Businesses often need help managing customer relations. For example, a company might want to learn how to better satisfy its current customers and to attract new customers. A customer relationship management consultant helps businesses accomplish these tasks by offering customized recommendations and assisting with the implementation and monitoring of customer service solutions.
The primary responsibilities of a customer relationship management consultant depend on the business' needs. For example, an organization might hire a consultant to help set up a new call center for handling customer support, or a business might need help training staff to handle customers with a friendly and helpful attitude. Some companies hire consultants to offer advice about which software and hardware solutions will work best to accomplish basic customer service tasks, such as implementing surveys, processing returns and generating sales leads. Whatever the need, a consultant must be able to provide expert insight and specific recommendations.
Improving customer relationships is rarely a short and simple process. Rather, consultants often help companies overhaul many aspects of how they do business, which might require studying and analyzing the business for some time. For instance, a company with bad customer relations might need a host of improvements, such as increasing product quality, improving support staff and training its sales team. To help the company, a consultant would have to study each department's current methods and then offer customized suggestions for how to implement change.
Customer relationship management consultants must have an in-depth understanding of all aspects of customer service that are relevant to the industries they assist. For example, increasing the effectiveness of customer support might require a thorough understanding of the technological components involved, as well as the basics of how to fulfill customers’ expectations and offer high-quality service. Also, verbal skills are important for conveying training messages and dealing with staff on all levels of the organization's hierarchy. Writing skills are important for compiling reports, presentations and proposals. General people skills help a consultant train staff effectively and help workers handle large-scale, fundamental changes to the business’ operations.
Like most types of consultants, customer relationship management consultants often develop their skills and gain experience by working in the industry for a long time. For example, a consultant might work for years managing customer support at a large company and then later use the skills and knowledge she gained to start a consulting business. Specialized training in human resources, customer service management and industry-specific areas might also help consultants improve their career prospects.