Across industries and business operating models, companies believe they are generally doing a good job serving their customers, and that they are doing better than their competitors. When it comes to customer service, is executive optimism based on capabilities—or wishful thinking?
Customer service executives are differentiating their brands by delivering better customer experiences.
Do financial companies suffer from overconfidence in their customer service?
Most of the executives surveyed think they are offering modern customer service. When asked how they would assess current progress toward delivering it, only 11 percent reported that they were just getting started.
61 percent believe they are making good progress, meaning offering standardized service across channels, a single knowledge base of consistent answers, and treating service as a brand differentiator. And one in four (28 percent) believe they are making excellent progress, with use of centralized customer data, personalized customer service, and customer satisfaction scores above 90 percent.
In all business models, companies are still working on using newer technologies, such as social media and text messaging, more effectively. They are more comfortable with tried-and-true channels like phone and email. However, executives are working to correct this gap, even if cost and integration issues remain a concern. The impact of new customer service channels is evident when executives describe how effective they are in providing certain types of customer service experiences, even if effective real-time support capabilities remain nascent. Overall, survey respondents recognized the advent of immediate gratification—the desire for consumers to get answers anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Across the continuum, knowledge management is the one investment that consistently pays back.
—Jeff Lundal, Group Vice President of Service Automation, Oracle
Executives realize the value of providing a holistic view of the customer, and thus a seamless customer service experience across channels. And they are looking to knowledge management and integrated use of data analytics to help them get there. Knowledge is the baseline for customer experience and critical to providing any level of good or excellent customer service. At the same time, many of those surveyed note that they are just beginning to deploy knowledge management capabilities—although they appear to be looking at it in conjunction with developing an integrated, cross-channel view of their customers.
For businesses that understand its power, customer service can be a strategic weapon. This means moving away from the traditional view of customer service as a back-end operation and cost center, to a brand-focused profit center. The driver of this sea change is the engaged and empowered consumer, who wants answers to questions anytime, anywhere, on any device.