By Simpplr Marketing
Customer service - woman speaking into headset and looking at laptop screen
Intranets are internal-facing channels that are meant to serve and impact employees only, right? Well, yes and no, because while employees are the folks who read the content and interact with each other in the communities, a social intranet can also have a significant impact on your customers.

By meeting the needs of employees, especially those who are customer-facing, the benefits of a great intranet can translate into better customer service, with speedier responses and more knowledgeable employees.

Here are six ways intranets can make that happen:

1. Providing product and service information

When the sales team is out on the road or when call-center staff are speaking to customers, they must be able to access accurate, up-to-date information about all products and services. Content must be found immediately to serve customers in real time, answer any questions or resolve issues.

The intranet provides the perfect channel to house all the product details. The faster employees can find what they need, the more impressed and satisfied your customers will be.

2. Connecting to the right people

Some customers have more complex needs, and to resolve an issue or deliver great service you may have to find a person with specialist knowledge or skills. A social intranet gives you the ability to seek out experts across the enterprise by searching through employee profiles, asking a question that everybody can see, or targeting a particular community.

A commonly experienced ‘wow moment’ within social intranets is when employees receive fantastic responses to obscure questions surprisingly quickly. This means you can respond to customers quickly too, and pass on the ‘wow moment’ to them!

3. Spreading awareness of customers and their needs

How well do you your employees know your customers?  Do they know their different range of interests, how they use your products and their individual pain points?

The better your employees know your customers, the better they can serve them. This is particularly important for new, customer-facing staff who are getting up to speed, staff who only deal with one type of customer or any staff who do not have direct experience of dealing with customers.

You can use your social intranet to post information about customers, tell stories, show their reactions on social media or even post real customer feedback. Getting close to your customers allows employees to anticipate their needs, communicate in the right way and empathize. That’s critical for great customer service.

4. Collecting and sharing ideas

Naturally some of the very best ideas about how to improve customer service are from frontline employees who spend the most time with customers. But those valuable insights and occasional genius lightbulb moments are often lost to organizations.

A social intranet provides the perfect channel to gather, express, rate and discuss ideas to improve customer service. This might be through a more formal program to manage these ideas or within a dedicated community.  With a social intranet, all employees have a voice, allowing them to contribute anything from small ideas for improvement to entirely new services. Just one amazing idea submitted by the employees who know customers best has the potential to generate millions of dollars in revenue!

5. Rewarding great customer service

To keep customer-facing staff motivated and engaged, the social intranet is an excellent place to celebrate and reward examples of fantastic customer service. These can be more formal through the use of points and prizes or more informal by simply posting stories highlighting individual achievements. You can also post positive feedback from customers.

Doing this highlights inspiring examples from peers and shows that your organization recognises the importance of the contributions of its employees.  If you have a culture of excellent customer service, your customers will soon realize this.

6. Saving time

A great intranet saves employees time by making all those boring-but-essential processes like finding HR information that bit faster. The overall result is saved time and greater productivity. When this time gained is spent on the core activities that make customer service happen, ultimately the customer will feel the benefits. An efficient organization means happy customers!

So can an intranet really improve customer service?

The answer is a resounding yes! Intranets excel in this area by presenting the right information and connections at the right time, driving efficiencies and getting employees closer to the customer. The result can be a noticeable and measurable increase in customer service, which can translate into better sales.  If you can achieve that, it means your intranet is likely to pay for itself many times over.

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