How Bluewolf helps businesses become 'customer-obsessed'

Call centers are important hubs of marketing and customer insights. That's why this Salesforce integrator considers them increasingly central to CRM strategy.

Bluewolf may be one of the most influential partners around, but these days its mission is far broader: helping its client base deliver on the need to become more "customer-obsesssed."

So, while customer relationship management (CRM) projects are still core to its business, increasingly, Bluewolf's mantra and services team centers on how to enabled and optimize "customer engagement" at every touch point of the relationship – starting with marketing outreach and reaching deeper into the customer contact center.

That's why, if you peek at its partnership portfolio, you'll see that it teams with cloud service providers with expertise in an intriguing array of processes from contact center company Five9 to marketing automation player Marketo. "Every business is somewhere along the way toward becoming more customer-obsessed," said Corinne Sklar, chief marketing officer of Bluewolf. 

Sklar defines customer engagement as the ability for a business to know what one of its customers or prospects wants before they do. "You have to intimately know what they are doing, be more prescriptive, not predictive, about how they want to be communicated with, and you have to make the experience frictionless," she said.

Increasingly, Bluewolf is called in to help rationalize company call center or contact centers as the first step toward providing a 360-degree view of customer relationships, she noted. The best way to ensure that this sort of consolidation or overhaul works is to put someone in your customer's shoes and rate the experience.

Automation is part of the answer, of course, but don't forget personalization and how to handle exceptions.

An example from my own life: Yesterday, one of the hardware companies that my contractor husband uses for intricate custom wood moldings cancelled a backordered item, and sent an alert via email – much to our frustration (we had to sort through order number to figure out which item it was, because there were multiple orders in progress). Literally eight hours later, we received a second email: asking us to rate and review a different recent purchase. The timing wasn't exactly ideal for inspiring a positive rating, as you can imagine.

That's the sort of annoying hiccup that needs attention during call center discussions and communications. "It's not just about putting in these technologies, it's about revisiting the metrics that are important for your company to meet. About identifying the individual moments that matter," Sklar said. 

One of the biggest challenges accompanying a call center overhaul will be helping the representatives understand which new metrics matter – it'll be a big change management project. When it comes to models to emulate, I love pointing to the process at online men's clothing retailer Bonobos, which gives its customer support ninjas great metrics and then gets out of the way and lets them improvise to provide the best experience.

Aside from Five9, the other call center platforms that Bluewolf implements are LiveOps, which offers cloud-hosted contact center applications, and NewVoiceMedia, which focuses on multichannel communications and personalization. But the key thing to remember is that all of these technologies, along with the others that Bluewolf specializes in, all integrate with, so that the potential future applications extend far beyond customer service.