Customer experience is not a program, a department, a contact center, self-service capability, or CRM system—it’s much more. It’s an omnichannel ecosystem, comprised of many components that must seamlessly work together. It’s the result of a culture and approach that spans the entire organization and its suppliers, partners and customers.
A well-functioning ecosystem can take you from chaos to clarity, and enable your brand to shine through. It bears fruit over time. Service that is optimized is a powerful tool—and a differentiator that is very hard for others to emulate.
An effective customer service ecosystem creates value on three levels:
Level 1: Efficiency. The oft-repeated mantra is to handle interactions through the least expensive channel that can resolve the issue, e.g., use self-service as possible (e.g., web-based, customer communities, mobile apps, et al.), and humans when necessary (e.g., contact center as a next level, in-person as a last resort). It’s a generality that usually makes sense; efficient service harnesses the right channel and approach for the right purposes, and is augmented through accurate resource planning.
Level 2: Customer Loyalty. In recent years, research has begun to reveal the powerful connection between high levels of satisfaction and profitability. And given today’s powerful social communities and the opportunity for customers to share experiences, every interaction can have an impact, positive or negative, on the organization’s brand reputation.
Level 3: Strategic Value. Interaction by interaction, every hour of the day, your customer-facing services provide immediate visibility on the effectiveness of the organization’s products, services and processes. When captured and shared, this intelligence can boost R&D and help every part of the organization improve. (Ideally, this encompasses both direct service interactions and—through social listening tools—ratings and feedback through external sources.)