Customer Service Solution: A journey...

By Ameet Chowdhury, Senior Director -IT/Head- Global IT Operations & Service Management, Capgemini

With the growing need to retain and acquire new customers in all the industry sectors, a robust customer service solution always provides an edge over the competition in many ways.

Customer service solution is a silent player, mostly operating in the back-end. In order to enable an organization with this cutting edge solution, one needs to have underpinning components in place. These components are not new and always existed and not only restricted to People, Process and Technology. A robust and strategic combination of these components along with automation can help organization to exponentially succeed in increasing and retaining their customer base. The end result of these combinations should not be always restricted to addressing the customer queries, feedbacks, and complaints with agility and consideration, but also provide value added direction for enhancement and new launches of products, solutions and trends. A satisfied customer always brings in more business and hence more revenue.

Below depicts the key elements of a customer service solution and technologies associated to provide an impeccable service and a value added direction.

1. Intelligent Routing

This is the most important element and the first touch point for a customer. Routing existed since earlier days, when people used to route and provide direction to the ones asking. Nowadays, this is mostly related to technology routing calls wherein the IVRs are configured in a way to filter the query of the customer, prioritize the customer, direct to a skilled resource and thus ensuring the query is responded satisfactorily and with agility. This approach not only helps the customer to narrow down the problem towards resolution but helps the organization to staff and plan its skilled resource in efficient and effective ways.

Studies have revealed that one of the biggest pitfall of such solution can be long wait times, and too complicated, lengthy routing logic. This can potentially frustrate or irate customers creating a negative perception about the organization or product.

Mostly all the big telco product organizations as Cisco, Avaya, Siemens provides such feature with its contact center solution. However, there are niche and skilled players also which enhances customer centricity further.

2. Query Management

Tools with query management features allow service providers to register and track the resolution of customer issues and concerns by assigning, managing and escalating support cases. The support landscape can be from a shared inbox to a multi-channel hub of inbound and outbound communications with collaborative features. It depends on the organization and their existing and target client base to strategize and define the support model and surrounding tool that they need to possess for a result oriented and highly efficient customer centric process management.

Many organizations have introduced automation and bots to streamline the query management system till resolution, in a streamlined and far more efficient ways than ever before.

One of the most important parameter for success in management of queries is via regular performance dashboards and operational reporting on level of service and customer satisfaction.

3. Self-Service Portal and Knowledge management

In recent years nearly all customer service platforms have integrated self-service portals. Within introduction of such portals, customers can create their own support queries; search the knowledge for resolution etc. This takes care of the non-value added repetitive tasks from the in-house support staff, and they can now focus on more value added innovative activities.

This brings in another critical element of support from both customer as well as support staff standpoint and that’s creating, updating knowledge management systems, and its integration with multiple tools having direct or in-direct connect with customer, support, and sales organization.

Self-service portal, exhaustive knowledge base and management of the knowledge goes hand in hand with an integrated support team and governance to unleash the full value of their products to customers and help organization in increasing their revenue base either via direct or indirect channel sales.

With the introduction of chat bots, many organizations have given extra bit of interactive focus to the customer, wherein the bot chats with customer on his/her queries, and directs the customer to a solution existing in the knowledgebase.

4. Multi-Channel Support

Several years back, multi-channel support would be either via direct connect, emails or phones. But with the social media coming into the dimension and with more people being actively involved in social media, organizations needs to ramp up their support model and reach by multiple folds with innovative technologies.

Newly innovative technologies creates multiple channels across multiple social media platforms to collate queries, complains, suggestions on related product to a central hub. The compilation is then feed onto multiple teams across the organization as support teams, strategy teams, marketing teams, analytics teams etc to respond proactively or reactively to the queries, upcoming trends and demands. The response which is the output can be via multiple channels similar to the input. Hence the permutation and combination of response increases exponentially, and so are the process and technology complexities.

5. Data and Analytics

Recently one of the most important factors for a success of product or a brand is targeting the right audience and providing personalized solution to their needs. This is not only related to a successful query or complaint management, but more proactively identifying the future needs of customer and providing them the same to have an edge in the highly competitive market.

Having complex and variety of data collated from multiple complex data sources, the need of the hour is to identify, assess and project the meaning of the data for the product, brand or organization and its correlation to the behavior of customers or consumers.

Hence arises the need for integrating data from multiple sources, converting that raw data to something sensible and analyze the data for conclusion. This gives birth to a marriage between high-end technology performing extraction, transformation and loading of data with analytical brains and processes understanding, converting and correlating those data to tangible strategies and outcomes.

Through a combination of the tools, process and technologies, a successful organization can not only fulfill the need of the customer but also propose an innovative solution, which will make his work and life more easier; and hence will get more business and revenues for the organization. 

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