• March 3, 2023

Poor Service Leaves Billions of Dollars Behind

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Customer service is usually seen as a necessary evil if not an outright cost center. Recent data from Forrester Research, however, found that contact centers not only play an important role in creating happier, more loyal customers, but they can actually increase top-line revenue.

Good customer service can have “enormous revenue implications,” says Christina McAllister, a senior analyst at Forrester.

The research found that empowering frontline customer service reps to solve customer problems on their own—without requiring supervisor approval—could unlock billions of dollars in extra revenue. Yes, billions!

Forrester, further analyzing data contained within its 2022 U.S. Customer Experience Benchmark Survey of more than 96,000 U.S. consumers, found that home and auto insurers that empower their agents to solve problems themselves could see $1 billion in incremental revenue. Airlines that do the same could see an $833 million revenue boost.

But while consumers overwhelmingly expect customer service agents to have the authority to solve problems on their own, far too many customer service leaders simply don’t trust their agents to act on their own. This often prompts customers to also lose faith in agents, leading to earlier and more frequent escalations.

McAllister recommends that customer service leaders take the following two steps to reverse the trend:

1. Go off script.

“By restricting agents to a script, you’re not only limiting their capacity to connect with customers on a deeper level and build trust but also stifling their ability to find unique solutions to customer problems,” she says.

“It’s time to stop micromanaging agents’ language,” McAllister stresses. “To have true authority, agents need to be able to speak in their own voice.”

Empowering agents to speak authentically, companies can see more productive and satisfying customer outcomes and higher engagement among employees, according to McAllister.

2. Focus on accountability.

When customers reach out for help, they don’t want to hear hollow empathy phrases; instead, they expect agents to take responsibility for finding a solution to their problems.

And, going back to the first action item, McAllister points out that true empathy cannot be scripted or canned, and blanket empathy statements have very little correlation to CX outcomes. Instead, McAllister urges customer service leaders to measure agents on displaying accountability and ownership of the resolution and their commitment to better CX outcomes.

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