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Customer Service: Out With The Old…And In With The New

By on Jan 21, 2012 3 Comments

Customers dream about personalized, contextual, proactive customer service experiences – where the experience delivered is tailored to their persona, their past purchase history, and their past customer service history. They want each interaction to add value and build upon prior ones so that they don’t have to repeat themselves and re-start the discovery process. They want to be able to choose the communication channel and device they use to interact with a service center. They want to start an interaction on one channel or device and move it seamlessly to another. Check out RightNow’s vision video that brings these points to life.

Most customer service organizations are still struggling with the basics – the hygiene factors in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – in meeting their customers’ expectations. There are benchmarking tools that you can use to figure out how well your organization is doing and to get actionable recommendations on how to do better. But, as you focus on the tactical improvements that you need to make this year, it’s important to keep tabs on the optimal experience that customers would like you to deliver to help share your long-term, future direction for customer service. Here’s my abbreviated personal list:

Out With The Old….

…And In With The New

Commentary

Siloed customer service experience

Cross-touchpoint experiences: Blended sales, marketing and service experiences

Customers want to seamlessly move through all types of interactions with a company and receive the same engagement experience

Social CRM

CRM

Social channels are just another way that customers have to interact with companies. SLAs and customer experiences across social channels should be in-line with what is delivered across traditional channels

Multichannel communication

Agile communication

Customers do not want to be restricted to having conversations about an issue solely on a single communication channel

Single-mode communication

Multimodal communication

Customers want to be able to simultaneously engage with a service agent using more than a single channel – for example speaking to an agent on a mobile device while reading a service alert on the same device that the agent has just sent the customer

Curated knowledge

Social knowledge

Customers and agents need to be able to create and modify knowledge to ensure that it evolves in-line with customer demands

Basic customer profiles

Social profiles

Agents need a full view of the customer’s profile over traditional and social channels in order to effectively tailor the delivered service experience

Basic rules-driven offers

Real-time personalization via predictive analytics

Experiences must be custom-tailored in real time. Predictive analytics coupled with techniques to manage big data allow for this to happen

Customer service without BPM (or overly reliant on BPM)

Dynamic case management

Service experiences must be standardized with the help of BPM technologies, but must be agile enough to handle exceptions

On-premise deployments

Cloud deployments. Better yet, agile deployments that can be easily migrated between on-premise and in the cloud

Why should you be responsible for the maintenance of vendor software?

Average speed of answer metrics

First closure resolution metrics

Customer satisfaction is more important than getting the customer off the phone quickly

Disengaged agents

Engaged and Empowered agents

Agents must be empowered to do the right thing for the customer within the process guardrails without being penalized

Heavily structured, tiered support models

Swarming models

Swarming brings the right skillsets together to resolve quickly customer issues

Customer service organization as a cost-center

Customer service as a strategic differentiator for a company, and a revenue center

Good customer service is good for business. It increases cross-sells, upsells, recommendations and brand loyalty

Thoughts? Comments?

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

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Categories: ! BlogCustomer AnalyticsCustomer ExperienceEnterprise TechnologyService and Support
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3 Responses to Customer Service: Out With The Old…And In With The New

  1. Robert Bacal January 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    Actually, I think that what you’ve written is where you, and perhaps a lot of the major companies messing in the customer service space WANT it to go, because there’s “gold in them there hills”. Whether it IS going there is debatable, despite efforts to push, cajol and cram this stuff into corporate America.

    I have to be really hesitant about situations which include “references” that can only be read if one pays a hunk of money to read the reports.

    It cheapens the message, me thinks, but I’ve written elsewhere on CustomerThink about the really bad research published by companies that have a vested interest in the research findings coming out a certain way.

  2. Emma.G January 24, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    Great tips there. These tools should come in handy quite nicely for a lot of customer service professionals. There is a lot that should be done for the customer that isn’t but hopefully that will change.

     

    Sometimes people want their customer service to be perfect and demand
    promises to communities but with most of it going to India it is hard to get even good customer service, let alone perfect.

  3. MarkM March 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    I need to agree with the author. Yes, customer service is still struggling on how to increase their service level. In terms of the tools they are using and the bench-marking qualities to measure how well they are doing. The author also included some of her thoughts about providing better customer service. Nice post.

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