by Rob van Herpen | September 04, 2019
In today’s business world, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who does not agree that Customer Experience is an essential aspect when building and maintaining a profitable business. The reports support this statement. For example, a recent PWC publication shows that one in three consumers (32%) say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. The same report states that “speed, convenience, helpful employees and friendly service matter most, each hitting over 70% in importance to consumers”.
Similarly, Gartner’s Customer Experience survey indicates that CX is the new marketing battlefront. More than two-thirds of marketers responsible for CX say their companies compete mostly on the basis of CX, and they expect this to grow towards an astonishing 90% in the upcoming years.
Taking this into account, why do so many companies fail to deliver good customer service? Throughout my career, I’ve spoken with hundreds of companies about their CS strategy, from start-ups to enterprises, all over the globe. Very few companies got customer service right from the start and, unsurprisingly, I’ve seen the ones that did become more and more successful over the years.
I’ll share my vision on why most companies fail, and which issues you should solve if you really want to compete on CX.
Too often, business decisions are taken based on short term revenue optimization or efficiency gains. More and more companies are appointing a CCO, but in most boardrooms, the customer does not yet have a seat at the table. This often leads to decisions which do not take into account what customers really want. Moreover, at most companies, the CS department is still seen as a cost center, while CS is often the only department in the company that talks to customers every single day. Listening to the voice of the customer and analyzing & acting upon the huge dataset that CS sits on is highly undervalued.
Partially impacted by the fact that CS is considered a cost center, some CS leaders lack vision. Instead of convincing their board of the added value CS can bring, they tend to be reactive, mostly focusing on putting out fires. Many CS managers have risen through the ranks or have coincidentally ended up in CS. While this does not automatically mean that they can’t be visionary leaders, they often simply aren’t. Too little time is spent on finding structural solutions to root cause issues, and there is too little drive to innovate. If you want your CX to rock, you better make sure the CS manager you hire is an A-Player, which will level up your entire CS organization as they tend to surround themselves with other A-Players.
A lot of time and effort goes into recruiting for the right profiles, agent training, and making sure that contacts are handled as fast as possible. This is all pretty much useless if your agents are not empowered to solve issues. Real CS leaders identify bottlenecks, which could be processes, tools, or a combination of both, and build an internal business case to convince internal stakeholders to tackle these bottlenecks. Agents who are not empowered feel frustrated, which drives up attrition. For customers, one of the most annoying things about CS is to go back and forth on a case to get it resolved. First Contact Resolution (FCR) is clearly linked to better CSAT, so make sure to tackle these bothersome processes and invest in the right tools.
While CS sits on a huge pile of extremely useful data, there’s often no real-time, centralized view on important KPIs, contact drivers, nor bottlenecks impacting customer satisfaction. Native, built-in analytics mostly provide isolated insights and have very limited customization options. Most companies I have spoken with use a variety of different tools and have a combination of in-house and outsourced teams (and often different vendors). What they really need is cross-channel, cross-system, cross-vendor analytics. Building such a system takes an enormous amount of time, resources, and money. Bringing in a third-party expert, like 5CA, enables companies to leverage analytics as a service and gain valuable insights to improve CX across the board, from CS processes to product development.
Historically, customer service outsourcing has always been a highly cost-driven exercise. Offshore locations like India and The Philippines have been (and still are) very popular. However, with the increasing role technology plays in our industry and self-service becoming a more dominant channel assisted by technology to provide customers with personalized, relevant information, there’s less and less need for script-based thinkers. I recently published an article in which I advocate for hiring critical thinkers instead. In my opinion, outsourcing should be primarily focused on the added value a partner can bring. Obviously, agent rates will always play a role, but finding a real partner who can help fill knowledge gaps and proactively comes up with suggestions and tools to improve is much more valuable than saving 20% on your hourly rate. The fact is that many BPOs are still mainly focused on selling seats. They bury their heads in the sand and still believe that a good partnership is simply executing whatever their client is asking them to do, at the lowest possible rate. Luckily there are real partners out there who challenge the status quo, use innovative service delivery models and partner with their clients on optimizing CX, even if this means that the amount of seats is reduced.
On a positive note, more and more companies do get it. They invest in CS, have the long-term vision, and aim to build strategic partnerships. It’s a real pleasure to be working with such companies, and I can’t wait for others to join.
Rob is Chief Customer Officer at 5CA, responsible for everything related to our clients and always thinking of how we can optimize our customer experience. He’s located in sunny California, where he heads up 5CA’s USA offices. Most of his free time is spent on his wife and kids, but he can also be found frequently in the gym and enjoys cooking a good meal.
