Superior Customer Service Capabilities4


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Superior Customer Service Capabilities4

  1. 1. Accenture Electronics & High Tech Solutions Superior Customer Service Capabilities: Key Factors in the Journey to High Performance
  2. 2. Yet, many companies delude them- In this paper, we draw on several Superior customer service is one of selves into thinking that their serv- comprehensive Accenture surveys the hallmarks of high-performance ice experiences truly please their (see page 9) to explore the extent businesses. In fact, for high-tech customers—when, in fact, cus- of the customer service challenge companies, service that exceeds tomers as a group are more angry facing high-tech providers—includ- the industry norm has become vir- than ever about their encounters ing the wide disparity of percep- tually required to ensure repeat with companies’ service organiza- tions between companies and their business and strong customer loy- tions and are taking to the Internet customers on critical aspects of alty. This observation is supported to express their displeasure, often customer service. We also discuss by recent Accenture research, in vivid color via online outlets four key steps that companies which has found that even com- such as YouTube. Accenture has must take to create superior panies providing an “average” found while companies applaud customer service capabilities that service experience are at risk of themselves for the “improvements” foster a high degree of customer losing a substantial percentage of they have made in their service loyalty that ultimately results in customers. capabilities, their customers are stronger financial performance desperately seeking—and often for the business overall. finding—alternative providers of today’s most desired high-tech products. Figure 1 Level of satisfaction with customer service directly correlates with stated loyalty to provider Customer Service Satisfaction Rating 90 Effect More loyal on More disloyal 80 Loyalty 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Extremely Moderately About Moderately Extremely High High Average Low Low 2 Accenture Communications & High Tech Solutions
  3. 3. Loyal customers can have faction experience. Those that have As if that’s not bad enough, cus- a major, positive effect on an extremely high satisfaction tomers today have potent tools a company’s bottom line, experience are nearly 2.5 times that enable them to loudly express more likely to repurchase from that their displeasure with companies but companies’ approaches same company than if they had an to anyone with an Internet con- to service are driving average satisfaction experience. nection—thus potentially having a many customers away. But stunningly, only about one- far greater impact on a company’s There’s clearly a relationship fourth of consumers said that they future business than in the “old between customer satisfaction and would buy again from a company days,” when a customer’s sphere of loyalty. But companies may not be that, in their minds, provides only influence was limited to family and aware just how critical a role that average service, and just 19 per- others with whom they had regular customer service plays in creating cent said they were likely to be contact. In other words, companies a satisfying customer experience— more loyal to such a company. that don’t deliver superior service and, hence, in engendering loyalty. run the risk of incurring the wrath Indeed, Accenture’s technology That means technology companies of bloggers, creative “YouTubers,” industry customer service and sup- whose customer service capabili- and even regular customers who port surveys confirmed what most ties are only as good as those of post their experiences on a host of people intuitively know: that the their competitors will likely lose “review sites” such, more satisfied a customer is with nearly 75 percent of their cus-, reseller- the service received, the more loyal tomers, and companies with which, and he or she becomes—and vice versa. customers have a moderately high The potential damage to the In fact, consumer technology cus- level of satisfaction stand to only reputations and business of poor- tomers that have an extremely get about half of those customers performing companies is virtually high satisfaction experience are to buy from them again. unlimited in a world where tech- nearly 300 percent more loyal than savvy, networked customers hold those that have an average satis- enormous power. “Word of mouth is much more powerful than it’s ever been. Customers aren’t going to write many letters to companies any more. They are going to blog about you, and the smart companies are going to find those blogs.” -Robert Stephens, Founder and Chief Inspector, The Geek Squad. Figure 2 Level of satisfaction with customer service directly correlates with propensity to be a repeat customer Percent 80 Customer Service Satisfaction who 70 would 60 purchase from that 50 provider 40 again 30 20 10 0 Extremely Moderately About Moderately Extremely High High Average Low Low Customer Service and Support White Paper 3
  4. 4. There’s considerable To be sure, many factors contribute interactions with providers, com- disparity between how to high levels of industry churn— panies and consumers differ in maturity, level of competition and companies and customers their impressions about several technology substitution, to name a aspects of service—with the most perceive the state of few—and these survey results do striking difference relating to serv- customer service, as well as not reveal these underlying causes. ice quality. High-tech executives in in the service priorities They do, however, show that there Accenture’s survey think the after- expressed by each group. is a direct relationship between sale service and support their com- how satisfied customers are with panies provide is well above aver- The preceding findings clearly show the service they receive and how age, and many believe their com- the importance that customers likely they will be to continue to panies’ efforts