CUSTOMER SERVICE DESK:
AN INVALUABLE SPOKE IN THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE WHEEL
The importance of providing a superior Customer Experience(CX) has only been growing. This is, in part, due to the empowerment of customers, thanks to social media, where every experience (negative or positive) can be immediately shared with millions, and greater awareness and access to information at their fingertips. Other drivers include intense competition; and the expanding experience economy which is characterized by customers seeking satisfaction beyond the normal utility of the product or service that they patronize. Customers want more, and they want it faster and cheaper.
The only way brands and companies can distinguish themselves and stand out is by providing an impeccable CX. Depending on the industry and market you operate in, it can cost anywhere between 5-25 times to acquire a new customer, as compared to serving an existing one. That’s a significant difference, enough to radically impact your bottom line. The shrewd businessman would take note, and ensure that his company’s resources are spent on enhancing the customer’s experience, and not merely chasing new accounts.
The Customer Service Desk can play an important role when it comes to delivering a superlative customer experience. The service desk as defined by Gartner, “is a help desk that is equipped with the resources for resolving service requests and problem calls. It gives the customer service representative or end user the ability to efficiently diagnose, troubleshoot and correct technical-support problems, rather than being a ‘pass through’. The term service desk can be inter-changed with help desk, although some argue that the help desk forms a part of the service desk. Going by the latter, we can say that the service desk takes a more holistic view of the organization. It takes into account corporate strategy and the cross functional needs of the organization. The service desk looks at improving the efficiency of IT (including the help desk) and business processes, by ensuring network operations, system operations, database management, and security management run smoothly, and upgrading when necessary; as a fault in any one of them can disrupt routine processes and adversely affect the organization. On the other hand, as part of the service desk, the help desk acts as the point of contact for IT issues; covers ticketing systems, incident and problem management, and self-service solutions among others. The help desk is primarily tasked with resolving issues, and takes a short-term view of problems.
Role of the Customer Service Desk in providing superior Customer Experience
Support forms a core part of customer service and experience. As mentioned earlier, the experience economy demands brands to focus on creating experiences. It’s no longer just about what the product/service can do for the customer, but how the entire journey – from purchase (in some cases, even pre-purchase) to use, and beyond, makes the customer feel. Repeat positive experiences will lead to customer loyalty. Companies can harness the potential of their service desks to provide superior customer service, to maintain an edge over competition.
Here are a few pointers to effectively use your organization’s service desk, in order to provide a superlative CX.
How do you gauge the performance of your service desk? A few metrics can act as a guiding light: Customer Satisfaction Surveys (to assess how customers feel about your service, the shorter you keep these, the better), an analysis of how your IT support services measure up, in comparison to business risks and their effect, and how preventive is your service, as compared to being reactive – this is vital, because, the best customer support is when you don’t have to be contacted in the first place. While some companies still use ‘call length’ as a metric, don’t fall into that trap. Vying for shorter calls could lead to a rushed customer experience, which will not go down well with your customers.
Open and clear communication with customers fosters trust, even if it’s regarding an issue that is negatively affecting them. Delayed responses and understating the problem only builds anger and frustration, and that certainly won’t lead to a good review. Customers should be kept updated on down times, the impact on them, alternate solutions etc., in an easy to understand manner. It can either be through personal interaction, or automated messages and status-tracking tools that are at their disposal. Keeping your customers in the loop, and giving them the power to track the status of the problem, alleviates their feeling of helplessness and frustration, which are emotions that commonly crop up when dealing with technical issues. It’s a simple and effective way to turn a negative experience into a positive, or at least neutral one; in line with the concept of service recovery, wherein, through a planned and well-thought strategy you can turn a disgruntled customer into a satisfied, or even delighted one.
In a connected world, it sometimes becomes difficult for a customer to pin-point the exact cause of a technical problem. If his/her phone is acting up, is it a hardware issue, software bug, a specific app, or an update gone wrong? There could be numerous reasons. And this is just the case for one device, extrapolate this problem to a much larger network of several connected devices, a smart home for example, and you get a tangled web of potential suspects. When the customer reaches out with such a problem, they want the problem resolved, and while it may not concern your specific device or app, it works in your favor to come to their aid. Because, the customer will remember that you addressed their concern, despite your product/service not being at fault. This is how you can stand out, and be remembered for providing an exceptional customer experience. It might be standard procedure to wash your hands off the issue, citing ‘it’s not your problem’, but, a more willing competitor might be inclined to go the extra mile, winning the heart and wallet of your customer.
Customer Service Desk and Bottom Line
There is more than just the touchy, feel-good stuff when it comes to a well-designed Customer Service Desk. The service desk can be a source of revenue in more ways than one.
Consistent good service can lead to customer retention and loyalty. And in light of the number quoted previously in this article, regarding the cost of acquiring new customers, it just makes good business sense to invest in customer retention strategies. A Harvard Business Review (HBR) article from 2014 stated that customers that rated their experience highly had a 74% chance of remaining a member for another year at least, and on an average, were likely to be members for another 6 years. Couple this with the data that loyal customers, on an average are worth up to 10 times their first purchase, and you’ve got compelling monetary reasons to invest in providing experiences that keep customers happy.
2.The Cost of Unhappiness
An unhappy customer can write a bad review, tainting your reputation, and driving away prospective customers, thereby causing potential losses. But, there are actual losses too, as it costs money to return to the good books of a dissatisfied customer. It takes 12 positive experiences to overcome 1 negative experience. However, to make up for a bad experience, the company must be aware of it in the first place. A study found that 90% of customers don’t report their grievance to the concerned business, instead, they choose to never return. This clearly indicates that organizations can’t wait to be told that there is a problem, they have to be proactive and continuously assess their service desk, to make sure that customer experience is at a satisfactory level. Alternatively, improved customer service can reduce customer care costs by up to 33%.
3.Happy Customers Spend More
According to the aforementioned HBR article, ‘Happy customers are likely to spend 140% more than those who have had poor experiences’. They are also more likely to give your company good reviews. Nothing beats a word-of-mouth recommendation! And given that news of bad customer service reaches more than twice the number of people as good customer service, you would want to garner as many positive recommendations as you can. Additionally, customers are more willing to pay extra for superior quality service.
THE FUTURE OF THE SERVICE DESK
An organization that wants to stay relevant in the market has to adapt to meet the evolving needs and behaviors of not only its customers, but its workforce as well. And the organization of today is being populated by millennials. A Forrester report estimates that ‘By 2022, 52% of the workforce will be dominated by millennials. In order to cater to these tech savvy, instant-gratification seeking, self-helpers, organizations need to employ Service Desks that can match up to their demands’. The IoT, BYOD culture, and consumerization of IT is blurring the line between work and play. And these digital natives expect the same ease and convenience in their work-related tools, as they receive in their consumer lives.
The need of the hour is an new age service desk that can keep up with millennials as the workforce and customers. This New Age Service Desk has to combine elements of AI, Automation, Analytics, and more, to be holistic, user-centric, and preventative. As these technologies become a part of our everyday lives, it is only logical for companies to embrace them, in order to serve customers better.
CSS Corp - New Age Service Desk
Keeping with the times, CSS Corp has a service desk solution that caters to the needs of today’s smart organization. Our new age service desk solution provides superior experience, availability, and remediation, by focusing on the major influencers of end-user experience: Data, Devices, and Drivers. The service desk supports and enables the entire end-point eco-system, and provides personalized solutions by studying the end-users, using AI and advanced analytics.