In January 2015, DMG Consulting conducted a worldwide survey of enterprise and contact center executives and managers. The goal of this survey was to identify the top servicing goals for enterprises during 2015. Participants were asked to select from a detailed list of servicing initiatives. 311 individuals from companies around the world elected to participate in this study. This broad level of participation reflects companies’ growing focus on improving service, a trend that is expected to continue.
Delivering an Outstanding Customer Experience is Priority One
The top enterprise servicing initiatives for 2015 fall into the following 8 categories: Service quality (22.0%), productivity/cost reduction (21.2%), channel support (16.9%), analytics (15.4%), revenue generation (12.4%), technology (6.2%), staff-related (5.9%), and compliance (0.07%). While DMG’s study asked about specific initiatives, there is some overlap between the categories. For example, technology applies to most of the other categories, as does staff-related issues. See Figure 1.
Figure 1: 2015 Enterprise Servicing Initiatives, by Category
Source: DMG Consulting LLC, February 2015
The findings from this study, where the customer experience featured prominently, are different from the findings in prior years, when productivity and cost-cutting initiatives always took priority. This is not to say that companies no longer care about keeping their servicing costs as low as possible, but it does indicate that enterprises of all sizes are finally developing a greater appreciation of the importance of customer service and the overall customer journey. Of course, it remains to be seen if companies are going to follow through with the investments necessary to consistently deliver an outstanding customer experience.
Top Servicing Initiatives for 2015
The top servicing goal, cited by 55.3% of respondents, was to deliver an outstanding customer experience. This is an amorphous goal, as it means different things in different companies. Nevertheless, it is significant that customer service was the highest-ranking initiative for the year, as it reflects companies’ growing appreciation of the essential role of customer service throughout the customer journey.
The second and third top-ranked goals for 2015 were improving productivity, as reflected by 48.9% of the respondents, and reducing the cost of service, as identified by 46.9% of all survey participants. This high priority of these initiatives is not a surprise, as they have been in the forefront for years.
Increasing the use of self-service applications came in fourth, cited by 40.8% of respondents. Some view self-service solutions as a way to improve productivity and reduce expenses by diverting customer inquiries away from costly live agents. Others see websites and interactive voice response (IVR) solutions as alternative servicing channels that allow customers and prospects to help themselves when live agents are not available.
The fifth-ranked service initiative for 2015 was reducing customer effort, as reflected by 36.3% of survey participants. This is a very strong showing for a concept that is relatively new to the market and particularly difficult to measure. Customer effort is important, as measuring it could provide an accurate portrayal of how easy or difficult it is to do business with a company. These insights should serve as a rich source of actionable data.