have kept pace with place on quality service—a fact that, patronize a provider. Indeed, any customer expectations. In fact, 80 at least on the surface, has not company that believes simply gen- percent of executives polled said escaped the notice of company erating an average to somewhat they would describe the customer executives. In fact, VP-and-above above-average level of customer service satisfaction of their overall level executives of leading global satisfaction with its service will customer base as moderately or high-tech companies who partici- secure its customer base could find extremely high, with 54 percent pated in Accenture’s technology itself sadly mistaken. To the con- rating their service and support an industry customer service and sup- trary, providing average service— 8 or higher on a scale of 1=very port surveys emphasized their belief just to save money on what’s poor to 10=excellent. Furthermore, that customers’ service expectations largely viewed by most companies three-fourths of executives said have increased substantially in as a cost center—is an open invita- customers’ satisfaction with the recent years. When asked to rate tion for customers to shop else- service they receive is above aver- the degree to which their cus- where. age, with 57 percent estimating it tomers’ expectations for service and was moderately high and 17 per- support is increasing (on a scale of cent saying it was extremely high 1=increasing to a small extent and (Figure 3). Asked to compare their 10=increasing to a large extent), company’s performance to their three-fourths of executives surveyed competitors, fifty-four percent of gave a rating of 8. the surveyed Vice Presidents said that their customer service capa- Yet despite executives’ tacit bilities are among the best in the acknowledgment that customers industry. want much more from their service Figure 3 High-tech executives’ perception of customer service satisfaction Extremely 17% High Moderately 57% High 74% above average About 23% Average Moderately 0% Low Extremely 3% Low 4 Accenture Electronics & High Tech Solutions
  5. 5. Figure 4 Benefits executives believe their new self-service capabilities have generated 93% Faster resolution of customer problems 74% Higher customer satisfaction 67% Lower costs 67% Decrease in calls to the call center 19% Higher costs 4% Slower resolution of customer problems 4% Increase in calls to the call center And those are not the only areas of But consumers have a different But one gets a different impression disparity between companies and opinion. Many, in fact, believe talking with customers. Nearly half their customers. For instance, 77 companies are falling far short of (46 percent) of the consumers in percent of high-tech executives their expectations for customer the survey said they have had to reported having implemented new service from providers of high-tech access customer service channels customer self-service capabilities products and services, as evidenced between two and four times to within the past two years—and by the following statistics from resolve their problems, and 18 per- believe these new capabilities have Accenture’s technology industry cent said they have had to do so had a very positive impact on the customer service and support more than four times. And, despite organization (Figure 4): Ninety- surveys: companies’ “new capabilities,” one- three percent said they’ve seen third of consumers rated their cus- faster resolution of customer prob- 57 percent of consumers tomer service experience with such • lems and 74 percent said they now described themselves as some- providers about the same as—and have higher customer satisfaction. what upset, very upset or 22 percent said it was worse extremely upset when they than—two years ago (only 14 per- accessed customer service chan- cent rated their experience “much nels from such providers better”). Overall, 61 percent of consumers believe technology has 78 percent of consumers still not improved the service they • believe their provider’s customer receive from high-tech companies. service is at or below the level of service offered by competitors Customer Service and Support White Paper 5
  6. 6. Furthermore, when looking at the Conversely, the top service agenda top-three agenda item for them in service agendas for companies and item for companies—increasing the coming year (good enough for their customers, it’s apparent that revenue opportunities from service second place on their list). the two groups aren’t even close to and support—is completely compa- being on the same page (Figure 5). ny-centric and has little to do with In sum, companies have a long way For instance, consumers’ two most customers. Similarly, while only 11 to go before their customer service important wishes for customer percent of consumers said they capabilities provide the experience service are to have their problem value the ability to solve a problem customers seek. solved completely (ranked first, themselves with online tools, near- cited by just under 70 percent of ly 40 percent of high-tech execu- respondents) and quickly (ranked tives said increasing customer self- second, named by 65 percent). help capabilities via the Web was a Figure 5 Top priorities for customer service: companies versus customers Companies’ top priorities Increasing revenue creation opportunities from service and support 43% Increasing customer self-help capabilities via the web 37% Becoming more efficient in handling service calls 31% Improving product quality through insight and action based on customer service data 31% Improving call resolution times 29% Improving underlying information technology systems for customer service and support 26% Improving the quality of agent support our customers receive 20% Doing more selling during the support process 14% Increasing customer self-help capabilities via IVR 6% Selling new extended support agreements 3% Consumers’ priorities Completeness of solving my problem 69% Speed of solving my problem 65% Solve my problem with one service agent 45% Use a logical and efficient process to solve my problem 38% Ability for me to quickly reach a live service agent when desired 35% The ability for me to solve a problem myself with online tools 13% 6 Accenture Electronics & High Tech Solutions
