The ability to provide customer service excellence is achieved by a harmonious dance between the people, processes and technologies supporting every modern business. These core building blocks make up the foundation of all world-class customer service organizations. Does this sound like your kind of customer service? Remember, customer service experience is the customer’s perspective, in response to your efforts. Your objective is to meet expectations, dare I say exceed, shooting for wow! correct? You are almost there; the machine is well oiled and firing on all cylinders – then the music changes (mixing metaphors, of course).
The funny thing about customers is that the expectations are never static; they are in a constant state of change. For one, when you exceed expectations, you just reset the bar. What is required to support this objective is dynamic ecosystem of technologies and with cultural changes allowing you to adapt to the changing needs of your customers. In order for the people – your customer support team; to meet these demands, a set of foundational technologies is not only required, but it is essential.
While things do change, not everything has the same rate of change. Many of the components such as Transactional systems, data warehouse, process governance, supply chain management need to be comfortably set in place, and simply do not change with high frequency. At the other end of the spectrum are social and mobile applications, with new ones cropping up almost daily; applications your customers (and agents) want and ‘have to have’. How can you bridge the gap? What kind of system sits in between and will allow you to differentiate your business from everyone else? You need to adapt and not have your team step on each other’s toes.
If we are to believe the American Express survey numbers, where “70% of Americans are willing to spend an average of 13% more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service – up from 9% last year”, then I would suggest that a customer centric approach to your customer service technology framework is critical to success. As an aside, this statistic bothers me, as it suggests a high tolerance (and willingness to pay) for lousy products, but that is a topic for another day. Customer champions (advocates) need to work tirelessly to resolve conflicts and cross-departmental silos and battles, which will certainly occur. Additionally, please make sure to include (as opposed to exclude) your valuable information technology folks as your success will depend upon their support.
We (Julie Hunt and myself) explored these points, looking at them from many different perspectives – having fun along the way. The detailed thoughts are shared in a White Paper titled “The Total Customer Service Experience”. If you would like to receive the full version of the white paper, please just let us know. No registration forms, just send us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org, and we would be happy to forward along a copy.