Good customer service is the result of the right attention to strategy, business processes, technology, and people management. This seven-post series focuses on customer service technology and explains the what, why, how, and when technology questions.

Part 1 reviewed the customer service technology ecosystem.

Part 2 reviewed the challenges caused by the complexity of this technology ecosystem.

Part 3 reviewed the tactical outcomes of poor customer service.

Part 4 focused on the ways that the customer service technology ecosystem is changing.

Part 5 categorized technologies based on their ecosystem maturity.

Part 6 focused on what this analysis means to customer service managers.

In this final post, I will focus on where do you go from here, now that we know what the core customer service technologies are, how mature they are, and what their business value is. I recommend a three-step process:

  • Plan for improvements. Assess your current operations against best practices to understand your strengths and pinpoint areas of opportunity. This will help you build a concrete plan for improvements and lay out a technology adoption road map. It will help you answer questions such as “Do I first fix my IVR navigation, launch web self-service, or update my case management solution?” We have assessment frameworks that can help you  understand the maturity of your multichannel offerings, knowledge management operations, reporting, analytics, and organizational processes. This assessment will help pinpoint the areas of opportunities for better customer service.
  • Act on your findings. With your planning in place, it’s time to choose whether to outsource customer service operations and/or technology, buy it from a vendor, or, in unique cases, build it yourself. This decision is very important, as the vendor landscape is broad, mature, and rife with mergers and acquisitions. Partnering with the right technology provider can make or break your operations. Read this blog post to help understand the steps to take.
  •  Optimize. Customer service is no longer viewed as just a cost center. Key success metrics have historically focused on productivity, efficiency, and regulatory compliance instead of customer satisfaction. However, forward-thinking organizations are gradually adopting a Balanced Scorecard of metrics that include not only cost and compliance, but also customer satisfaction, which is more suited to drive the right agent behavior and deliver outcomes better aligned to customer expectations.

Check out our TechRadar™ report for more information about customer service technologies. And see our customer service playbook for more information about how to move the needle on the success of your overall customer service operations.