1 Customer Engagement: Rising to the Customer Service Challenge Business Solution Brochure
2 Customer Engagement: Rising to the Customer Service Challenge / page 2 Companies today are being forced to re-think how they interact with customers due to shifting market dynamics, recent innovations, and a new generation of consumers who expect enterprises to support customer service via a variety of touch points. Introduction Twenty years ago, customer service was nearly universally limited to face-to-face retail interactions or to call centers. But today enterprises face the challenge of addressing a new generation of consumers who expect companies to support customer service via a variety of touch points Web chat, video self-service, the back office, SMS text messaging, and many other communication channels. Clearly, these shifting market dynamics and new innovations have radically altered the way companies interact with customers. What s more, purchasing decisions and impulses are now based upon a new set of criteria and rules that bestow tremendous power on the customer, while marginalizing the power of traditional marketing. Multi-channel creates multi-complexity: Today, consumers can exercise their purchasing power on a variety of fronts: in the store, via the phone, from a computer, or over a smart phone, and they often choose to communicate with companies via Web, chat, , mobile, and fax. These multiple channels, while providing greater convenience for the customer, create new challenges and headaches for a company because they are often siloed operating in isolation from one another. For example, a customer may research a product over the Internet, call the contact center with questions, and later walk into the store to seal the deal. In this scenario, the customer held three separate conversations with the same company, but the company lost an opportunity at each step, since each of the channels was unaware of the previous interactions. Customer engagement is an enterprise problem: When interacting with a company, customers are oblivious and indifferent to the many primary and secondary resources supporting their specific needs they just want their issue resolved ASAP. Unfortunately, in today s tight economy where profitability is king, many companies are neglecting the strategic importance of customer service across the enterprise. But customer service is no longer confined to the four walls of the contact center, and is now the responsibility and obligation of the entire enterprise. The contact center, customer service department, back office, marketing, outsourcers, and branch/remote resources all play an integral role in customer engagement and customer service. The power has shifted to the customer: In the past, customers that received poor service had little recourse other than to complain to friends, and to take their business elsewhere. Today, customers have a booming megaphone. Blogs, Wikis, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media tools provide a tremendous platform where customers can express their dissatisfaction (and satisfaction), and companies have no control over content posted. Adapting to Meet Rising Customer Needs and Expectations How can a company best prepare to meet the challenge of such environments? First, they must recognize that the measures of success have changed. While cost reduction remains a top goal, customer retention and revenue generation have become equally important. Therefore, for many companies, the pendulum has swung from a focus on traditional priorities toward gaining a more holistic view of the customer. To that end, savvy companies are implementing key customer engagement strategies. These strategies strengthen customer relationships and optimizes business outcomes by proactively engaging customers with the ideal customer service experience through any channel. Unlike traditional customer service, which was separated from the core of the business and largely seen as a cost center designed to minimize overhead and quickly complete
3 Customer Engagement: Rising to the Customer Service Challenge / page 3 interactions, customer engagement aims to identify the customer need, transactions, and value in order to appropriately engage with them and strengthen the relationship. Why is this important? Because customer relationships will drive long term growth objectives in four areas: 1. Likelihood to recommend: Engaged customers make brand recommendations to friends 2. Willingness to purchase more: Engaged customers purchase additional products 3. Reluctance to switch: Engaged customers are loyal to a brand or company 4. Ability to contain costs: Engaged customers are the least-expensive to service Ingredients for Engagement and Loyalty Differentiating through customer engagement requires a long-term commitment, and should encompass an enterprise framework that addresses the challenges inherent in the following five customer-engagement ingredients: interactions, resources, infrastructure, processes, and performance. Differentiating through customer engagement requires a long-term commitment, and should encompass an enterprise framework that addresses the challenges inherent in the following five customer engagement ingredients: interactions, resources, infrastructure, processes, and performance. 1. Interactions: Every interaction with a company creates a lasting impression on the customer. And today companies must scramble to successfully manage many different types of interactions a challenge that is compounded as customers jump channels during the course of a sales or service process. In addition, social media is providing an empowering platform for customers to very publicly discuss a company s product and brand for better or worse. 2. Resources: A company s brand connects with customers through a plethora of resources including agents, outsourcers, knowledge workers, at-home agents, back-office, and automated systems. These resources represent the engine for growth objectives and should be optimized for efficiency, effectiveness, and driving the bottom line. 3. Infrastructure: Legacy infrastructure and disparate hardware and application systems exist in every IT infrastructure. The challenge is to cobble these individual parts together into a powerful customer engagement machine. The synergy of these assets will support a company s customer engagement strategy by empowering every employee responsible for customer service, sales, and support. 4. Processes: Every customer interaction incorporates an underlying customer process. For example, calling the insurance company to file a claim automatically initiates a process involving many organizations across the enterprise. Often these processes are managed independently in the back office through a Business Process Management (BPM) or Service Request system. Unfortunately, many of these systems lack the visibility into resource availability and business priority to meet service level requirements. The challenge is how to ensure that the back office achieves similar efficiencies as its front-office/contact center counterparts. 5. Performance: Since customer engagement is driving growth objectives, senior executives and business managers are scrutinizing customer service operations. Unfortunately, most Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and reports don t provide the visibility into how the customer experience and engagement impact business outcomes. Performance Management and analytics will increasingly play an important role in helping business executives gauge customer engagement effectiveness and guide the decision-making process.
