December 5, 2011
We live in a world of increasing complexity: an increasing number of communication channels, an explosion of social data, the intertwining of sales, marketing, and customer service activities, and a growing amount of information and data that customer service agents need to answer customer questions. These issues complicate the challenge of being able to provide customers the service that is in line with their expectations — service that keeps customers loyal to your brand yet that can be delivered at a cost that makes sense for your business.
Being able to deliver the right customer service involves:
- Mastering your customer service strategy: Knowing your customers and understanding how they want to interact with you and using this information in your strategy to align customer service with your company brand.
- Choosing the right customer service technology: Integrating communication channels so that agents have a full view of past customer interactions and can use this information to personalize service interactions; mapping communication channels to customer issues so that customers can find answers to their questions in the most cost-effective, yet value-added way; tying service applications together to give customer service agents easy access to the systems that they need to use to answer customer requests; and empowering them with the right knowledge.
- Focusing on consistent business processes: Supporting customers with consistent information and processes during a a customer interaction with you (whether it’s for sales, marketing, or customer service activities), optimizing the customer experience during their service interaction, and ensuring that customers are supported during interactions over social channels.
- Becoming a customer-centric organization.
No single person is responsible for a customer’s experience; it’s a complex set of relationships among employees, partners, and customers that determines the quality of all interactions. A customer-centric culture needs to be set from the top of the organization; customer-centric actions need to be pervasive in your company and infuse every customer contact and every decision. You need to communicate these values to your agents, reinforce them with the right management actions — for example, choosing the right metrics to measure your agents’ performance — and reward the agents that embody these principles.
It’s this convergence of strategy, technology, process, and people that will allow you to evolve your customer service to the next level.