How to transition customer service from good to great


A new executive survey reveals where companies stand now
When you get customer service right, the dividends can be fantastic. Regularly cited benefits include increased customer satisfaction, repeat customers, increased sales and profit margins.

But anyone who has been involved in the underlying service operations or front-end customer engagement knows that achieving great customer service to maximize its benefits is no easy task.

To learn what it takes, ServiceNow worked with Corinium Global Intelligence to interview 100 C-level executives who oversee customer service strategies to understand what they are doing and seeing in the marketplace.  This blog shares some of the key insights, with the full, detailed report found here.

The personal payoff of great customer service
For those executives leading the charge, being able to deliver a superior, end-to-end customer experience can lead to significant personal payoffs. When C-level executives were asked what the impact of achieving good customer service would mean for them:

  • 55% said they would be “seen as a strategic business leader within [their] company”
  • 50% indicated they would “have more opportunities for leading impactful initiatives within [their] company”

This is because great customer service is foundational to business success. It only makes sense that the executives responsible for establishing effective customer service strategies are rewarded for their accomplishments.

Service operations hold the key
You might be surprised to learn that most businesses only consider external engagement processes when they map their customer’s journey. Internal service operations, which include triaging, problem solving, service delivery, and the proactive prevention of issues are not as rigorously tracked or documented.

Only 28% of respondents said they had “full documentation of the internal service processes” they use to deliver an end-to-end experience. This can lead to issues getting stalled, detoured, and potentially never resolved which can have a huge impact on the customer experience. Capturing each and every component of a customer’s experience and mapping it to their journey can help organizations identify gaps and opportunities to intervene to ensure service can not only meet, but exceed, expectations.

The first step
Want to know where most organizations can start improving? The short answer is with customer self-service. Empowering customers to quickly and efficiently address their needs and concerns–on their own timetable, not yours, is often the most visible and impactful way to enhance the customer experience. Plus, it has the added benefit of improving the productivity of your customer service agents, freeing up time for them to focus on more challenging service assignments.

Despite being an effective way to offer customers a better experience, most organizations admit they need to improve their offerings:

  • 59% said they had “some room for improvement”
  • 24% of respondents said they offered self-service options, but still had “a significant amount of work to do”
  • Only 13% were satisfied that their self-service capabilities were “fully optimized.”

(Check out the report to get the details on what self-service features customers have indicated are most and least helpful.)  

Other considerations for delivering great customer service
Another way organizations can improve service delivery is to solve the root cause of customer issues—61% of respondents believed that they could eliminate between 21% and 40% of their recurring cases if they were able to solve the root cause of customer issues. Solving those requires making the right connections between teams and technologies. This ensures expertise and knowledge is captured and codified, making it possible to automate processes and deliver proactive customer service.

When done right, organizations can garner obvious, tangible results that can make a big difference for their business. Survey respondents acknowledged that if they were able to connect their customer experience end-to-end and eliminate service gaps, it could improve their customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores – with many believing it could result in improvements of 11-20% (39%), 21-30% (38%) and 31-40% (17%). 

All the insights
These are just a few of the valuable insights available in the survey. To see what organizations are doing to proactively mitigate customer service issues and close these gaps, get the full report

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