Investments grow despite organizational barriers to adopting modern customer service strategy and best practices
Oracle today announced the results of a Forbes Insights study that examined the adoption of modern customer service best practices. Commissioned by Oracle, the study “Modern Customer Service: Are You Outpacing Your Executive Peers?” surveyed 415 customer service executives, from organizations representing 10 different industries. The study shows that while companies are investing in new technologies to realize the business benefits of modern customer service best practices, the majority of organizations (62 percent) still fail to grasp the full importance and impact customer service can have when it is an organization-wide strategic goal.
And 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.
Despite the barriers to adopting customer service as an organizational strategy, companies are realizing the importance of investing in modern customer service technologies to deliver the best customer experiences when, where, and how customers want it. 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).
“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, Oracle Applications. “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.”
“Brands realize that customer service is a great opportunity, especially in this omni-channel environment, to begin a dialogue with consumers and to engage and interact with them in creative ways” said Frank Pettinato, senior vice president and general manager of Consumer Connexions, Telerx. “In the world of social media, we see two-way communication and, candidly, millennials are expecting that.”
Summary of Key Findings:
- Modern customer service is not yet considered a high-priority strategic goal: The study showed that the majority of organizations are not fully embracing a modern customer service mindset, with only 38 percent of respondents viewing modern customer service as a companywide priority.
- The role of customer service is still largely misunderstood: Many organizations still narrowly define customer service as a post-purchase function, with executives often not viewing customer service as a key agent for increasing sales (60 percent), retaining existing customers (47 percent), or enhancing their brand and marketing message (85 percent).
- Organizations are more comfortable with traditional customer service channels and traditional measures of success: Respondents indicated that they have a number of concerns about new customer service channels, including integrating them with existing systems (44 percent), cost (43 percent), implementation (39 percent), and technological limitations such as lack of support (36 percent). When evaluating customer service initiatives, respondents indicated there was a relatively low use of new measurement tools such as net promoter score (22 percent) and customer effort score (37 percent).
- Customer understanding is becoming a customer service priority: While only 35 percent of organizations surveyed currently leverage knowledge management systems, 51 percent plan to invest in knowledge management technology in the future, indicating they recognize its importance in delivering what the customer wants—consistent answers, delivered seamlessly.
- 2015 will be a year of modern customer service investment: Organizations plan to significantly increase investments in online customer service (55 percent), self-service technology (47 percent), social media (43 percent) and mobile apps (52 percent) as they strive to deliver a seamless omni-channel experience.
“Customer service is paramount to our organization because we are a monthly recurring revenue business,” said Denise Connors, vice president customer service, at Trupanion. “We know that to be successful we have to retain our customers. Our whole approach is around having a highly engaged customer base and keeping them happy.”
Oracle and Forbes Insights defined “modern customer service” as going beyond standardizing services across channels to achieve personalized customer engagement at every touchpoint.
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