4 Customer Engagement: Rising to the Customer Service Challenge / page 4 Savvy companies are implementing key customer engagement strategies to strengthen customer relationships and optimize business outcomes by proactively engaging customers with the ideal customer service experience through any channel. Strategies for Creating Brand Loyalty As detailed above, interactions, resources, infrastructure, processes, and performance represent the five key customer engagement ingredients. But how can companies develop a cohesive, actionable strategy that brings them all together to help drive growth? Interactions In developing its strategy, an organization must plan for a wide variety of customer interactions which can occur through any communication channel, without losing continuity or starting the transaction over. Even in a single channel, such as the phone, customers should be able to start in voice self-service and easily move to a human without having to be re-verified or repeat their transaction details from the start. Cross-channel Conversations: Every day, customers unwittingly have multiple discreet conversations with the same company. For example, a customer may receive an offer from the online marketing organization of a bank. The customer may then research the offer on the Web site and perhaps engage in a live Web chat with an agent. The customer might later call the contact center to dispute an item on a recent bank statement. Finally, the customer might walk into the branch to conduct some regular business. In this scenario, the customer had five separate interactions with the bank through , Web self-service, Web chat, phone, and branch. Unfortunately, the bank was unaware of these separate conversations and missed several opportunities to connect the dots and perhaps up-sell on the initial offer. Most enterprises have created a siloed approach to their many channels. and chat resources often reside outside of the phone-centric contact center. As customers increasingly jump between channels, companies must begin to tear down the walls separating their voice and non-voice channels and link the discrete interactions that occur over time into one conversation. If an interaction begins in one channel, it must seamlessly transition complete customer data when another channel is used. This process requires a comprehensive technology and operational strategy shift: Technology: How can companies leverage and virtualize existing investments within each of the silos to create a virtualized environment across all channels? Most organizational silos are comprised of legacy ACD, CTI, and IVR systems, and e- mail, chat, and SMS applications. Each of these different systems should be aware of each discrete interaction and supporting customer data touching an individual customer. Operational: As the technology platforms across the many silos are virtualized, companies will need to leverage their entire pool of resources to effectively manage all of their voice, Web, and mobile channels. Companies have a reasonable degree of control over inbound voice, Web, and mobile interactions, but when these interactions migrate to social medial channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and other social forums, the company abdicates control and the discussion is dictated by the consumer. If managed properly, however, these vehicles can become constructive brand feedback forums to advance brand loyalty. As companies appropriately engage and respond to social media posts, tweets, and forum rants, they will drive a powerful customer dialogue that recruits a new army of brand enthusiasts.
5 Customer Engagement: Rising to the Customer Service Challenge / page 5 Resources Competent resources can make a tremendous difference in minimizing costs while also delivering high levels of customer service, combating customer defections, and attaining revenue objectives. In today s challenging economic climate, resources can be a company s greatest asset or greatest liability. In fact, customer-facing resources can account for up to 60% of a company s operational overhead. As a result, organizations are looking for ways to optimize the performance and effectiveness of these resources across the enterprise. For most companies, these cost, quality, and growth objectives are in direct conflict with one another. To strike the appropriate balance, companies are investing in Workforce Optimization (WFO) initiatives with the goal of gaining visibility into operational performance, streamlining operations, and driving revenue into the business. Through ongoing optimization and edification, workers are happy and challenged and will become effective brand ambassadors to customers and constituents. Infrastructure Voice over IP and soft phones are replacing traditional infrastructure. And as companies add instant messaging and unified communications, the applications used to interact with customers are not always in a central hub as they have been in the past. In addition, a myriad of Internet-based knowledge applications and self-help tools enable consumers to access information directly. Differentiating through customer engagement and customer experiences requires a long-term commitment, and should encompass an enterprise framework that addresses the challenges inherent in the following five customer engagement ingredients: interactions, resources, infrastructure, processes, and performance. A company s workforce relies upon countless technologies, systems, and applications to engage customers and create brand champions. For most companies, building this environment from disparate legacy systems may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, today s application interfaces and Web-standards provide the tools to leverage existing investments and create a customer engagement infrastructure that empowers agents, customer service representatives, and back-office workers: CRM Applications: Incorporate valuable customer data to manage and prioritize interactions. BPM Applications: Align customer-service processes with business priority and value with the ideal resource. ACD and PBX Hardware: Virtualize disparate telephony hardware systems to manage voice interactions while integrating Web and mobile interactions. Unified Communications: Leverage presence at the desktop for contact center, branch/remote, and back-office resources. Homegrown Applications: Utilize SDKs to incorporate home-grown applications into the customer engagement framework. Processes An effective process strategy needs to embrace Service Delivery Optimization, a group of solutions that captures all of the appropriate customer processes and ensures they are followed across the entire interaction. Service Delivery Optimization: Every customer engagement strategy is dictated by an underlying set of customer-related processes. Unfortunately, many of these core processes are detached from the overall customer experience and not prioritized by business value
