Today, the gap between a customer’s expectations and the customer experience they receive is huge. In our latest customer experience survey, we found that just over one-third of US brands deliver a good experience. What is even more surprising is that, in the five years that Forrester has been collecting this data, this number has not significantly changed.
Delivering good customer service is a cornerstone to delivering a good end-to-end customer experience. Yet few companies undertake efforts to follow best practices. This lack of attention to customer service has significant impacts for companies: escalating service costs, customer satisfaction numbers at rock-bottom levels, and anecdotes of poor service experiences amplified over social channels that can lead to brand erosion.
Mastering the customer service experience is hard to do. Here is a recap of my 10-step program. I’ve reordered the steps a little, but the message is still the same:
Master your strategy
- Step 1: Figure out how your customers want to interact with you.
- Step 2: Align the service offered with your company’s brand.
Plan and run your operations
- Step 3: Don’t offer silos of communication choices.
- Step 4: Reduce the effort of getting service: Understand what your customers are trying to do and enable a successful journey.
- Step 5: Don’t think that your customers will start and end an interaction with you on a single communication channel; empower their end-to-end journey across all channels.
- Step 6: As you work on a service issue, keep your customers in the loop.
- Step 7: Empower your agents to deliver good service: Make their tool set more usable.
- Step 8: Empower your agents to deliver good service: Tame your knowledge problem.
- Step 9: Extend the reach of customer service with social technologies.
Focus on success
- Step 10: Become a customer-centric organization.