A Definition of Service Delivery Optimization
While you may like to think that your call center handles the majority of your customer service, the truth is that activities that impact the customer experience happen across your organization and its various channels. As organizations face the challenge of so many employees outside the contact center handling customer service, organizations need to ensure all employees who are responsible in some way for customer service delivery work as efficiently and effectively as your contact center professionals do.
This is the core of service delivery optimization: helping employees outside the contact center manage service delivery just as well as your contact center employees do. After all, your organization’s success depends on an improved customer experience and increased loyalty coupled with reduced churn.
Service Delivery Challenges
Many service delivery challenges can be attributed to customer expectations. Customers not only expect to gain access to service from nearly any channel, but they expect to be able to use the channel of their choice for service. They also want consistent answers across channels and to be sure they receive accurate, relevant, and complete answers when they first contact or interact with a company.
In fact, Forrester finds that 66% of customers agree that “valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service. 45% of US online adults will abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.” This means that companies that meet customer expectations via service delivery optimization will increase their revenue, reduce churn, and improve the customer experience.
Forrester also has found that customer satisfaction correlates to customer loyalty, and loyalty significantly impacts a company’s bottom line: a 10% improvement in a company’s customer experience translates to more than $1 billion in revenue, while 75% of customers move to another channel online when service fails, which can mean losing millions of dollars.
Service Delivery Optimization Best Practices
Salesforce also points to the gap between customers’ expectations and the service they actually receive as one of the main challenges facing organizations today. They also recognize the fact that companies cannot afford to skimp on customer service and satisfaction in order to keep a healthy bottom line.
Salesforce summarizes the problem and solution of customer service in this way: “One successful way to move the needle and deliver an improved customer service experience in a way that is cognizant of business cost parameters is to focus on the core needs of customers and customer service agents, who are the frontline providers of customer service, as well as the technologies that power customer service. Businesses that fail to meet their customers’ expectations and that do not empower their customer service agents to deliver good service run the risk of being left at a competitive disadvantage.”
The solution is using service delivery optimization best practices:
- Align customer service strategy to your customer experience strategy – Use your customer experience strategy to specify the experience you plan to deliver across channels and touchpoints that match your brand proposition. Ensure your customer service strategy does not conflict with your company strategy.
- Understand your customers’ expectations of service quality – Customers use communication channels that change rapidly, so choose the appropriate communication channels for them. Determine which interactions customers have via various channels and whether agents have the right content and information to meet customers’ service expectations.
- Choose technologies that empower agents to deliver outstanding experiences – Ensure your customer service technologies empower agents to deliver consistent experiences across channels. Also choose customer service technologies that give agents contextual customer, product, and service information and content. Encourage and enable agents to collaborate to resolve inquiries quickly. Your technology also should make it possible for you to respond quickly to changing business and customer needs.
- Remember to recognize your customer service agents – Organize and lead agents in in a way that aligns with your company’s culture, best practices, and performance measurement approaches. Give your agents the tools and freedom they need to do the right thing for customers.
Other service delivery optimization best practices include:
- Recognize the importance and value of customer experience
- Calculate the ROI on improving customer experience to meet customer expectations by correlating customer loyalty and experience using three dimensions: increased cross-sells and upsells, reluctance to switch away from the brand, and recommendations to family and friends
- Ensure customers can find consistent answers on all channels
Benefits of Service Delivery Optimization
Aside from increased customer satisfaction and customer loyalty levels, implementing service delivery optimization best practices gives organizations the opportunity to reap other benefits. First, your organization will get a boost in customer service efficiency. The optimization process naturally will reduce or eliminate inefficient systems and will help you automate processes as much as possible.
Other benefits include improving the quality of your customer service delivery and implementing a well-designed set of customer service delivery processes that will assist in delivering a consistent answer across channels. You also will create a seamless customer experience online and offline to create “a unified experience for people at every stage of their journey with your business. Whether this involves them making contact via your website, email, or over the phone, it’s vital that they receive a consistent message. If you have a call center, ensure they have the necessary training to give the best experience possible.”
What service delivery optimization best practices have you found most effective?