  7. 7. “Customer service starts from customer focus, so our group is trying the bring the service needs of the customer into the product right from the beginning.” -Mr. Yoon C. Lee, Director of Product Development, Samsung. Four key actions can help Address customer support early in manage, and support their config- high-tech companies the support lifecycle. urations while reducing the risk of As customer requests for help get deliver the kind of service unplanned system downtime. By escalated in a company, the cost to integrating Health Checks and that customers demand. serve that customer and address Product Alerts with Configuration Is it reasonable to expect that his or her needs increases dramati- Support Manager, Oracle is able to high-tech companies can rise to cally. That’s why it’s vital for com- offer automated secure notifica- the challenge? In a sense, they panies to do what they can to tions that identify potential risks really have no choice. resolve customer issues as early as to a customer’s IT environment and possible—by, for instance, loading provide proactive advice and cor- In our work with clients around the onboard customer “help” options rective actions to avoid loss of world, Accenture has found that onto a new system, delivering service. customer expectations are crossing technical updates automatically industry boundaries at an increas- through online customer touch- Use technology more effectively. ing rate—to a point at which the points, and providing system diag- Technology can either enhance or notion of different service stan- nostics to provide support person- destroy the service experience. dards for different industries is a nel with better insight into the Judging from responses to another thing of the past. Today, many service problem. These capabilities Accenture research effort—the organizations face dual threats all lead to reduced time to resolve Accenture Customer Service from rapid commoditization and a service event and in some cases Survey—it’s doing the latter in increased competition, which are can prevent a service event, which many companies. A majority of eroding their traditional advan- is in alignment with the customer’s participants (58 percent) in that tages and undermining customer ultimate desire. survey said they are not at all sat- relationships. And guess what? It’s isfied with automated telephone only going to get more difficult in One company that has effectively customer service, which many the future, especially given the addressed customer support early companies have implemented in an emergence of two major trends: in the lifecycle is Oracle attempt to control escalating call the growing complexity of prod- Corporation, one of the world’s center costs. But there’s a differ- ucts and service bundles and a largest providers of enterprise soft- ence between simply replacing massive divergence in needs and ware. Oracle recently won the humans with an IVR system to cut expectations as customer segments Service & Support Professionals costs and optimizing the use of IVR become more fragmented. These Association (SSPA) Star Award for as part of a larger effort to make two trends will be a driving force Innovative Support for its develop- an organization more customer behind the need for companies to ment of real-time diagnostic and centric. The latter requires much stop making incremental improve- monitoring capabilities that identi- more than simply “dropping in” a ments to how they respond to cus- fy system performance problems new system. Furthermore, as one tomers’ request for assistance and, before they affect a customer’s global software company discov- instead, completely reinvent cus- business. Oracle developed ered, there are many technologies tomer support and service. Configuration Support Manager that can have a major impact on (CSM), a proactive automated customer service—not just those Four key actions should be part of capability that provides its cus- that customers use directly. that effort: tomers a simpler way to track, Customer Service and Support White Paper 7
  8. 8. Accenture’s expertise was put to of customer service for these con- lem resolution and easier access work recently at BEA Systems Inc., sumers are agents not having the to knowledgeable help. which found its service and sup- answers customers need and repre- Create a superior customer port infrastructure facing numer- sentatives who are not personable. service experience. ous challenges during a period of Furthermore, “the inability of reps unprecedented growth. For exam- to fix the problem” was the top The majority of customer service ple, in addition to having to keep driver of dissatisfaction with digi- experiences are long and painful. up with a growing array of service tal products and services providers For instance, in the Accenture offerings, the company’s support among participants in the Customer Service Survey, 54 per- organization found itself spread Accenture Converged Digital Home cent of consumers likened their across multiple locations and Survey. To address these issues, interactions with customer service lacking the necessary supporting companies must more effectively to “driving in city traffic: slow and technology and processes. provide agents access to the infor- often requiring alternative routes mation (customer, product, and to reach their destination,” while BEA teamed with Accenture on a transaction) they need to do their 24 percent said their interactions comprehensive program to address jobs, and institute better agent were “like being stuck in traffic BEA’s support organization chal- training and development pro- gridlock with no chance of moving lenges—with the ultimate goal to grams to encourage and reward forward or going back.” These improve customer satisfaction and appropriate behavior. hardly sound like the perspectives cost to serve. Accenture worked of happy customers. Companies with BEA to