March 26th, 2012 by Forrester Research

The following post is written by Kate Leggett, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.

Eighty-six percent of customer service decision-makers say that a good customer experience is one of their top strategic priorities. Sixty-three percent say that they want their customer experience to be the best in their industry. Yet few companies deliver a good customer experience.

In our recent survey, just over one-third of the 160 large North American brands questioned were found to provide a positive customer experience—a number that hasn’t significantly moved for the last five years.

We know that a bad service experience has quantifiable negative impacts, as measured by monitoring the wallet share of each customer over their engagement lifetime with a brand. But when is a service experience good enough? A recent Harvard Business Review blog says that “delighting your customers is a waste of time and energy, and exceeding customer expectations has a negligible impact on customer loyalty. Customers just want a simple, quick solution to their problem.”

What customers also want is a consistent, reproducible experience over all touch points.

What this means is that a customer wants to receive the same data, the same information, over any voice, electronic, or social communication channel used. Customer service agents supporting customers across these channels should follow the same business processes. And channels should be linked—either from a technology or business process perspective—so that customers can start a conversation on one channel and move it to the next without having to restart the conversation.
Customer service organizations should audit their systems to understand the major pain points that customers face in trying to get quick and consistent answers to their questions. For example, are your IVR menus too complex, with high abandon rates resulting in multiple transfers prior to the customer being connected to the right agent? Are call wait times too long, so that every conversation with an agent starts off with customers expressing their frustration, unnecessarily increasing handle times and decreasing overall satisfaction? Are email SLAs not well advertised, making customers not trust the channel, causing them to recontact you multiple times with the same question?
Once these pain points are addressed, companies often look to squeeze out further efficiencies that are costly to organizations and not always worth the effort. For example, are customers necessarily unhappier at having to wait 30 seconds compared to 10 seconds to get connected to the right agent, as long as their question is addressed during the first contact?

Identifying the points at which customer service is good enough is as critical as addressing the major roadblocks in your systems.

 

There are some great points here – customers want consistent answers to their queries, delivered quickly whatever channel they are asking on. A central knowledgebase that underpins all channels is a good way to achieve this, using technology to underpin the customer service team.

Comment by Eptica Blog — March 30, 2012 @ 7:11 am

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