It’s not uncommon to hear data, information and knowledge used in the same context, and even as substitutes for one another. There is a difference between these three though. Sorting out the differences comes up so often that there’s even a model for it – the DIKW pyramid.
Data – that is numbers, facts or other symbols - is essentially useless until it’s given context. With context, data is shaped to become information. Taking stats and using them to create a graph is one example of taking data and turning it into information.
However, it’s the next leap, from information to knowledge, where value is created for your business. With knowledge, something is being done with the information, like influencing key performance indicators (KPIs) or restructuring teams to improve processes. Using Salesforce to keep track of customer data and interactions is the first step in creating knowledge, but there are other tactics you can add on to help bridge the gap.
Bring voice into the CRM
When a team spends much of their time on the phone, getting from information to knowledge can seem like an even greater challenge, thanks to differences in how employees enter their call notes and results – if they enter them at all.
If this is the case, a good way to improve reporting capabilities is to implement a computer telephony integration (CTI) solution, which brings voice and Salesforce together in a single pane of glass for each rep. Thanks to this integration, call logs are automated and call data can be easily accessed and reported on within Salesforce. Building a more complete set of data from the get-go sets management up for success in their quest for knowledge.
Build reports and dashboards
Once the data is in place, take advantage of reporting capabilities directly in Salesforce. With the number of report templates readily available, it’s easy to take whatever data exists and organize it in a way that makes sense for your business.
The next step up from creating single reports is creating a dashboard, which gives users and management the capability to easily visualize the information and spot trends. Once these are in place, there’s no reason to stop there. Making improvements to data collection will have a positive effect on the impact of the reporting.
Any company with more than one employee knows that people tend to have their own way of thinking and doing things. This is, of course, a good thing – and probably part of why they were hired – but it can also make it hard to get a complete picture. Creating templates for employees standardizes how fields can be filled out and improves tracking, with the added bonus of fewer steps for employees.
With a CTI solution, an easy way to consistently and accurately capture call data is by creating call log templates, which can be used with the click of a button to make sure no information is lost. Start by thinking about your business and what kinds of calls are most common. Do customers often call in asking for a replacement part? Create a template that reads “Request for part #”. Then, a report can quickly be created on notes that include that term.
The great thing about reporting is there’s no limit to how detailed it can be, so long as the data is there. Most organizations recognize, for example, that there’s a tradeoff between the number of calls placed and the quality of the call. Comparing numbers from top performers and underperformers on a team can allow organizations to see where that tradeoff is, and when employees might benefit from more coaching.
As an example, one of our Fortune 500 customers in the financial industry used call tracking with great success to show in one report if an outbound call was answered, if it was answered by the right person, and what follow-ups were required. They were then able to use these results to make informed decisions about the direction of their business.
Now that great reports and dashboards are built, doing something with that information is the final step. If the best customer service agents have calls that are 3 times longer than the target time, it’s likely that target needs revising. If customers are constantly calling 4 weeks into their service, consider implementing check-ins at the 4-week mark.
United Wholesale Mortgage is another example of a business seeing gains from using CTI. They created call wrap-up codes to track and categorize calls, and found they got 600 calls a month for a specific term in their mortgage agreements. They updated that term, and now only get 20 calls a month about it – a 97% decrease. Without this knowledge, their teams would be spending time on that one issue instead of being able to focus in on more complex questions and concerns.
Call reporting is an ongoing and incremental process, but you may be amazed at the impact small changes can make. Good luck in your journey building knowledge with Salesforce!
Katherine Burnett is a Marketing Specialist focused on content writing, social media strategy, email automation and event management at InGenius Software, a computer telephony integration (CTI) innovator.
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