segment its customers An excellent example of an organi- that can break the mold of subpar and offerings to better understand zation that has taken this to heart service and establish a differentiat- how each would be best supported. is New York City’s Department of IT ed, positive service experience will Finally, Accenture created a new and Telecommunications. New York win fans in the short term and scalable support organization with Mayor Michael Bloomberg believed competitive advantage over the new technology tools and an the city could better serve its citi- long haul. Internet portal for customer self- zens by implementing a central- service. ized, all-purpose call center— To take the driving metaphor a accessible by dialing 311—that little further, consider what high- As a result of the initiative, BEA would quickly direct callers to the tech companies can learn about increased revenue from a new information or resources they the service experience from a “higher touch” offering, increased needed, any time of the day or master: Lexus. The car company productivity of its support person- night. The city’s technology depart- has built its reputation on provid- nel by as much as 40 percent, dou- ment built and launched the new ing an exceptional service experi- bled case submission via lower- citizen service center and hotline, ence to match the quality of its cost Web channels, increased call which is supported by a searchable automobiles. In studying Lexus’s deflections via usage of customer repository of information on more success, high-tech executives could self-service by 15 percent, and than 6,000 aspects of city govern- see that creating a superior cus- reduced response time by 50 ment; an entirely new, integrated tomer service experience requires percent for its most important call center operation; and new companies to shift their thinking customers, improving customer operational processes using com- from service starts after the sale to satisfaction. mercially available customer con- service sells the product; from tact software applications and service is elective—the customer Help agents to be more capable content management tools. New has to ask for it—to service is and personable. York citizens now can dial the embedded in the product or solu- Consumers in the Accenture hotline anytime to speak with a tion; and from service is operated Customer Service Survey showed a citizen service representative, who as a cost center (with “call avoid- clear preference for the human can help callers with a wide range ance” being a key metric) to serv- touch. Eighty-two percent of par- of service requests and information ice is operated as a profit center ticipants said when they seek in 170 languages. The integrated (with customer intimacy being a advice, they call for assistance. Yet system provides callers with more differentiating feature). two of the most frustrating aspects personalized service, faster prob- 8 Accenture Electronics & High Tech Solutions
  9. 9. It’s time for companies Accenture research Authors: to recognize the critical contributing to this report For more information on customer service in the technology industry, role that service plays in Our insights presented in this please contact: generating customer report are not simply conjecture; to the contrary, they are rooted in loyalty and achieving comprehensive, ongoing research Brett Anderson at high performance. that Accenture conducts on related Breaking out of the customer serv- topics—as well as on our extensive ice morass requires an entirely new client work in the customer service Brian Sprague at approach to designing, building and support arena. and sustaining customer support and service capabilities. 1. BPRI Group fielded research of Accenture’s research and client Vice President-level service and experience confirm that all the support executives at 35 global incremental improvement in the technology companies regarding world won’t create the capabilities their customer support and service necessary to keep customers in the practices, capabilities, and infra- fold in today’s hyper-competitive structure. The survey was initiated environment. in August 2006 and completed in November of 2006. As we have seen time and again, service often spells the difference 2. The survey of customers of con- between mediocre companies, poor sumer technology companies was performers and market leaders. fielded between January and Given the results of Accenture’s March 2007 by the Lightspeed research, one could argue that Consumer Panel. It included over many, if not most companies are 1,200 consumers in Italy, United failing the service test today. This Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan is unfortunate because the tools, and the United States, who were approaches and resources exist polled on their perceptions gleaned today for companies to create from over 1900 technology-related world-class customer service capa- service incidents. bilities that live up to customers’ expectations while remaining fis- 3. Accenture Customer Service cally sensible. While such capabili- Survey (2005 and 2006): Survey of ties may be considered by many more than 2,000 consumers in the companies to be an option today, United States and United Kingdom they will be a competitive necessi- on perceptions of customer service ty tomorrow—especially for those across 10 types of providers, organizations seeking to build including high-tech and communi- enduring customer loyalty and cations products and services achieve high performance in an providers. ever changing world. Customer Service and Support White Paper 9
  10. 10. About Accenture Copyright © 2007 Accenture All rights reserved. Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and Accenture, its logo, and outsourcing company. Committed to High Performance Delivered delivering innovation, Accenture are trademarks of Accenture. collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With approximately 152,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$16.65 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2006. Its home page is