Service management vendor, ServiceNow recently commissioned Intergram Research to conduct a survey, which dispels some of the common myths around service enablement, a realization that ServiceNow has long prophesied about. In an interview with GigaOM, Holly Simmons, Sr. Director, Global Product Marketing, Customer Service Management, said “the survey found that the companies that excel at customer service are 127% more likely to enable their customer service agents to enlist the help of different parts of the organization in real-time.”
Or more simply put, by transforming customer service into a team sport, organization can better meet the needs of their customers, in a much shorter time frame. However, that transformation requires more than just basic intention, it requires a platform that can tear down the silos that surround people and systems, which will ultimately deliver the ability to share resolutions and improve customer services across the whole services spectrum.
That ideology is backed by the findings of Intergram Research, which surveyed senior managers in customer service roles at 200 U.S. enterprises with at least 500 employees.
The Survey Results:
The survey revealed three characteristics that separate the companies with the very best customer service from those that struggle. Companies identified as top-tier are:
- More collaborative. They are more likely to have enabled their customer service agents to engage the help of different parts of the organization when addressing a customer’s problem.
- Better problem-solvers. Customer service leaders are also more likely to be able to resolve the root cause of a customer’s problem (a crucial component of closing the resolution gap).
- Self-service providers. And finally, these top-tier organizations are more likely to offer self-service options for common requests, freeing them up to focus on more strategic issues.
While for some, the above may amount too little more than just common sense, the fact of the matter is that many organizations have created silos around their various customer service elements, which hampers collaboration and adds to the time it takes to solve a customer’s problems. What’s more, those silos add hidden expenses to already overtaxed support resources, meaning that the collective knowledge of customer support must be relearned during most any new interaction.
It is those inefficiencies that lead to customers fleeing from specific vendors, especially in the realm of IT. If a customer or client cannot get a quick resolution to a problem, then they may take their business else ware.
Simmons adds “Resolving a customer’s issue quickly and effectively requires real-time collaboration, coordination, and accountability among customer service, engineering, operations, field services and other departments. But that’s just not happening at more than half of the companies surveyed. Customer service still sits on an island without a bridge to other departments, partners, and customers. That slows the resolution process, and frustrates both customers and the agents trying to help them.”
The survey also illustrated the primary problems facing organizations seeking to improve customer service include the difficulty in connecting all service processes, further hampered by service departments being siloed, along with a lack of automation. Those three factors impacted more than 50% of those surveyed, and when viewed as single issues, proved to be a primary barrier to successfully customer service transformation.
Call to Action:
While the survey highlights the both the problems and solutions surrounding agile customer service, transformation can only take place if certain ideologies are upheld. According to Servicenow, organizations that treat customer service as a “team sport” and engage the right people from relevant departments to solve problems are in a better position to proactively address the underlying reasons for customer calls. They also empower their customers to quickly answer their own questions–through self-service portals, knowledge bases, and communities–further reducing the need to interact with customer service agents. The more sophisticated customer service organizations aspire to the ideal of “no-service” by combining these practices to help eliminate the reasons for customer calls in the first place.