Transform the contact centre: Forrester's playbook for customer service excellence

Customer service is a cornerstone of an organisation’s customer experience strategy. Organisations must pay attention to their customer service strategy because:Good customer service experiences boost repurchase probability and long-term...


Customer service is a cornerstone of an organisation’s customer experience strategy. Organisations must pay attention to their customer service strategy because:

  • Good customer service experiences boost repurchase probability and long-term loyalty. Customer loyalty has economic benefits as measured by willingness to repurchase, brand loyalty, and likelihood of recommendations. The revenue impact from a 10-percentage-point improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion.

  • Poor customer service experiences lead to increased service costs. 75 percent of consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails, and Forrester estimates that unnecessary service costs to online retailers due to channel escalation are $22 million on average.

  • Poor customer service experiences risk customer defection and revenue losses. Forrester survey data shows that approximately 30 percent of a company’s customers (or more) have poor experiences. And even if a fraction of these defect, this represents a loss in annual revenue.

But customer service is hard to deliver. The underlying technology ecosystem has grown more complex over time due to new communication channels, deployment methods such as cloud-based solutions, and vendor mergers and acquisitions. As a result, customer service leaders struggle to enforce a consistent process and experience across their workforce. Specific challenges include the need to:

  • Use a consolidated customer service tool set. Transactional data and customer history are often neither consistent nor consistently available across communication channels. Eighty percent of companies have non-integrated communication channels — phone, email, chat, and web self-service — leading to inconsistent service and poor customer satisfaction scores.

  • Follow consistent processes. Customer service agents use many disconnected apps when resolving a single customer issue. Agents don’t follow consistent discovery processes, which negatively affects their consistency and productivity, increases agent training times, and leads to a higher level of agent turnover due to frustration with the tool set.

  • Comply with policy. Few real-time processes in customer service organisations audit agent actions against ever-changing regulatory compliance requirements, which leads to higher service costs due to incurred penalties.

  • Provide cross-channel customer service in the way that customers want to receive it. In the past 12 months, 68 percent of customers used the phone, 60 percent used help or frequently asked questions (FAQs), 54 percent used email, 37 percent used chat, 20 percent used SMS, and 19 percent used Twitter. Customer service agents supporting these media types need access to the same information in order to ensure consistent service.

Forrester’s playbook for customer service excellence, geared towards Application Development and Delivery pros, gives tools to customer service organisations to transform their operations via four critical steps: 1) discover: articulate the value of customer service in business terms; 2) plan: set the strategy for customer service operations; 3) act: execute the strategy; and 4) optimise: measure and optimise customer service operations. Download the executive overview for the customer service playbook for AD&D pros here.

Posted by Kate Leggett  
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