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The rise and rise of customer service

An interesting article appeared recently from the Institute of Customer Service looking at the state of customer satisfaction in the UK.

It was noteworthy that in almost every single sector, from Retail and Banking to Tourism and Utilities, customer satisfaction rates had improved.

Improvements in CSAT

Industry by industry improvements in CSAT

Whilst the CEO of any organisation would love to have the customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores at the 90% and higher that TeamUltra currently enjoys with our ServiceNow projects, the fact that many industries have satisfaction levels in the 70-80% level shows there is still much more work to be done.

There will always be companies with a strong CSAT such as First Direct in Banking or Amazon in online retailing. But for many organisations the message is clearly “must try harder”.  This is particularly important as the rate of change in the CSAT scores tends to be relatively slow, perhaps indicating how tough it is to implement changes that have a significant and measurable impact.

The survey showed that since January 2015, customer satisfaction has risen from an average of 76% to 77.8%.  The trend is in the right direction but organisations need to find ways of accelerating their transition to a more customer focused and service driven organisation.

Another point to note from the survey was the top differentiators for high scoring organisations across more than 30 customer service metrics as seen in the diagram below:

Key Success Factors for CSM

What are the top 4 KSF for superior customer service

What each of these have in common is the ability for the customer service management (CSM) system or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to influence satisfaction levels.

Do what you say you will do

How often have you raised an issue with a customer service team and they simply forget to do what they tell you they are going to do such as send a copy of a bill or chase up a query?  A good CSM system will provide customers with the ability to self-service many typical queries via an online portal without interacting with any staff.

Make an online chat option available to support customers and you have a good platform for reducing the number of inbound calls whilst allowing customers to resolve their issue more quickly.

Staff attitude and understanding

It is not immediately obvious how technology can influence the attitude of staff.  The key is in recruiting the right staff for customer facing or interacting roles.  However, CSM systems have the ability to empower staff and increase efficiency by automating many mundane activities such as filling in customer details on a form, or generating tickets for other staff or teams to follow up, freeing staff up to spend more time on activities that will actually resolve an issue.

Add in Gamification principles where customer service staff can earn rewards for completing various activities and it is possible to incentivise staff and increase engagement levels for roles that typically involve a lot of complaints or difficult issues to resolve.

Staff understanding is perhaps less influenced by technology and more by training, but the use of knowledge articles can assist staff in diagnosing or resolving many common issues.

What happens to a complaint?

The outcome of the complaint is however an area where technology can play a vital role.  ITSM or CSM systems enable you to manage the end to end customer experience for any complaint.  For example, if you look at a customer complaint about service standards in a pub where the customer emails the pub or vents via social media.  The pub should in theory respond rapidly and resolve the issue, perhaps issuing a goodwill voucher.  This can be tracked to establish whether it has been redeemed on a subsequent visit.

There is a small risk that this type of goodwill can be open to abuse by unscrupulous members of the public but an effective system will be able to track and detect multiple complaints on the same day for example.  Additionally, it can make it easier to spot trends such as bottlenecks at certain times of the day which can then be addressed on an operational level.

At TeamUltra we are passionate about delivering superior service levels for our ServiceNow projects.  This is reflected in our consistently high CSAT scores which are independently collated and published.  We want to enable our customers also to deliver a superior customer service experience with ServiceNow as the supporting technology.

You can download the full pdf of the results from the Institute of Customer Service here:  https://www.instituteofcustomerservice.com/media/pdf/ukcsi-january-2017-1653.pdf

Or view our on-demand webinar Delivering A Frictionless Customer Service Experience.

What’s your experience of customer service, do you see standards rising in your industry?  Send us a comment below.