The call for urgent action in Customer Services

According to a recent PEGA study, employees facing customers are often frustrated with the level of service they can provide to customers. They denounce inadequate technology and processes that limit their effectiveness.

The survey shows that 81% of respondents mentioned fast resolution among the four most important factors for quality of customer service. Speed is however not the only consideration. 72% also cited the ability to anticipate client problems and suggest the next best available option and, for 67%, having the lowest average processing time were also among the top four factors.

Having an efficient Customer Service function is obviously not a new phenomenon

I would argue that it has always been a principal focus of any commercial enterprise. In the last 20 years, companies have spent billions building out script trees, self-service portals, and outsourced call centers. Today they are experimenting new tools like conversational AI or voice UI to help further. 

In recent years, it has got extra attention in business and is increasingly on the agenda at CxO level. CxOs have understood that Customer Services are a critical component of the overall customer experience. An efficient customer service drives customer loyalty. 

I would comment that it is somewhat ambiguous as for some years now, a strong emphasis has also been put on cost reduction. Hence the increasing search for automation. However most executives agree an efficient customer service organisation is today a minimum requirement in the competitive marketplace in order to not only run at the same pace as its customers but also outpace the competition. 

To put these data in perspective, I see the main challenges for the existing Customer Services units as twofold.

First, existing customer services departments are often still reflecting the way organisations are structured: often siloed, inconsistent multi-channel experience, no participation of customers in the innovation process, etc.

Second, important functional components are still quite often missing: no real 360-degree view of the customer, a multitude of systems capturing bits and pieces of customer information, lack of best practice transfer, and the like.

One thing is certain, the success of these interactions with customers depends greatly on a wide range of functions cross-channel available in the contact center to serve customers. In fact, those functions are today often available, but often only present in single channels.

Taking advantage of the new digital innovations

I expect enterprises to take full advantage of new digital technologies (AI, advanced analytics, etc.) and practices, whether to support customer services or other operations. It will require for organisations to move from experimentation to operations, with an increasing amount of integration with their internal systems and across customer interaction touch points. 

It is clear that the most successful organisations have expanded the traditional focus of customer service operations to encompass a complete customer experience management. They are innovative and experimental, and deliver an end-to-end experience that reflects a holistic, multidimensional view of the customer rather than internal systems and organisational complexity.

Any comment or questions?

About the Author

Didier Dessens

Business & Technology Advisory, CRM and Digital Transformation

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