The heart of any business is its ability to deliver a product to its customers. But for a truly successful organization the customer relationship isn’t terminated the moment a sale is made or even after a few service calls. Providing superior customer service extends to supporting customers during their entire usage lifecycle of the product, recommending new or related products and services, as well as enabling referrals. Businesses that prioritize the customer experience have a clear competitive advantage over other companies.
According to a Forrester analysis, for example, leaders in customer service experienced a 78 percent increase in stock performance over a seven-year period, compared to 52 percent overall for the S&P 500. Businesses that are characterized as laggards in customer service, however, show a negative grown rate of 3 percent over the same period. Clearly, customer service has a measurable impact on the business.
The Challenges in Delivering a Connected Customer Experience
As one of the world’s largest enterprise resource planning (ERP) providers, Epicor Software Corporation relies on its customer support to maintain its relationship with more than 20,000 customers globally. As the company has grown and acquired new technologies and products, its customer service systems have also grown in number. At its peak Epicor was relying on 15 different CRM systems, as well as 50 customer support portals to meet its needs in 150 countries and 21 languages. The resulting experience was often disjointed, inefficient, and far from cost-effective.
Because 50 percent of Epicor’s revenue comes from customer renewals, improving customer satisfaction was paramount. To meet this key goal Epicor embraced a customer-centic view. This meant centralizing their customer service with a single customer service management solution. The new system would have to provide:
• Effortless engagement – One of the consistent items of feedback received by support agents was the desire for users to accomplish basic requests on their own, such as adding or removing a user, in a self-service portal. Additionally, support agents were bogged down with recurring, low level customer requests.
• Consistent experiences with clear outcomes —With so many disconnected support systems in place, customers had to go through multiple support processes to get help on the different products they owned. The goal was to implement a single system that could support all 75 plus products provided by Epicor.
• Opportunities for customer growth —Another consequence of multiple systems was the lack of an overall picture of customer –their products, services, SLAs, contracts, entitlements, etc. Epicor wanted a system that could quickly deliver complete information to facilitate visibility, opportunities for cross-selling and upselling, as well as rapid decision making.
The Results of a Connected Customer Service System
Epicor invested in a modern customer service management system to meet these needs and ultimately, saved revenue, with streamlined customer service processes. Forrester recently conducted a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study showing the results of the transition to the new system. Following are some of the benefits of the modern customer service system.
• Net Promoter Score (NPS) increase of 10 percentage points: Making this possible is the availability of new self-service
options to reduce time spent on routine issues. Questions requiring a customer service agent are now routed through an automated workflow to get customers to the right person quickly.
• 10% faster issue resolution: Because of the improved access to information, automation, and the ability to connect customer service to the rest of the organization to diagnose and resolve issues, agent productivity and satisfaction increased resulting in greater customer satisfaction.
• 104% ROI and $11.4M in benefits: The modern customer service management system also had a substantial financial impact for Epicor. Forrester analyzed the benefits of a 1% increase in customer retention, as well as the 3% revenue growth associated with easier upselling opportunities revealed by better access to customer information.
In addition to the specific measurables, customers have also expressed favorable reviews of the new customer portal, as well as the ability to create cases that can quickly be sent to agents without a complex reporting process. The payback time for the new system is expected to be just 15 months.
As enterprises seek low-hanging fruit that can cut costs and deliver a competitive advantage, it’s important to evaluate current customer service practices. By implementing a modern customer service system for all service needs they can streamline customer touch points with the company for an improved experience that can lead directly to a better bottom line. Happy customers are willing to spend more money, and that can have more impact than acquiring new customers or launching new products.