Transform The Contact Center: Forrester's Playbook For Customer Service Excellence

Customer service is a cornerstone of an organization’s customer experience strategy. Organizations 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% 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% 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.
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Consumers Drive Channel Preference To Achieve Effortless Customer Service

A new study commissioned by Nice about consumer channel preference complements Forrester’s data quite effectively and adds more data to the understanding that customer service does not need to be exceptional but just needs to be frictionless, easily and efficiently delivering answers to customer questions.

Here is some recent Forrester data from our latest Consumer Technographics® survey about US customer service trends:

  • 45% of US online adults will abandon their online purchase if they can't find a quick answer to their question.
  • 66% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide a customer with a good online customer service.
  • 29% prefer to use online customer service rather than speak with a live person on the telephone.

Data from the Nice survey says that:

  • 50% of respondents say that if they cannot easily achieve resolution, they will turn to the contact center.
    • Which supports the point that service needs to be frictionless and effortless.
  • 40% of respondents expect agents to be informed of their experiences upon beginning the conversation and to be able to successfully resolve their issues quickly.
    • Which supports the point that companies need to value a customer’s time.

In addition, the Nice survey conveyed:

  • When asked what customers like about assisted service, 50% of respondents cited FCR as their #1 reason for consulting a live agent. 33% of respondents they derive satisfaction from dealing with knowledgeable reps with specialized training.
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Choosing The Right Customer Service Metrics Requires Alignment To Your Brand

There is no single metric against which to benchmark the performance of your customer service organization. It’s like flying a plane—you can’t do it by just looking at your altitude settings. This means that most organizations use a balanced scorecard approach, which includes a set of competing metrics that balance the cost of operations against satisfaction measures. For industries with strict policy regulations, like healthcare, insurance, or financial services, adherence to regulatory compliance is yet another metric that is added to the list.

The set of metrics that you choose also depends on your audience. Customer service managers need real-time, granular operational data. Yet your executive management team needs high-level data about key performance indicators (KPIs) that track outcomes of customer service programs.
 
So where should you begin when choosing metrics? It’s best to start by understanding the value proposition of your company. For example, do you compete on customer experience, where satisfaction measures are of primary importance, or do you compete on cost, where efficiency and productivity measures are most important?
 
Once you understand your value proposition, choose the high-level KPIs that support your company’s objectives. These metrics are the ones that you will report to executive management and include overall cost, revenue, compliance, and satisfaction scores. Next, choose the operational metrics for your organization that link to each of these KPIs and support your brand. For example, if you compete on cost, handle time and speed of answer will become your primary metrics. However, if you are focused on maximizing customer lifetime value, first contact resolution will rise to the top.
 
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