The key to success as a business is providing excellent customer service. The customer service industry is itself worth $350 billion. Without customers, you won’t have any revenue. Without excellent customer service, you won’t be able to obtain repeat business from those consumers. Loyal repeat business is what helps provide the steady streams of revenue that can keep a business afloat for the long term.

One thing that can allow you to greatly improve your customer service is the implementation of knowledge management. Knowledge management can be defined as the creation, dissemination and implementation of knowledge throughout an organization. Below are some of the ways knowledge management is helping to improve customer service.

Customer Relationship Management

A knowledge management system that is deployed for the purpose of managing the customer experience is known as a customer relationship management system. In the industry, this is commonly referred to as CRM for short. CRM software is used by most companies that have direct interactions with consumers.

There are many different CRM software suites on the market. Selling CRM software is an $81.9 billion industry. However, for small businesses on a budget, there are some freeware choices. The best free CRM software includes choices like Insightly, Hubspot CRM and Freshsales.

Good CRM software should be able to store and access customer data from many different sources that can then be identified by different criteria such as the customer’s name or phone number. CRM software can also be integrated into a larger big data strategy in which all kinds of data is recorded and stored so it can later be used to create competitive advantages. 53 percent of companies have invested in big data strategies.

More Intelligent Customer Service

One of the great things that knowledge management and CRM can provide to a company is much more informed customer service. If you implement a CRM system, you should be able to pull up all kinds of information regarding an individual customer’s previous interactions with your company and products. In fact, if your system is exhaustive enough, you should be able to instantly pull up information regarding every single past interaction.

This can improve the customer service provided by leaps and bounds. For example, a customer who calls in about a specific issue about a product may have called in before about the same problem. Without knowledge management, no service representative will be aware that the customer had previously called in about the same issue. For all intents and purposes, it will be like the customer called in for the first time.

On the other hand, with the use of a quality CRM system, all the information about that customer’s previous calls should come up as soon as the software detects the phone number in question. That customer service representative will know when the customer called in previously and will be able to read over the last service representative’s notes about the previous interaction. This allows for much more informed service that can create much greater customer satisfaction.

Marketing Tailored to a Single Customer

The information collected via a knowledge management system can also be used to effectively sell new products to existing customers. When a customer calls in, the service representative will be able to see what products that person purchased previously. The service rep could then make a suggestive selling attempt by offering related products. This of course isn’t limited to phone calls. Email can be used to inform customers of products based on their previous purchases. This information can even be accessed by salespeople on the sales floor of a brick and mortar store.

Customer service is absolutely integral to the long term survival of a business. You should certainly use technology when you can to improve customer service and the overall customer experience. One way to accomplish this is by deploying a knowledge management system in your business that can allow you to use data regarding customer interactions to greatly improve the service provided.