In today’s rapidly evolving environment, customers are at the center of the business ecosystem. Millennial customers being tech savvy with high expectations are looking for fast and easy solutions and instant gratification. Customers looking for support for consumable goods don’t necessarily look to queue up to talk to customer support representatives, but choose quick self-help options. They are channel agnostic and often prefer that necessary information is made digitally available. And if their providers are unable to provide them with this omni-channel customer experience, they have limited tolerance and often prefer to switch to a competitor.
To overcome typical customer support and channel management issues, organizations have started to embrace “Shift left” principle that moves the issue resolution as close as possible to the front-line and the customer, at the lowest cost level.
Shift Left accelerates case resolutions and requests by enlightening the customer and agents with low cost, self-help options that lets them solve cases themselves and become brand champs. This setup cuts down calls to support saving revenue and turnaround time. Shift Left also allows agents to be critical and on top of their jobs by utilizing the latest Knowledge Bases, AI and Smart Support. The revenue gained can be pumped into customer experience initiatives which further augments the support mechanism by taking the customer through guided points of resolution.
Shift Left relates to IT Services Management (ITSM), and as a discipline minimizes business and productivity impact on the customer. Many enterprises consider this principle in terms of Service Modeling, for it offers various desirable benefits, for both short and long-term gains.
The Shift Left strategy is critical in showing a commitment to superior-grade customer service and experience while freeing up costlier project resources so that they can focus on executing more mission-critical projects in a timely manner.
Key Elements for Implementing the Shift Left Principle
(a) Knowledge Management: Implementing an effective Knowledge Management process calls for a shift in mindset, which must slowly get embedded in the DNA of the organization’s work culture. This would provide a framework for creating a repository of best practices of customer service in a knowledge-intensive environment.
A Knowledge Management System is the core of any Shift-Left approach. The repeated updates and content refresh keeps agents ticking and helps them close more cases than before. It augments engineer’s productivity making them more focused to deliver when it’s necessary avoiding expensive training costs and alignment programs.
(b) Automation: It’s indeed the most tangible way of reducing cost and boosting performance. Automation helps witness a significant drop in fault percentage, a dramatic increase in process efficiency and drives cost optimization. Applied within a Shift Left system, it removes sluggishness from the system, makes workflows sync and “in-line” with other sub systems bringing long standing efficiencies.
(c) Self-service: This adds value to the customer, and can be the best delivery channel. It results in higher user satisfaction and more measurable business results. Finding the right metrics to measure self-service performance is however too significant to demonstrate any reduction in service low costs.
Imbibing self-service for self-help includes access to portals like FAQs, Wikis, and online references and makes use of all options that are not cost bound. This helps customers understand their challenge and solution at their own pace, making them brand evangelists over time and deflects calls to the support center. It’s a win-win for the enterprise as they don’t incur costs for this support function, yet gain customers.