6 Customer Engagement: Rising to the Customer Service Challenge / page 6 Companies are increasingly realizing that customer retention and loyalty are important drivers to achieving a competitive advantage, and are re-evaluating their customer engagement strategy to ensure a customer service experience that is convenient, competent, personalized, and proactive. or service level requirements. Consider the following example: A high-value customer may call their bank to initiate an application for a home equity loan. The experience with the bank to apply for the loan over the phone was extremely pleasant. Unfortunately, those positive feelings are eventually extinguished when the application is mired in the back office for three weeks. After growing increasingly frustrated, this customer decides to take their business elsewhere. What went wrong? While the bank may have prioritized the customer s initial phone call based upon their valued status, the bank missed a prime opportunity to similarly prioritize the customer s application (the business process) in the back office to win the home equity loan business. Performance Finally, a company needs the ability to monitor the customer experience and make changes as needed. Companies have traditionally generated very detailed statistics reports, which often were too granular to be of use to high level business executives. One of the key solutions to bridge the divide between business users and executives is visibility into operational performance, which serves as a dashboard to dynamically present key information that can easily be used, based on critical measures of customer operations. Today s large enterprise is capable of producing millions of data points associated with daily customer activity and engagement. Phone calls, Web clicks, chat sessions, and purchases all paint a disconnected picture of an individual customer experience. As a result, every company must create a complete and integrated view of each customer across multiple products and channels. At the same time, they must also measure the performance of agents, customer service representatives, and other customer-facing resources to determine their impact on the bottom line. Ultimately, companies must measure business outcomes in the following areas to guide decisions and ongoing refinements. Customer Segmentation: Based on customer activity, status, and purchase history how can a company classify customers current and potential profitability? This insight will guide how individual customer interactions are prioritized, managed, and targeted for specific opportunities. Similarly, by fulfilling the needs of each customer by segment, companies can better engage their most profitable customers for incremental revenue. For example, by segmenting its customers based upon needs, a large Canadian bank has grown its market capitalization from $18 billion to $50 billion over a six year period. Anticipate customer needs: Predicting customer behavior is essential to engage customers and create the optimal customer experience. As such, companies will need to transform the plethora of customer activity from the phone, Web, and other sources into actionable insight that is both relevant and timely. Agent performance: Agents and customer service representatives are on the front-line to minimize customer defections, personify a company s brand, and drive revenue growth. While today s agent metrics focus on raw interaction details (average call time, calls in queue, etc.), many organizations fail to correlate business outcomes associated with individual agent activity. For example, the company may be concerned that an agent s call time exceeds the average, but are they also aware that this agent had the highest cross-sell/up-sell rate? Measuring and aligning business outcomes with standard operational metrics is essential as the resource pool becomes the new engine for revenue growth.
7 Governmen Business Solution Brochure Customer Engagement: Rising to the Customer Service Challenge / page 7 Conclusion New innovations, shifting market dynamics, and a tough economy have radically altered the way companies interact with customers today. Even more importantly, enterprises now face the critical challenge of addressing a new generation of consumers who expect companies to support customer service via a variety of touch points. In response, companies are increasingly extending the customer service role across the enterprise. What s more, companies increasingly realize that cross-selling and customer retention and loyalty are important drivers to achieving a competitive advantage. Therefore, many are re-evaluating their customer engagement strategy to rise to the challenge of giving customers what they want a customer service experience that is convenient, competent, personalized, and proactive. Already, a few best practices are emerging: An enterprise needs to deliver ease of contact and short wait times, through any channel the customer prefers. Humans or self-service tools need to have fingertip access to all necessary information and be consistent across all channels Companies or Web sites need to recognize and remember the customer and use existing information about them appropriately. A company must proactively reach out to customers whether by phone, text message, or other channel to inform them about relevant products and services (while still respecting the need for permission and being mindful of customer preferences). To that end, savvy companies are implementing customer engagement strategies that ensure a holistic view of customers across all critical points of contact, and harmonizing customer care goals with business goals. These strategies require a long-term commitment, and should encompass an enterprise framework that addresses the challenges inherent in the following five customer-engagement ingredients: interactions, resources, infrastructure, processes, and performance. The advantage of employing this strategy is clear: those companies that rise to the challenge of revamping their approach to customer engagement will be the winners in today s competitive marketplace. Corporate Headquarters Genesys 2001 Junipero Serra Blvd. Daly City, CA USA Worldwide Inquiries: Tel: Fax: Genesys is the world s leading provider of customer service and contact software with more than 4,000 customers in 80 countries. Drawing on its more than 20 years of customer service innovation and experience, Genesys is uniquely positioned to help companies bring their people, insights and customer channels together to effectively drive today s customer conversation. Genesys software directs more than 100 million interactions every day, maximizing the value of customer engagement and differentiating the experience by driving personalization and multi-channel customer service and extending customer service across the enterprise to optimize processes and the performance of customer-facing employees. For more information visit: or call GENESYS. Genesys and the Genesys logo are registered trademarks of Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc. All other company names and logos may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved v2-11/12-u.s.