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Posted by Doug Williams on June 22, 2009
In my last post, I mentioned that I would soon be publishing a CQ document of my own about convenient customer service. That day has come! Here is the executive summary from "Enhance Your Product Strategy With Convenient Customer Service":
Customer service has become an integral part of product strategy, and, as such, it should now be a primary concern of consumer product strategy professionals. Customer service has also grown more complex: Consumers used to simply bring the product back to the store from which they purchased it or call a toll-free number to obtain service. More customer service options now exist, including email, IVR, and online chat. Moving customer service online is a double-edged sword — it's expensive to provide effective online solutions, yet the more customers move to them, the lower the costs. We apply our Convenience Quotient methodology to various forms of customer service and find that nothing beats having a live person on a phone line available for troubleshooting. Other methods offer their own mixes of benefits and barriers to consumers. Consumer product strategists should think of customer service, in whatever guise, as a critical product attribute and weave their choice of interaction directly into their overall product strategies. I evaluated a variety of channels by which customer service issues can be resolved, as well as some indirect alternatives such as leaving the issue unresolved ("do nothing") or buying a new product or churning to a different service rather than working with the company toward resolution. Here's a "sneak peek" at how the results came out:
There are a few key points I'd like to raise with regard to this report:
- The report crosses all B2C industries. Unlike other CQ analyses we have conducted, this one addresses a horizontal business issue that affects all businesses with a consumer-facing product or service. CQ is not just for tech products or industries!
- The scorecard and the results are relevant but also generic. We did not assume any particular industry, company, or customer service issue when applying the CQ methodology in the report. We expect the barriers and benefits for the various customer service resolution modes to vary by company and by industry.
- This is a JupiterView report. Our JupiterView clients now have access to a CQ document, with plenty of background discussion to bring them up to speed on this new research series.
Take a look at the report, think it over, then set up an Inquiry so we can figure out how it applies to your business and what actions you can take to assess or improve customer service from the perspective of consumer convenience.