The times, they are a-most-definitely-changing. As seasoned CX veterans know, plenty of the received wisdoms of third-party contact center management have received something of a battering over the last few years.
If you were not able to attend “CX Strategy: What now?”, our panel debate from last week, then here it is. An insightful, thought-provoking hour with industry gurus Mark Hillary, Stephen Loynd, Peter Ryan and our own Robert Van Diem. Here are some of the themes that really stood out for us.
I’m pleased to announce that I will be participating in a debate hosted by 5CA on October 27th. The title is CX Strategy: What Now? It’s going to be particularly topical, as one of the key things we will discuss, in the midst of this pandemic, is working from home (WFH) in the CX arena.
I’m pleased to announce that I will be participating in a debate hosted by 5CA on October 27th. The title is CX Strategy: What Now? I know that there are a lot of webinars and online debates these days, but I really think you should make time for this one:
Following on from National Customer Service Week, our Chief Customer Officer Rob van Herpen reflects on the journey that customer service has undergone in the last decade, and the role it plays within the wider scope of the whole customer experience.
I’m pleased to announce that I will be moderating a webinar hosted by 5CA on October 27th. The title is CX Strategy: What Now? I know you might be thinking “another day, another webinar invitation,” but as I’m chairing the debate I want to try making this one a little different. We can’t meet at conferences right now so the very least anyone planning a new webinar can do is to ensure it’s interesting and this one should hit the ball out of the park.
Gaming has been one of the few beneficiaries of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Global quarantine and stay-at-home orders preventing people from traveling, commuting, and socializing has resulted in a boom for the gaming industry.
Maximize the value of your VIP players and discover how work from home (WFH) support helps you add more value to your gaming whales.
Game launched? Check.
Player hype? Check.
Champagne? Crack that bottle, you deserve it!
But while it bubbles on your tongue, let me ask you this: Have you considered how to respond to players who need assistance or want to provide feedback? And when your player base grows (and let's be honest it will - your game is awesome), what will you do when those interactions start exploding in languages you do not speak? How will you manage the volume of requests coming in, but still provide the best possible user experience to your fans?
Yes…. Another thought piece on how COVID-19 is re-shaping life as we know it and what can we learn from it going forward.
With people stuck at home and shops closed, several industries, such as e-commerce, streaming entertainment, and gaming, are experiencing hyperactivity. The influx is driving revenues but also customer support needs.
Did anyone see that Assassins’ Creed Valhalla announcement trailer? Of course you did. Chances are you did not discover it on your own, but instead it appeared on your social media channels, most likely shared by a fan of the franchise or an influencer. At least that is how it happened to me. Game marketing truly has changed in the era of digital, community, and influencers.
In BPO, we often talk about how we deliver the best possible customer experience. We focus on training knowledgeable and empathetic agents, we run and rerun staffing simulations to ensure minimal wait times. These things are important, but, for the most part, once a customer is reaching out to us, it’s already a ding to the overall customer experience. Customers want an easy experience that works as it should and is intuitive.
Last month, Vice ran an interesting article by Jess Morrissette on how games marketing invented toxic gaming culture by promoting toxicity and harassment as value propositions for gaming. While considered perfectly reasonable at the time, games marketing has luckily taken a turn for the better.
One of the most interesting things about the gaming industry is that gamers don’t behave like customers. Sure, they have no problem spending like customers, but their devotion and passion makes them more like super-fans.
With more and more companies providing work-from-home possibilities, and children spending more time at home during school breaks, many tend to fill the time previously spent commuting or at after-school activities on picking up new or old hobbies. It comes as no surprise that playing video games is one of those favored hobbies.
The World Health Organization and almost every national government has encouraged everyone in non-essential roles to stay at home. With millions of people in self-isolation, there is a real need to ensure these people have something to do.
In this new day and age where no one spends more than 67 seconds away from a screen without at least a hint of anxiety, recruiting and engaging this new wave of job seekers is no less complicated than swiping right, get a match and then not really knowing how to open a conversation anymore (sound familiar?).
In today's business world, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who does not agree that Customer Experience is an essential aspect when building and maintaining a profitable business.
We’ve probably all heard of quality assessment (QA) before, where a quality specialist goes over agent interactions and checks to see if there are any possible areas of improvement or development...
The most successful companies make listening and understanding their customers a vital part of their business strategy. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
In this article, I’ll provide you with five tips to shape your customer service organization in such a way that you can prevent your customers from experiencing exactly this.
When you think about Customer Experience I’m willing to bet you’ll typically think about the experiences customers have when evaluating a product or service, choosing and buying it, and then actually using it.