Today's competitive market environment requires companies of all sizes to do more with less -- to work smarter, faster, and harder, while remaining agile, responsive, and customer-focused. As most aspects of business have been neutralized (e.g., products, price, performance), organizations recognize that providing great customer service is essential to retaining customers and staying ahead of the competition. At the same time ever slimming margins require cost reduction in customer service delivery. To meet these business critical challenges, organizations must turn to service resolution management.
There are three steps of customer service transactions: routing, case tracking, and service resolution. The SSPA 2003 Support Industry Benchmark Study reported that of these three steps, service resolution, the multistep process of resolving customer issues or requests, accounts for 80 percent of the time and cost associated with providing customer service. This is due to such factors as disparate information, agent turnover, and a lack of repeatable guiding processes. Service resolution also has the highest impact on customer satisfaction.
The service resolution process has five stages: discovery, research, collaboration, capture, and resolve.
Discovery: Understanding the context of the customer issue and the relevant circumstances under which a problem has occurred.
Research: Searching for a solution to a customer problem often continued as offline research, then testing if the issue cannot be determined during the first customer contact.
Collaboration: Joint communication with known expert resources, such as discussion threads, tier 2 support, or formal escalations.
Capture: Recording the data and knowledge developed during the problem resolution process to be used for analytical purposes.
Resolve: The creation, delivery, and if necessary, installation of the customer solution.
Once the agent is armed with the correct answer, he then needs to deliver the solution to the customer -- while taking the opportunity to cross-sell or upsell or prove other special treatment to that customer. A service resolution application supports this by interfacing with existing case management and call-center applications and significantly optimizes the delivery of service.
The benefits of implementing a service resolution strategy include reduction in call-handling time as agents have quick access to the right information, reduced agent-training costs, and significantly reduced agent turnover. As much or even more important as the issue of cost reduction, service resolution has the biggest impact on customer satisfaction and customer retention. Through proper service resolution management, organizations improve the quality of customer service with quick, consistent, and accurate answers. By optimizing the resolution process, a company can dramatically reduce the overall cost of providing service and create happy and loyal customers as a result.
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