This week we feature an article by Matt Nolan who talks about what a great customer service experience really is. We can learn a lot when we look at what companies around the world are doing to adopt new service models. – Shep Hyken
As customer service professionals, we have a hard time agreeing on what a “great customer experience” really is, and what’s truly possible. We hear stories about companies doing amazing things, but those sound disconnected from reality, given our own experience – they read like fairy tales. They’re hard to believe.
That’s because we live and breathe service every day, so it’s hard to see past the known problems, and the gaps in what our teams can do. We see our organizational limitations, and we know that most companies:
- Make their customers jump through hoops – because their systems & processes are outdated.
- Talk about what they want to sell – not what their customers really need.
- Ignore a customer’s context – what they say with actions, rather than out loud during a call.
- Pretend to live in a vacuum – as if what happens to customers in other parts of the business doesn’t impact the service channels.
- Ignore customer problems – right up to the point where they’re angry enough to complain, demand a discount, or leave for a competitor.
If you put all these things together, it’s easy to see the pattern – we’re consistently sacrificing customer relationships (our lifeblood) by focusing only on the next day, the next week, or the next quarter – at the expense of something healthier and more sustainable.
We’ve effectively become the victims of our own success. The larger an organization becomes, the harder it is to stay connected. We’re driven by revenue and margin, but our success can make us more bloated and rigid, less adaptive, and more disconnected from the people we’re supposed to serve. Generally, the more processes, channels, systems, and resources we add, the harder making actual changes to anything becomes.
To compound all this, traditional service – which waits until customers called the contact center before addressing a problem – has become much less effective. Service leaders have been forced to provide self-service channels, mitigate risk with pro-active initiatives, and consistently channel customers into more cost-effective mediums. This helps… but it only adds to the scope and complexity of the service role, and can really blur the lines between business functions like sales and marketing.
But there’s a silver lining, here: there are organizations that have become early adopters of the new service model we hear so much about – one built around “knowing” customers, and treating every interaction like what it really is: the perfect opportunity to create value on both sides, and build a stronger, longer-term relationship.
Below are a few great examples of organizations that have completely re-architected the way they think about and interact with customers – and produced a sustainable ROI as a result:
- The Royal Bank of Scotland integrated their customer data into an always-on customer brain (video). They’re using it to optimize journeys across all their marketing, sales, and service channels, and they’re seeing huge increases in NPS, balance retention, and overall response, as a result.
- Sprint Wireless overhauled their customer care program, providing their call-center agents with real-time recommendations to improve retention. As a result, they’ve reduced their customer churn rate by more than 50 percent since 2014.
- The team at British Gas integrated all their inbound and outbound customer programs, including their call-center, email, web, and other channels. They’re now orchestrating connected customer conversations (video) that adapt to customer needs, rather than simply pushing products they’d like to sell.
- Cisco Systems uses customer and process data to execute intelligent routing in their customer service channels, dynamically matching each customer to the agents best suited to resolve their issues. They’ve removed over 4 million hours of customer wait time and cut service costs by more than 80 percent.
- PNC Financial centralized their customer decision-making within a single customer interaction management platform, enabling customers to start a conversation in one channel and continue it later in another, earning a #1 ranking in customer experience, in the process.
To hear the specifics of how Sprint, Cisco, Air France, and many major brands are disrupting the nature of service, you can livestream their presentations from PegaWorld 2017, which will be held from June 4–7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Matt Nolan is a Director of Product Marketing at Pegasystems, focused on the Marketing Interaction Systems market and all of its associated technology. Matt has worked in the Martech sector for the last 17 years, serving in a variety of senior product management, marketing, and analytics roles. He speaks regularly at marketing & analytics events, is an active supporter of the American Red Cross, and a 15-year member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: How Happy Employees Make Happy Customers