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Study Finds Most Companies Still Don't Grasp Customer Service as an Organizational Goal

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Study Finds Most Companies Still Don't Grasp Customer Service as an Organizational Goal

March 25, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
TMCnet Contributor

While it’s not news to customers that a majority of organizations don’t “get it” when it comes to customer service, it may be news to the companies themselves. After all, they’ve invested money in customer support software, they’ve hired teams of agents and hand-picked a manager. They’ve even included the fact that “customer service is their number one priority” in all their marketing materials. But customers are still complaining. So what gives?

For many companies, it’s about the definition of what customer service is, or should be. Most of the time, the process is still considered by companies to be a series of transactions that will hopefully placate customers and keep them from calling back,  or otherwise initiating contact, too often. We keep our fingers crossed and hope nobody bad-mouths us on social media.

A recent report issued by Forbes Insights and commissioned by Oracle (News - Alert) found that 62 percent of companies still fail to grasp the full importance and impact customer service can have when it is an organization-wide strategic goal, according to a recent SMBWorld Asia editorial.

“According to the study, although 88 percent of respondents believe they are making significant progress delivering modern customer service, the study identified a number of barriers that are preventing companies from leveraging customer service as a true organizational strategy, including limited definitions of customer service, poor knowledge management and customer visibility, and a reliance on traditional channels and metrics,” wrote SMBWorld editors.

Oracle and Forbes Insights defined “modern customer service” as going beyond standardizing services across channels to achieve personalized customer engagement at every touchpoint. Compare this to the traditional focus of customer service, which was defined as closing trouble tickets or getting customers off the phone as quickly as possible. By not tasking the entire organization with customer service and meeting customers in the channels in which they live, companies are missing out on opportunities to make loyal customers for life.

“Consumers today are engaged and empowered like never before and want to get answers to their questions anytime, anywhere, and on any device,” said David Vap, group vice president of Oracle Applications, in response to the study’s conclusions. “The jump from good to excellent customer service is a fairly big one and involves consistent, personalized customer service in every interaction, across every channel. But it can have a huge business impact by helping organizations increase sales, strengthen relationships, and reduce costs.”

Companies may still be investing in too many piecemeal point solutions to succeed. The study found that the most popular areas slated for investment in 2015 include additional online customer service capabilities (55 percent), self-service technology (47 percent), mobile apps (52 percent), social media (43 percent) and knowledge management systems (51 percent). By adding these capabilities in a random way, however, they may be working against the goal of building enterprise-wide customer support.

Today, many cloud contact center platforms offer powerful multichannel capabilities natively integrated with one another, allowing (for example) agents to cross channels in the same interaction (something customers are already willing to do), monitor social media and reply to social media posts in a similar manner to phone calls and other traditional contacts, integrate seamlessly with knowledge bases and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions and offer advanced capabilities like analytics and speech technology.

While companies today are of course eager to preserve their existing investments in technology, those investments shouldn’t be worth more than the goodwill of customers. Call center solutions are relatively easy to replace…customers aren’t. And thanks to cloud contact center technologies, rebuilding the business’ customer support infrastructure won’t break the bank. 

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