The undeniable impact of customer service on business success

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It’s a truism in business that it’s easier and less expensive to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. In fact, there are additional costs associated with new customer acquisition, in the sense that their loyalty has to be built “from the ground up.” After all, there’s only a limited, short-term benefit to winning new customers who turn out to be one-time shoppers.

Here’s where the impact of good customer service on a business is irrefutable. Service agents are often the primary face of a brand. When they provide top-notch service, customer loyalty skyrockets.

To put it in simple terms, there’s a direct, undeniable linkage between customer service, customer retention, and revenue retention.

Given these real economic calculations, it’s not surprising that companies are seeking to bolster customer loyalty by increasing the quality of service they provide.

The growing impact of good customer service on business

As major economies try to recover from the pandemic, one alarming development is the shortage of qualified workers. This is especially true in the customer service industry, where it’s hard to attract and retain high-performing talent – a cursory search of a leading job site revealed nearly a quarter million customer service job openings.

There are good reasons why companies are concerned about the shortage of top customer service agents. For one thing, service agents are one of the main faces – voices, rather – of a brand, since they are typically the only representatives of a company with whom customers speak once a sale is completed.

For another, service agents reside at a critical inflection point: the moment when a customer facing a problem is either satisfied with the service she receives or, more ominously, decides to take her future business elsewhere.

Finally, there’s a pandemic-driven reason for the heightened importance of service agents. Namely, the massive migration of B2C and B2B spend to e-commerce means that in-person sales interactions have, at least temporarily, dwindled. In other words, interaction with a service agent may be the only live interaction a customer has with a company.

Improving the customer service experience

The growing impact of customer service on business has companies focused on improving service to prevent customer churn.

Technologies that provide service agents with full end-to-end visibility of a customer’s history with the company – as well as a view to the specific issue that she is currently experiencing – help resolve problems more quickly. Ideally, they also help agents deliver resolutions with a greater sense of empathy, an element that’s become vital during the pandemic.

At the same time, self-service tools enable customers to solve straightforward issues without spending needless time on the phone or in a chat.

Another way that technology boosts the customer service experience is by improving service agent efficiency. The introduction of AI and machine learning to the customer service environment means that vast knowledge bases of problems and potential solutions are immediately filtered in order to serve up the most likely resolution to an individual customer’s issue.

Good customer service = loyal customers, happy agents

There are many benefits to this approach. For one, customers whose issues are quickly and painlessly resolved are more satisfied, and consequently more loyal. What lingers in the mind is not, “I had a problem with the product or service I purchased” but rather “I had an issue, and it was resolved quickly, and in a manner that made me feel like a valued customer.”

Secondly, speedy resolution of customer issues means that service agents are able to field more calls, chats, and emails. This can alleviate the need to hire additional service agents, which translates into an immediate savings.

Just as important, service agents who have the latest tools and technologies to do their jobs more effectively tend to be more satisfied in their jobs. Happy, satisfied agents are going to deliver exceptional service that drives customer satisfaction.

And keep in mind: It’s far easier and cheaper to maintain existing service agents than it is to hire and train new ones.

Unpacking the impact of customer service on business

When we talk about the necessity for top-notch customer service, there’s a lot to sort out. But regardless of where you are in this, there are three key dimensions that are crucial to consider:

  1. Service agents are the face – and voice – of your brand.
  2. When service agents engage with customers, it’s an inflection point in the customer relationship.
  3. Technology has a vital role to play in customer loyalty and, just as important, service agent job satisfaction.

See the ROI organizations are getting with SAP Sales Cloud and SAP Service Cloud. Get the Forrester Consulting report HERE.

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Kirsi Tarvainen

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