Customers expect to receive efficient, effortless, personalized service from brands. But those experiences often disappoint. Companies know that good service is important; for many, customer service is the cornerstone of their customer experience strategy.  

Per Forrester, a unified governance model for customer service delivery is no longer a nice-to-have but an imperative. Governance must include four key elements to ensure successful customer service programs: 

  • A cross-functional governance board: As part of the new focus on customer experience, many firms are moving from isolated process improvement projects to broader customer-centric programs that span departments and require the alignment of technology purchases, data usage, and diverse data inputs. These firms leverage governance programs that clarify the roles, responsibilities, escalation pathways, and measures of success that a customer service program needs to succeed.  
  • Technology governance: Governance programs must unify tech purchases and enable integrations across enterprises so customer service personnel have a consistent view of the customer. This often starts by thoroughly auditing all similar technologies that the enterprise owns before purchasing any specific technology for a customer service initiative; in many cases, the organization has viable technologies that it uses elsewhere. 
  • Process governance: Customer service leaders often lack the ability to enforce consistent processes across disconnected sources of information and knowledge. Governance programs for customer service must define and implement consistent agent-facing and customer-facing processes that govern the flow of data, information, and contextual knowledge during service interactions. Consistent processes benefit customer service by improving agent efficiency, reducing agent training times, driving policy compliance, and personalizing service. 
  • Data governance: Customer service pros know they must enable their organizations to deliver a consistent service experience across communication channels and touchpoints. To do so, they must address data consistency, data quality, and data issues.  

Ultimately, contact center professionals should lead the charge toward governance models that tame behaviors leading to bad customer experiences. Different components of governance (i.e. committees, charters, and data governance) all must shift accordingly.  

Forrester Principal Analyst Ian Jacobs is available for interviews to discuss further.