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Customer service finally recognised as a competitive differentiator?

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20th Aug 2014
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The Service Council (TSC), in conjunction with SAP, has announced the findings of its most recent research into the value businesses place on the service sector. 

In the combined reports ‘Service Transformation: The Business Case’ and ‘Reviewing Field Service Strategy: Aligning Focus and Execution’, TSC found that organisations were increasing their focus placed on getting service and support right.

Nearly 75% of businesses surveyed for the reports indicated that the importance of the service they provided had increased in the last three years, while 71% of non-service business executives have seen an increased importance placed on service in the last 12 months.

60% of those surveyed stated that “service and support will be the top source of competitive differentiation within three years”.

The research highlights how the role of the service rep, or “field service” rep, has evolved across the globe to become more customer-centric. It states that service teams are no longer being viewed as ‘issue fixers’ inside many organisations, instead being repositioned as ‘customer ambassadors’ or ‘solution providers’ to help offer more value and differentiation to customers.

38% of those surveyed stated that they could see the financial benefits in changing their service processes and strategy to “eliminate basic communication and administrative tasks”, while 84% believe better diagnosis at the point of contact is central to ensuring customer satisfaction and future revenue.

“Although focusing on two different challenges facing today’s multi-faceted organisations, both of these reports contain the common theme of highlighting strategies that require both introspection and a realignment of time and resources in the name of organisational improvement,” said the writer of both reports, Sumair Dutta, chief customer officer, TSC.

“The resulting rewards – improved customer satisfaction and profitability – prove beneficial to stakeholders both internally and externally.”

A drive towards improving customer service appears to be taking place across all sectors in the UK, at present, with the government recently announcing details of an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Customer Service, chaired by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).

The ICS’s most recent research showed customer satisfaction levels at their lowest point since 2011, with even some of the UK’s most customer-centric brands experiencing a decline in their perceived level of service.

Service Transformation - The Business Case: Differentiation Plan 

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