Is "Good Enough" Customer Service Good Enough?

Eighty-six percent of customer service decision-makers say that a good customer experience is one of their top strategic priorities. Sixty-three percent say that they want their customer experience to be the best in their industry. Yet few companies deliver a good customer experience.

In our recent survey, just over one-third of the 160 large North American brands questioned were found to provide a positive customer experience — a number that hasn’t significantly moved for the past five years.

We know that a bad service experience has quantifiable negative impacts, as measured by monitoring the wallet share of each customer over their engagement lifetime with a brand. But when is a service experience good enough? A recent Harvard Business Review blog says that delighting your customers is a waste of time and energy, and exceeding customer expectations has a negligible impact on customer loyalty — that customers just want simple, quick solutions to their problems.

What customers also want is a consistent, reproducible experience across all touchpoints.

What this means is that a customer wants to receive the same data, the same information, over any voice, electronic, or social communication channel used. Customer service agents supporting customers across these channels should follow the same business processes. And channels should be linked — either from a technology perspective or a business process perspective — so that customers can start a conversation on one channel and move it to the next without having to restart the conversation.

Customer service organizations should audit their systems to understand the major pain points that customers face in trying to get quick and consistent answers to their questions. For example, are your IVR menus too complex, with high abandon rates resulting in multiple transfers prior to the customer being connected to the right agent? Are call wait times too long, so that every conversation with an agent starts off with customers expressing their frustration, unnecessarily increasing handle times and decreasing overall satisfaction? Are email SLAs not well advertised, making customers not trust the channel, causing them to recontact you multiple times with the same question?

Once these pain points are addressed, companies often look to squeeze out further efficiencies that are costly to organizations and not always worth the effort. For example, are customers necessarily unhappier at having to wait 30 seconds compared with 10 seconds to get connected to the right agent, as long as their question is addressed during the first contact?

Identifying the points at which customer service is good enough is just as critical as addressing the major roadblocks in your systems.

Comments

Customers Pain Point & Touch Point

Hi, Kate, enjoy the blog, here, you put nice emphasis on soothing customers pain point, also leverage business efficiency.

If anything need argue about, it could be: “delighting your customers is a waste of time and energy, and exceeding customer expectations has a negligible impact on customer loyalty.”

Here, I agree, "What customers also want is a consistent, reproducible experience over all touch points", actually simplicity is optimum of suphistication, delighting customer may also means to keep it simple, better, cheaper.

So the point is to make value added service truely valuable from the lens of customer, and focus on long term brand reputation and customer satisfacton. thanks

and....

a culture, strategy and business model. You're absolutely correct.

If it satisfies the customer, yes

Kate,
You raise an excellent question. So much of the hyperbole on twitter and customer service blogs is about "exeptional service" and "customer delight" and "exceeding expectations all the time" is the only way to keep a customer.

I disagree. You're one sentense sums up the topic. "What customers also want is a consistent, reproducible experience across all touchpoints." Consistency and reproducibility will trump things like Morton's stunt with Peter Shankman every time.

Everyone likes to refer to Zappos and Amazon as being successful because they blow away their customers with exceptional service. Actually, no they don't. Jeff Bezo's actual stated it recently in a Forbe's interview. Their business strategy is build on being consistent. The three constants of his business strategy? "offer wider selection, lower prices and fast, reliable delivery." Is that so radical? I don't think so.

Southwest Airlines is consistantly one of the customer serivce stars in a toxic sea of inconsistency. And what do they do? Do they suprize their customers with five star meals from The 21 Club? No. They show up on time. They get you where you're going on time. And they don't continue to change their fee policies (like baggage fees) at a whim.

And lastly, just to show balance and not to leave anyone with the impression that I am dismissing the value of the customer experince (if you read my blog, its pretty obvious I'm a fan), when we define "good enough", its not our definition, its got to be the customer's. If your customer says "yup, you got it", mission accomplished.

Good customer service is the

Good customer service is the life blood to any business, it's all about bringing your customers back again and again. By listening and taking that extra step in making your customer happy, you can assure that you will bring your customer back better than any "Deal" or "sale" ever did.

Good customer service is a

Good customer service is a good point but still the quality of the products you are offering on your business should be on a reasonable price.

Jessica Miller
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