Why collaboration is key to customer service success

Published on: April 17, 2019
Author: Steve Nattress - International Solutions Director

In today’s competitive world, keeping customers happy is part of everyone’s job in the organization. Whether it is the delivery driver for a supermarket, a broadband installer, or an agent in a contact center, they are all part of the customer experience and responsible for delivering great customer service.

Ensuring your whole business is focused on the customer can be difficult however. Customer expectations are continually rising in terms of the volume and range of their questions. They have more complex and in-depth queries than five years ago with Eptica research finding that UK consumers contact brands nearly half a billion times every month.

Dealing with this puts a strain on existing organizational models. Businesses are complex and are normally structured by department, leading to potential silos and even rivalry between different teams. Consumers don’t care about this – they see a business as a single entity and just want to receive an accurate answer to their question or to have their problem solved, whoever they are talking to.

All of this means that the old model of having customer service solely dealt with by a team in the contact center is not enough. There needs to be greater collaboration across the organization to both solve individual consumer problems and to fix ongoing pain points if businesses are to be truly customer-centric.

How can brands achieve this? There are four key areas they should focus on for success:

1. Enable closer collaboration
Businesses need to break down silos between different departments and make it easy for staff to work together. Many brands have created customer hubs, which physically bring together people with complementary skills to focus on particular issues. For example, General Motors created a social media center of excellence that brought together experts from sales, marketing and service. This ensured that social response times dropped dramatically from 24 hours to just 1.5.

2. Integrate and monitor
One of the most frustrating things for consumers is when an agent tells them they can’t access the right system to solve their problem, and that it will need to be escalated to another department. Too often it means the query disappears into a black hole as there is no way of seamlessly forwarding it, or monitoring to ensure that it is responded to within company SLAs. What is needed is technology to underpin the process, providing the ability to monitor where a query is and when it is answered, whoever in the organization is responding.

3. Empower teams with knowledge
Despite organizations understanding the importance of collecting and sharing consistent knowledge, too many still rely on silos of information within departments or even individual customer service channels. For example, the 2019 Eptica Digital Trust Study found that over half (58%) of brands were inconsistent when responding to queries on the email, Twitter, Facebook and chat channels. Not only does this frustrate customers, but it is also incredibly inefficient, as brands have to invest time and effort in maintaining multiple sources of knowledge. Centralizing information in a single, constantly updated knowledge base that is accessible to everyone will empower teams, bring down costs and improve customer satisfaction.

4. Share customer insights with the right people
24% of brands don’t feel they are getting value from their Voice of the Customer (VoC) measurements and programs. Part of this is due to a failure to deliver customer insights to the right teams in a timely manner – for example, while 79% of brands surveyed by Eptica said they shared relevant information with marketing, just 38% provided it to e-commerce teams. If staff are to work together they all need access to customer insight in order to drive improvements – after all, if they don’t know there is a problem then it is impossible for them to fix it. Brands have to both improve the insight they gain from VoC, such as including customer conversations from all digital channels in their analysis, and ensure that this intelligence is shared quickly with relevant teams to improve performance.

Putting the customer first requires greater collaboration across the organization. Adopting the right technology, from integrating systems to sharing knowledge and insights, is therefore vital for success in ever-more competitive markets.

Tags: Customer experience, Customer Service, collaboration, Knowledge, customer hub
Categories: Product, Best Practice

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