What are the keys to transforming your customer service operation? It could be the literal million-dollar question for businesses building relationships across an increasingly established customer base.
Across industries, customers are setting a higher bar for service, which may put those holding the purse strings between a rock and a hard place; how do you meet customer expectations and budget expectations?
With the right mix of strategy and execution, customer service can, and should, be more than a cost center. In fact, agile customer service is a proven revenue-driver. And while Gartner reports inbound marketing budgets are growing at a steady clip as companies attempt to woo new customers, customer retention is more profitable in the long run than customer acquisition. Furthermore, 83 percent of consumers will trust someone with whom they have a personal relationship over any form of advertising.
Convinced, but unsure where to start? Read on for a scalable roadmap to building your customer service strategy, according to a Forrester report updated with the latest recommendations.
In this phase, it’s best to establish the ROI of customer service for your business. Given the established impact of personal recommendations over advertising, there’s plenty of data at your fingertips to make a good business case. Here’s even more: A survey conducted by Dimensional Research found that 62 percent of both B2B and B2C customers purchased more after a good customer service experience. Furthermore, 88 percent have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.
Before you’re equipped to go further, though, a couple things must take place. First, consider how (and whether) applying this data to your business given its size, scale, and longer-term growth. Next, evaluate your current contact center solution to quantify and qualify its maturity level for a new solution. While a lot of service desk software solutions are easy-to-use and out-of-the-box, you’ll want to know which pain points this solution is addressing in order to make your strongest business case.
Now that you’ve set the tone, it’s time to start building a great customer service strategy. Keep four things top of mind as you enter the Plan phase of your transformation: strategy, process, people, and technology. These key variables vary the most from company to company, particularly in terms of where your company is in its growth. Is it a lean, mean machine of fewer than 100 people? Or is it a high-growth company that requires more process or budget? Take an honest look at your team and tailor the solution around your people—the most important part of the puzzle. Think of this as a continuation of the analysis you conducted when making your business case. Great—now how does your solution fold into the people using that solution?
Once a plan is in place, organizations must manage change effectively to ensure a smooth transition. Staff, and train that staff, appropriately. That means setting expectations and learning objectives, among other things. The report places heavy stock in selecting the most appropriate technology solution for your team—which greatly impacts how much training time you’ll need to devote to that new solution.
Once you implement the solution, it’s essential to regularly check your progress against key benchmarks you establish at the outset. This may be a years-long initiative, so keeping tabs on customer satisfaction, cost of the solution, and revenue (generated and saved) ensures everyone is on board. What about your executives: Are they still bought in to your solution one year later? Look externally, too; what are your competitors doing in terms of customer service?
Essentially: Continually measure and improve as you manage your new-and-improved customer service team.