National Customer Service Week '18 - Day Two - AGILITY
Customer Service Agility
As we all know, there are numerous inputs required to deliver consistently strong customer service.
Arguably the most challenging input to master for any company, is the ability to be agile when pre-empting or reacting to changes in customer behaviours and expectations.
‘CSN supporting the Institute of Customer Service in raising
awareness of the importance of delivering consistent,
quality customer service, to remain competitive’
One of the main reasons for that, is that ‘changes’ come in many different forms. They can often be gradual (for example, customer expectations evolving over time, around the acceptable time to resolve a complaint), through to instant changes (for example, a sudden and unexpected hike in the volume of incoming customer calls, starting to negatively impact ‘wait’ times).
The stakes are high when it comes to a company successfully (or otherwise) demonstrating agility in delivering customer service.
The most agile will be seen to provide a seamlessly, excellent service. The least agile will clearly be perceived as patchy and even poor/sub-standard at customer service delivery, to the more discerning customers.
In addition to generating, analysing and acting upon Customer Feedback, the way an 'agile' organisation can not only 'future-proof' its Customer Service delivery but also react nimbly to the regular enhancements needed as customer behaviours start to evolve, is by undergoing thorough Customer Journey Mapping.
Customer Journey Mapping allows the organisation to gain a complete, visual representation of every potential customer touchpoint, as well as overlaying customer feedback from each one.
When combined, patterns emerge and gaps between the service the customer gets and actually wants, become clear, allowing for dynamic enhancements to be confidently undertaken, quickly. Which is the very definition of|: Agility.
To find out more about our Customer Journey
Mapping solutions click HERE
Is agility in customer service delivery all about speed?
It’s certainly an important factor: Forrester identified that '77% of people say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do’ to provide them with good service'.
But ever-increasing expectations amongst customers can often mean that being agile around speed of delivery alone, may not be enough.
The clues for each company as to which areas of their customer service strategy need to be most agile, lie in the expectations of their own customers and finding out directly from them, what they see as most important.
Speed of resolution (whether that be for information, advice, complaint, purchase etc) will almost always be relevant but below we identify 3 other key areas of customer service delivery, around which planning/investment/changes may be required, in order to deliver the agility required to adapt to current customer expectations and remain competitive at all times:
1) Consistency around knowledge and communication
Regardless of the multiple channels (telephone, email, social, website etc) through which customers (even the same customer) are able to communicate, complain or request information, customers largely now expect that the company they are dealing with, has immediate access to all previous communications.
The same expectations are in play for most customers when it comes to communication between different internal departments or teams. This issue is often highlighted most acutely, when a customer is passed onto a separate internal department, only to have to go through the issue all over again.
Agile technology lies at the heart of the solution. Streamlining and simplifying the data collation and availability to the relevant team, regardless of how or when it was gathered, is crucial.
Agile technology also lies at the heart of one of the most important areas of differentiating the ‘best from the rest’when it comes to customer service delivery nowadays. Personalisation.
After all, currently in the UK, 70% of 18-24 year olds state that ‘brands which fail to personalise their communication, will lose them as customers’.
2) No reduction in service expected due to peaks in volumes of enquiries
For some companies, the tolerance from customers to wait to be dealt with due to the organisation receiving a peak in incoming enquiries is dropping fast. Customers don’t care howbut they simply expectcertain (by no means all however) companies to have plans in place to deal with it.
Utility companies are often highlighted as the worst at managing these issues, with customers forced to wait a long time to speak with somebody within the customer service department. As one would expect, the utility sector is one of the highest for constant customer churn too.
Typical the agility required to deal with such situations, will have to involve third party partners to deal with the over-flow, in a seamless manner.
3) Developments by competitors
Sometimes the expectations from customers can be heightened quickly, through the positive improvements/enhancements delivered by a competitor - as an example of this, recently VW invested in technology whereby upon completion of a car service, the owner is not only contacted and informed the car is ready, with the usual list of issues highlighted (if any).
In addition, unlike the majority of other manufacturers, VW have started to attach a short video of the lead technician walking around and underneath the car, commenting as they go along, to help highlight points of interest for the owner to be aware of for the future, whilst also (tactfully) highlighting pristine, gleaming paint and bodywork to the pleasure of the viewer.
Over time, it is likely this type of simplified and personalised approach to explaining faults, issues etc will become expected by customers, regardless of manufacturer.
Those companies remaining blissfully unaware of that, will eventually be perceived to be offering inferior customer service delivery to those that have adapted.
CSN has been successfully supporting organisations to deliver Customer Service Excellence for over 20 years, working with SMEs, through to large
multi-nationals such as; Johnson & Johnson, McCain's Foods, Royal Caribbean, Gatwick Airport etc.
We take great pride in gathering insight from our own customers and maintaining the consistently high levels of positive feedback from our own customers.
For more information on the solutions that we provide for companies like yours, including numerous customer testimonials to reassure you that we really are the UK’s leading support organisation for companies aiming to deliver Customer Service Excellence, head to www.customernet.com now and we’ll be delighted to discuss any help you may need.