Effective service delivery can be transformed by the effective and clever integration of appropriate technology.
Anybody who has ordered over the internet and received an instant confirmation email showing everything is correct will know how effectively it reduces purchasing anxiety, especially when followed up with further emails showing order progress. Or the effective application of a CRM system that gives all relevant customer facing staff a single (and 360°) view of a customer’s status in real time.
But organisations are still getting this wrong. A recent example of bad practice we came across in our work was where instead of being asked to select a product by name on the web site, they were asked to pick an SKU number. The back-office system had not been versioned for the front-end customer.
Effective use of technology is increasingly becoming a condition of play, a price to pay if you want to even remain competitive.
However, what has the capacity to make the service experience transformational is the effective integration of technology with the human experience. This is something SalesPathways term High Tech + High Touch, which is shown below:
It is the combination of these two things delivered seamlessly that delivers memorable, distinctive customers experiences, which drives up both repeat business levels and referral rates.
The reason many businesses struggle with this concept is because their structures and processes militate against seamless integration. See article The 10 Causal Reasons For Poor Service Delivery.
Rigid, functional structures encourage responsibilities to be atomised into neat silos. The customer experience will cross several functional areas, all of which will have a technology component; how is the voice of the customer championed as they make the journey through those experiences?
Which brings us to the other challenge connected to, but different from structures, that of the management of processes. If you design an optimum customer service process and then map it against what currently exists you will see where the service improvement work needs to be done.
By taking a strategic view of technology, integrated into the roles of front-line customer service people, you can deliver significant competitive advantage to your organisation.