Organisations must mind the customer service gap
Research from Manchester Business School and the Institute of Customer Service has revealed that while customer experience is playing an increasingly important role in our perception of brands many organisations do not currently measure across their whole customer experience.
The report, entitled ‘Beyond Measurement; Customer Service and Business Performance’ discusses how significant changes in customer behaviour and attitude are reshaping the customer service environment and how companies should approach the measurement of customer service to improve their business performance.
This research from the Institute of Customer Service reveals that customers are now using multiple channels to interact with organisations and have heightened expectations of speed of response. It goes on to emphasise the importance of measuring the impact customer service has on the bottom line after revealing that 40% of companies are not measuring the return on investment from customer service.
Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service said: “Our latest research has highlighted the dramatic shift in the way we do business and what business leaders need to do to operate in this new environment. We have moved from a transactional to a relationship economy where an organisations’ success depends on the quality of their relationships, with customers, suppliers, partners and employees so it is critical that they understand how their customers prefer to interact with them.”
“In this relationship economy, customers seek to interact in multiple ways with organisations they trust and to be intimately involved in co-creating products and services. Those organisations that proactively seek collaborative partnerships in order to enhance their agility will be best placed to meet changing customer needs.”
The research, involves in depth interviews with 45 senior executives across 15 organisations, a survey of over 120 executives at different organisations and recent global academic studies into customer service and business performance measurement. It also includes case studies to demonstrate how companies from a range of sectors approach measurement of the customer experience and link it to business performance.
The report highlights a difference in perspective and language between the most senior executives interviewed and others in senior operational or insight roles.
Managing directors and CEOs naturally make the connection between the organisation’s vision, business performance measures and the customer experience. Others in the organisation were highly focused on operational metrics and customer behaviour measures, but did not always clearly relate these to the organisation’s vision for its customers. Insight from this report supports the Institute of Customer Service’s recommendation that employee engagement is key to delivering the best customer experience but that a focus on customer service needs to come from the very top of an organisation.
The research shows that organisations which have improved business performance through customer service continually gather insight about their customers, measure across their whole customer experience and identify the relationships between their customer service metrics and key business performance measures.