Turning customer experience into an enjoyable journey

|August 27, 2018 0

Holly Simmons

Consider the Porsche. Sleek and beautiful, you know it’s a great car the minute you see one. Yet the real beauty lies in what’s under the hood. That’s where the power comes from. That’s what makes it a performance vehicle.

For companies, customers engage because you bring them something wonderful, something they want. When you do, they expect a certain level of service behind it, an excellent end-to-end experience.

From streaming video of the latest movies to delivery of high fashion or gourmet meals to their doorstep, people are being delighted every day in their home lives by the ways they can order and manage services and products. In this new subscription economy, everything-as-a-service provides new options and greater flexibility for customers, but also presents greater challenges for companies in delivering superior service from start to finish.

Changing expectations in a subscription economy

In the subscription economy, customers don’t see the engine that drives the service or product they grow to love, nor do they need to. People rightfully expect that service will be delivered seamlessly.

That expectation puts more pressure on companies than ever before. And because so much of the service is delivered automatically, companies need to have systems in place that will make sure everything happens as promised.

To do that, companies are establishing operational excellence as the rule in their customer service departments. These models help make sure that the entire customer journey, from start to finish, is connected and seamless. This approach addresses service operations and delivery issues before they surface.

Excellence beyond complaint reporting

It’s not just about tracking complaints, although that’s part of it. It’s about creating an end-to-end experience where requests and issues are prevented or resolved quickly. Here are a few examples of where operational excellence is challenging but needed in customer service:

-Onboarding a customer to a new service.

-Sending out a field service technician to fix something.

-Routing customer requests for review or approvals (to the legal department, for example).

-Assigning customer questions to teams outside of customer service for resolution (like a question related to a billing statement).

-Gathering teams to triage and maintain visibility into a resolution.

-Proactively notifying customers affected by a problem.

-Viewing trends in the types of customer issues to determine if you need to automate requests.

-Monitoring the health of customers’ products and services to identify issues before the customer does.

All of that and more is happening now at many of the companies of the subscription economy. Whether it’s a company that didn’t exist a decade ago, or one as established as the company providing your credit card, they’re using new business models that require something deeper than just customer engagement as they focus on the delivery of services digitally.

There’s all sorts of magic happening behind the scenes. When you order a new credit card, what happens after you submit the application on the web? How do you select and receive your weekly meal packages from Zomato? How do those fabulous outfits from Myntra arrive at your door? When you need a ride, how does Uber send someone to you so quickly? If you do not want to leave the house, how do you quickly place your grocery order on BigBasket?

These companies focus on providing a seamless customer journey that is both an easy way to manage an ongoing engagement with customers as well as to deliver the service itself.

Yet too many companies are focused on the wrong thing. They work to improve that various individual touchpoints, instead of looking at the end-to-end journey, which is what matters most.

So how do you modernize your technology to deliver excellent subscription-economy services?

Modernized approach to service delivery

Consider for example, internet penetration and the speed of the shift towards faster connections. It took nearly eight years for India’s mobile market to reach 250 million 3G connections, but a new player with its 4G network added 100 million connections in just seven months.

Digitally mature people influence digital purchase behavior of other individuals. A smooth digital ‘customer journey’ is likely to have great impact on a company’s sales as well as lead to higher customer satisfaction. According a recent study by BCG’s Center for Customer Insight for India, digitally influenced spending – currently $45 billion to $50 billion a year – is projected to increase more than tenfold. It is expected to be between $500 billion and $550 billion —and account for 30% to 35% of all retail sales—by 2025.

To create a great digital-first journeys, everything must be connected and work together. Automated workflows help to connect customer service to the rest of the organization by simplifying request routing, approvals, and issue resolution.

Companies also need to embrace the latest technologies: artificial intelligence and machine learning, virtual agents, the Internet of Things. These are not gimmicks or buzzwords, but technologies that organisations are using now to be more efficient and proactive.

By incorporating operational excellence concepts, companies can ensure their customers receive excellent service—and stay customers.

The author is Sr. Director of Product Marketing for Customer Service Management at ServiceNow

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