New ways to think about efficient customer service


How efficient is your customer service? Conventional wisdom says that reducing the time required to solve customer problems and increasing the number of customers served each day would indicate a rather efficient operation.

Even so, you may be missing a huge opportunity to give your organization a competitive advantage.

A recent report by Aberdeen suggests that the most savvy organizations are changing the focus of their customer service strategies to emphasize efficiency moves that benefit the customer and directly impact the bottom line.

It’s all about convenience
Standing out in the marketplace – and reaping significant return on investment – requires making service interactions more efficient and convenient for customers across all channels. According to Aberdeen, firms that deliver effortless service experiences see as much as a four-fold annual increase in customer retention rates.  

But what exactly is convenience? The definition is subjective and depends on a customer’s expectations. While challenging to measure, what influences convenience can be measured by tracking the effort required to achieve a happy customer.  

Measuring customer efforts to get service
Companies typically measure customer effort by:

  • Monitoring direct customer feedback
  • Gathering customer behavioral data such as a decrease in product or service usage
  • Harvesting operational data such as average wait time or handle time

The goal, of course, is to reduce the amount of friction the customer encounters. Naturally, customers’ opinions of the service they receive tend to rise and fall with the amount of effort they had to expend to get their needs met.

An example of what Aberdeen calls a “high effort”—i.e., inconvenient—customer service interaction is a website chatbot that is unable to resolve a customer issue, forcing the customer to call customer service and speak with a human.   

Making customer service convenient doesn’t happen by chance
Aberdeen’s research shows companies that implement formal processes to reduce customer effort across all channels achieve significantly greater increases in annual customer satisfaction rates compared to organizations that don’t.

And we all know what happy customers do: stay loyal. It’s never too late to start these customer-effort programs; Aberdeen also found that improving customer effort increases the chances that companies can win back customers who’ve left.

Empowered customer service reps help customers to get service more easily
Don’t underestimate the power that fully enabled customer service reps have on customer loyalty. Aberdeen found companies that create formal programs, empower their employees to work efficiently, and give them the information they need to solve customer problems reported a 13% decrease in annual customer-service costs.

How to start enabling effortless customer service
To create an effortless customer service program, first establish a unified view of customer insights across all channels and empower your employees with the tools and data they need to mine customer insights.

Learn more about tools and solutions that can help you enable effortless customer service. In this on-demand webinar, you’ll learn how: convenience can drive customer service.

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