By Mark Ashton, VP EMEA Customer Workflow at ServiceNow
In recent years, our concept of customer experience has evolved as the expectation of smooth and seamless interactions becomes increasingly apparent. The term ‘experience economy’ is more applicable than ever.
In this economy, exchanges between vendors and consumers must emphasise the effect they can have on people’s lives.
Now, vendor choice is heavily reliant on the level of service. It’s more than just a factor, it’s a differentiator.
Organisations must implement customer service solutions to discern how they can better serve the customer at a lower cost. But achieving this aim relies on choosing the right solution, and navigating this decision can be challenging.
Choosing the right solution
Business leaders need to consider how a solution integrates with their enterprise, how future proof it is, and how efficiently it addresses specific pain points. Those who fail to consider all elements run the risk of investing in an ineffective system and poorly automated processes — both of which ultimately do more harm than good.
The process of identifying your own specific pain points can vary from organisation to organisation. A lot of business investment in the past has concentrated on the front-end customer experience, such as web interfaces and a variety of touchpoints through social media, live chat, email or telephone.
This level of accessibility is meant to be a benefit, but in many cases there are disconnects between these contact points that fail to collectively track issues. This results in customers having to navigate through a series of multiple interactions to solve a problem that should be resolved in just one.
Additionally, we often see a ‘messy middle’. Disconnected systems and labour-intensive processes mean requests get stuck in bottlenecks, and manual tasks leave room for error. Together, these multiply inefficiencies and time wasted at the expense of customer frustration.
Resolving the issues facing organisations with CSM
Solving these problems lies with how we orchestrate tasks between customers, customer service and other teams across the enterprise, to quickly resolve issues and requests.
Customer service management (CSM) as part of a digital platform has the power to do exactly that. However, this needs to be implemented effectively. It’s about identifying the right use cases and programs that will enable people, processes and technology to work in tandem.
It comes down to clarity and collaboration: how can you offer great customer service when you don’t know who’s responded to a request in the first place? You need to identify where CSM fits into an enterprise from the front office through to the back, in order to control the process and enable task level agreement between departments so they take ownership of a case from end to end — all the way to its resolution.
The importance of platform providers
What’s equally important is using modern, platform-based solutions for CSM. These grant the ability to build a centre of excellence within your organisation which you can also expand across the enterprise through low-code and no-code configurations — without needing additional plug-ins. This way, you’re laying a strong foundation that can scale with your business and customer service requirements. As a case in point, Swarovski, a global retailer specialising in crystal jewellery and watches, has leveraged ServiceNow Customer Service Management to be more efficient in the way it manages customer requests, streamlining response times and transforming agent productivity. This has resulted in a 55% reduction in service caseloads compared to the previous solution.
It’s not just about choosing the right solution, but also the right partner to support your CSM both now and into the future. For example, impact programmes — like those offered by ServiceNow — provide enterprises with the tools to gain full insight into how they’re using the solution, and impact teams will work with you to ensure implementation is successful.
From here, a shared vision is vital to continued success. A partner should keep the organisation’s roadmap up to date in terms of technology innovation by constantly reviewing the market. This also helps to address whether the enterprise needs to code a customer service solution, or simply anticipate later platform releases that can be planned into the roadmap.
Another key part of this journey is applying partner learnings from the success that other businesses have achieved with platform-based CSM solutions in your relevant industry. Ultimately, the aim is to reflect the ethos of clarity and collaboration for futureproof customer service.
The foundations of futureproof customer service
When implemented in this manner, CSM makes it possible to permanently fix — and even prevent — issues by connecting the contact point and customer service to other departments through workflows. Customer service can identify and assign issues directly to field service, engineering, operations, finance, legal, and more.
The next step would then be to look at automation tools for enhancing efficiency further. Once workflows have been established, an enterprise has the visibility to identify other bottlenecks in its customer service processes and understand how these can be changed. More specifically, how AI or machine learning may be implemented to automate and/or optimise lengthy, repetitive processes across teams for faster resolution.
By making these changes, an enterprise can gain the added benefit of increasing employee capacity. Automated processes enable teams to move away from those repetitive tasks and shift their focus to high value work that requires a human touch — ultimately enhancing the customer experience even further.
Thriving in an experience economy
Every organisation needs the right customer service solution in place to meet the growing demands of an experience economy. But we also have to acknowledge that macroeconomics have driven us to a certain point in time where we must do more with less.
To address both elements, enterprises require CSM technology that enables teams to collectively solve problems and optimise processes for more efficient resolutions.
This comes down to choosing and implementing the right customer service solution, as well as collaborating with the right partner to keep you on the path to a more proactive approach.