An exceptional customer experience should always be seen as real potential value differentiator in the modern marketplace. While this involves optimising many processes throughout the customer lifecycle, one thing’s for certain – without achieving customer service excellence, the experience is sure to suffer.
The importance of good customer service cannot be overstated. With regard to the customer journey, it reduces the number of pain points customers could face, helps to lower churn, drives loyalty and has a direct impact on the bottom line. The benefits, however, go beyond this, as well-designed systems allow sales agents to concentrate on more complicated cases, boosting employee morale and optimising internal processes.
Of course, achieving customer service excellence is easier said than done. Below we talk about four common barriers to achieving customer service excellence, and ways to overcome them.
1. An overly complex customer experience
It’s no surprise customer service is one of the main factors in the overall experience as it presents the potential for a large number of pain points. With omnichannel strategies now considered a customer service prerequisite, the experience moving between channels needs to be as seamless as possible.
This is as true for the technological aspects as it is for the agents. To provide a simple, frictionless service, the sales agents must be properly trained on how to meet the customers’ needs. Failure to do this will undoubtedly lead to increased levels of frustration, which results in churn, negative reviews, and loss of leads.
2. Difficulty unifying different sources of customer data
Complexity breeds complexity, and simplicity breeds simplicity. If you want to simplify your customer service experience, it’s imperative that different sources of customer data are unified. It’s best to choose software suites like Zendesk that bring together all customer-service-channels and analytical features in one, easy-to-use solution.
If data is spread across systems, individual customer journeys can be treated as multiple, customers may have to repeat their query, or information could be lost. The fact is, every customer interaction needs to be seamless and frictionless across channels, which means that their data needs to be unified and travel as they do.
3. Misplaced resources
It almost goes without saying that without adequate resources, your customer service is bound to suffer. What’s less obvious, is the correct resources a company needs, and how they are distributed.
A lack of resources is as much about inefficient technology as it is about human resources. Sales agents are uniquely capable of solving the most complicated cases, and they need the technological and systemic resources to be able to achieve this. With the correct software platforms, sales-agent time can be better spent, making full use of resources.
4. Insufficient budgeting
The bar has been raised in providing quality customer service that gets results. This inevitably means that investment has to be made to avoid regression, never mind truly achieving excellence. Your budget should take into account every aspect of the resources you have at your disposal, including everything from staff’s skills and behaviours to the very quality of the product you’re selling.
Overcoming barriers and driving customer service excellence
Solution approach: Overhaul your company’s current systems
If you aren’t achieving your customer service aims, it’s very likely your existing CRM systems need to be completely reinvented, or at least reviewed. Everything should facilitate the smooth running of a top-class omnichannel support structure. Unless they encounter the convenient, user-friendly, fluid service they expect, customers won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere. Your business’ ability to execute a customer service strategy ultimately relies on the tools that empower your staff to deliver such design.
Invest in developing capabilities around implemented channels
A seamless omnichannel experience is important, but it’s just as important to understand the different needs of the people behind them. Building teams in charge of developing different channels through new technology and data will help you provide an enhanced customer experience across the board. However the better approach is to enable agents to become proficient in the use of all channels, so they can maintain a fluid “conversation” with a given customer irrelevant of the channel they use. For this purpose is extremely important that the tools you use have a strong focus on the user experience, this will help speed up the training time and ramp up ROI.
Invest in the right software for your business
You will invest a lot of time and resources in growing your customer service. This means it’s vital that you get started using the right software solution for your business’ needs. Not only is this the very foundation of your customer service experience, but it’s key to truly developing your offering over time.
Data quality is one of the biggest challenges in customer service. Using solutions such as Talend, Scribe Soft or more sophisticated ESB technologies help solve this problem. In our experience, integration technical work make up for a big part of customer service projects as they require a higher degree of engineering expertise, doing this right will deliver the accurate data customer service agents need in order to be effective in their function.
Leveraging customer service to differentiate yourself in the modern market is a difficult task. It’s a challenging process that takes refining at every stage from planning to implementation to ongoing development. However, when done correctly, it’s one of the best ways to increase loyalty, employee satisfaction and boost the long-term profitability of your organisation.
About hideki hashimura
An entrepreneur at heart, Hideki specilaises in digital transformation driven by customer strategy (CX, CRM, Customer Intelligence and Customer Centric Strategic Development). Project director for enterprise CRM/CX-driven digital architecture implementation projects. Value orientated and highly skilled at conceptualising, creating, mapping and carrying out solutions to an organisation's problems whilst maintaining an strategic focus. Hideki is the CMO of redk.