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Smart & Effortless Customer Service in an Omnichannel World
SAP offers a blue print for smart and profitable customer service.
Posted Jun 3, 2016
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Smart customer service is something organizations purposely C.R.E.A.T.E. It requires raising customer service to a strategic level that becomes the DNA of the company – customer service is neither an initiative nor a project. It demands to be effortless for both the customer and the agent, so first touch resolution and service excellence can be achieved. Let’s look at 6 steps to C.R.E.A.T.E smart and effortless customer service at your organization.
 
C. = CEO & CULTURE.
“It starts at the top” isn’t an old adage for nothing. A company’s CEO determines the direction, strategy and culture of an organization. It’s very clear to customers and employees when a CEO creates a culture that places the customer first. According to Blake Morgan of Forbes, 2015 will be the year that the CEO truly makes service a priority – is this happening at your organization? Not only will leadership make service a priority but increasingly we will see customer service backed with dollars, technologies and people resources. Organizations and cultures focused on customer care recognize that, twice citing Gartner’s Michael Maoz, (1) it is so basic, so elementary, so subtle, and so powerful, that it underlies the raison d’etre of every organization: to serve the customer. And (2) the real trick is a CEO who understands that the customer is at the center. Is serving the customer your company’s raison d’etre?
 
R. = REVENUE.
This isn’t the first time that I (and others) have noted that revenue is sandwiched between good and bad service. (See my Customer Service is the Heart of Marketing blog). The American Express & ebiquity 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer, shows 74% of customers have spent more money with a company due to positive customer service experiences. This study also notes that 60% of customers have stopped a transaction due to poor service, an increase of almost 10% from 2012. Similarly noted by the Institute of Customer Service in its 2015 trends report, organizations that deliver poor service will lose existing customers and experience a negative impact on their financial performance. In terms of staying ahead of your competition, customer goodwill is the only asset your competition cannot undercut.Is customer service at the heart of marketing, the heart of revenue and the heart of a your business?
 
E. = EMBRACE EMERGING CHANNELS.
Customers expect to be able to interact with companies when they want and with the device they want. They expect to be able to communicate with a business across multiple channels and for the business to know the conversation in each channel. As more and more customers are leaning toward self-service, companies need to embrace this and other emerging channels. Forrester late last year reported that for the first time, self-service surpassed the voice channel as the most widely used channel. In her report Forrester’s Top Trends for Customer Service in 2015, Kate Leggett predicts customers will continue to demand effortless interactions over web, mobile, and self-service channels, including new communication channels such as video chat with screen sharing and annotation. Riddle me this, if grandma can video chat, shouldn’t your customer service teams?
 
A. = AGILITY.
As customers are able to connect with your company across a variety of touch points, it is imperative that your team is operating with the same knowledge – aka singing from the same songbook – so that their responses are consistent. Also important to agility is the ability to more empower your agents, bringing decision making power closer to the front line. Along these lines is co-creation, in which customers increasingly expect to influence the ways organizations deal with them, noted in the Institute for customer service’s 2015 study, link above. This study also reported customers feel time poor and their tolerance for delay and slow service has decreased. Customer service teams need to be empowered to quickly resolve customers’ issues with knowledge management and team collaboration. Service agility is a combination of knowledge+ empowerment + speed.
 
T. = TECHNOLOGY.
As customers’ expectations of convenience and speed continue to rise, new technical advancements are becoming available to keep up with these expectations. Yet, as noted by many analysts, and in consumer feedback, most companies have yet to implement these technologies and are behind the customers’ own personal use of technology. Hark, light at the end of the tunnel! 2015, as noted by Blake Morgan, portends to be the year CEOs and leadership teams will invest dollars, technologies and people into customer service.The Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, social and in-memory data systems are the key technologies that make it exciting to think of the many ways companies can more effectively serve customers. As Kate Leggett points out, insights from connected devices will trigger preemptive service as the IoT is now becoming a business reality. Additionally, with the proliferation of customer data, predictive analytics will power service decisions, field deployments, and real-time offers. Social media and mobility continue to stretch companies’ capabilities to respond in a timely manner. Advances in each enable greater ease of communication – whether by taking interactions off social media to a private phone call with an agent, using video chat or crossing multiple communication channels. Make technology your team’s BFF.
 
E. = EFFORTLESS.
Technology’s inherent promise is to make things easier – mobile devices instead of landlines, PCs instead of mainframes, real time information on the Internet instead of dated encyclopedias – yikes, I think I just dated myself!Easy...Simple...Effortless is what today’s customers demand. Omni-channel customer service creates an effortless scenario by enabling your customers to connect when they want, with whatever device they want and on however many channels they want. All this technology is in the palm of your customer’s hand. But, have you also made it effortless for your agents? As noted above, new technologies, emerging channels, and agility can pack a one-two punch to your agents if you have not enabled them to effortlessly respond to today’s demanding and brand fickle customers. Your agents have a need for speed. Make it effortless for them.
 
Incorporating C.R.E.A.T.E. into you organization will result in smart and profitable customer service. For more information on trending customer service topics, subscribe to www.custedge.com. To learn how SAP can help you deliver  Smart and Effortless Customer Service in an omni-channel environment, visit www.sap.com/customerservice.

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