I often get asked ‘what does world-class service mean?’
To answer the question, I tell people that I think it is helpful to break the question down into two parts.
First, I say it’s useful to consider the idea of being ‘world class’ and what that means in the context of the rapidly changing product, service, technology and customer behaviour landscape we live in. Reflecting on that, I believe that ‘world-class’ is not, and cannot be, a destination. It is more of a mindset and a journey than it is anything else. As Buddy Guy, the legendary American blues guitarist and singer, once said:
“Don’t be the best in town. Just try to be the best until the best comes around.”
Secondly, if we think about ‘service’ and what that means a large part of what constitutes great service is how information flows between companies, their information assets (websites, apps, brochures, knowledge bases, manuals etc etc), their people and their customers.
As a result, to embark on the journey to becoming ‘world-class’, one of the most important elements we have to consider is how can we improve the speed, accuracy and efficiency of these information flows between ourselves and our customers.
A recent study by Eptica (Eptica’s 2018 Knowledge Management Study) sheds some light on the current state of these flows. Broadly, the study found that whilst consumers have rising expectations when it comes to getting information and answers from brands, that many brands are struggling to keep up and meet their needs.
More specifically the study found that:
- Whilst customers have always wanted fast and accurate responses to their questions, 65% of customers report that they are now seeking answers to more detailed questions, compared to 5 years ago.
- Customers are becoming increasingly impatient with 91% of customers reporting that they become frustrated if they are not able to find the answers they are looking for online quickly.
- The reward for providing speedy and accurate service is clear with 94% of customers reporting that a high quality response to their query will make them more loyal to the brand.
- However, companies are not delivering with 75% of customers reporting incidents where agents haven’t had the right or sufficient information to be able to answer their question in one interaction and another 70% saying that they have experienced inconsistent answers between different channels.
What the Eptica study also shows is that the achievement of ‘world class service’ is a two-sided coin. Organisations need to realise that they need to not only improve their accuracy, consistency and response rates across all channels but they also need to work hard to help customers help themselves because to not do so will only result in the creation of ‘failure demand’.
The challenge is that there is never just one solution to this problem.
That is where conferences like Customer Contact Week (CCW) in Las Vegas (18-22 June) play an important part in helping service leaders learn, uncover and articulate solutions and approaches to their own particular set of circumstances.
Now, whilst I am due to be in the US in the early part of June, I wish I was staying on to learn from the huge variety of organisations that are presenting, exhibiting and attending and how they are pursuing their own ‘world class service’ and what speed and efficiency means for them and their customers.
Unfortunately, though, I won’t be there but I will be watching and learning from the sidelines.
Thanks to Pixabay for the image.