Magazine Article | March 26, 2013

Smarter Services: The Benefit Of Connecting With Your World

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

By John Carroll CEO, The Service Council,,

Giving your customers a voice — and listening to what they say — can make a big difference in your service operation.

In last month’s article, we explored whether or not service culture is being embraced across the enterprise. We cited advisory board member Wayne Peacock, EVP of member experience at USAA. “When your mission matters and resonates, you have engaged, passionate employees showing up every day to make a difference. Our employees take care of our members because they are excited about our mission, in tune with our core values, and committed to member service.”

Connecting with your world to enable a smarter service culture means more than just establishing a connection with your people. It includes connecting with customers, strategic partners, data/information sources and business analytics, mobile field forces, supported systems, equipment and assets, and all other facets of a successful service organization.

Your customers and their interactions with you are living and breathing organisms, like a cell. Mapping your customers’ journeys step-by-step is a vital step in identifying touch points (onstage and backstage) and the areas for potential improvement.

  • Who is touching your customer (directly vs. indirectly)?
  • What is the overall experience of the touch point (good, bad, indifferent)?
  • When in the customer journey is the touch point occurring?
  • Where is the customer experiencing the touch point (face-to-face, Web, etc.)?
  • Why is the touch point taking place (technical, education, etc.)?
  • How do your customers prefer to interact with you (phone, email, social, etc.)?

Every touch point in the customer journey is a conversion point. The positive or negative nature of that touch point determines the rate of success on the conversion. According to a study conducted on behalf of American Express, with more than 3,000 responses, 87% indicated they were willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service. Whereas 71% of the same set of respondents conducting a business transaction or making a purchase decided not to, based on a poor experience.

Improving Customer Service Pays Off
I recently interviewed Greg Rhoads, VP of select support at Bentley Systems, Inc., a global provider of architecture and engineering software solutions with more than 3,000 employees in 45 countries that serve more than 600,000 customers in over 172 countries. Bentley’s user contact center is responsible for the support of 504 distinct software products in more than 40 different languages, and for years more than twothirds of its users have been on Bentley’s maintenance program, “SELECT.” As a result, its user contact center is distributed across 25 offices around the world and processes over 260,000 service tickets every year.

According to Rhoads, “In 2010 we looked at how to approach our support from a much more user-centric manner and we found that the way we talked to our users could be improved. We realized that whether it was over telephone, chat, or on the Web, we had been treating every issue that came in to support as a new issue.”

Rhoads approached senior management with a plan to improve the user experience by addressing four elements of exceptional service: reliability, relevance, responsiveness, and convenience. The plan called for deploying a multichannel user interaction system and also called for the improvement of Bentley’s Web-based self-service system. Bentley agents have real-time access to the user database, interaction records, a knowledge base, and analytics, all supported by the back office and enterprise resources, including experts and the content they create. The primary goals of this plan included:

  • reduce the time it takes to identify a user
  • improve telephony voice quality
  • roll out and achieve worldwide queues/skills
  • decrease the reliance on telephony support.

Now, with a deeper level of integration among the tools that support a user-centric viewpoint, caller identification takes less than 30 seconds, and after one year the implementation saved $1.3 million across 450 analysts.

Whether your industry is dispatch-centric or not, assetcentric or not, B2C or B2B, best-in-class service organizations have looked at customer journey mapping as the key to establishing a tighter connection with its customers. Are you connecting with yours?