Part 1: Defining & Achieving Customer Service Excellence
It’s important to connect customer service excellence with tangible business outcomes.
“Technical Support Excellence is the achievement of the maximum positive impact on profitability and reputation of the company, product, or brand being supported through the efficient and effective delivery of support.”1 That’s according to a recent report by ServiceXRG, a research firm that helps companies retain customers, expand revenue, and achieve cost efficiencies through service excellence.
Every customer service organization wants to achieve excellence for its customers, but what does that mean exactly? This blog series, inspired by the ServiceXRG report, identifies the outcomes we have come to expect from Support, then offers goals and action items that enable us to achieve these outcomes.
Let’s start by stating the obvious: Every customer support organization wants to “do good” when it comes to delivering excellence and customer satisfaction. Many companies make it a part of their mission and vision statements and internal performance goals. And while this is an important first start, it’s more important to connect service delivery excellence with tangible business outcomes.
For example, a Net Promoter Score (NPS) or other indicators of customer satisfaction are important tools in gauging the health of your customers, but responding to more customer issues does not necessarily translate to more revenue and solving each ticket does not guarantee that customers will continue to be loyal. ServiceXRG tells us that “until Support can make a strategic connection to revenue, profit, and strength of the brand it will be relegated to a tactical necessity.2”
Let’s take a look at four elements of B2B customer support excellence and the strategic business impact of each.
Profit Contribution: The customer support function has evolved drastically in the past 10–15 years. A lot of this change has come as a result of technology, with customers now having easy access to online resources like chat and customer service portals, making the entire B2B customer support organization more efficient. And with that comes the implication that support is now being held accountable to the costs of and benefits from support delivery and in turn impact profitability.
Brand Integrity: A favorable impact from customer support will positively influence customers’ likelihood to purchase a new product, renew an existing subscription (as in the SaaS model), and/or recommend a product to someone else. And failure to deliver adequate support can negatively influence the same. The consequences include churn and negative reviews, which not only affect a firm’s reputation, but also the bottom line.
Efficiency: One way to help increase efficiency is with a B2B customer support software solution that collects all tickets in one place and also stores all of the information that the customer service team needs to know about that customer. This consolidation of information makes it much easier for customer support team members to serve customers quickly and effectively because they are not spending time trying to uncover information that the customer has already provided or another agent already knows. Notes and important customer information for future reference allow for easy access by all customer service personnel, and other departments like sales and product development, too. It also enables stronger collaboration among team members which becomes useful in efficiently solving more complex problems.
Effectiveness: Efficiency and effectiveness go hand in hand when it comes to support excellence. Solving issues quickly doesn’t matter if the response is incomplete or incorrect. Keeping the customer informed about the progress of fixing their issue goes a long way in mitigating frustration if a complex issue is not resolved immediately. Effectiveness also means that problems are solved accurately the first time. When the organization shares information about pain points and product issues more effectively, it results in better product development and road-mapping.
We move from defining customer support excellence to establishing goals that connect outcomes to tangible business benefits in Part 2.