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Modern connected commerce organizations cannot exist without an efficient customer service organization.

It is important that the interaction with digital touchpoints and the holistic service portfolio is aligned to offer customers effective and relevant 24/7 services along the customer journey. Stand out from the competition and create unique service experiences!

99% Service Failure – Almost every customer service contact is a service failure.

Realize that 99% of the time when a customer contacts customer service, there is a service failure elsewhere. If the customer needs to speak or write to an employee, it’s a sign that information and/or self-services are insufficient or there are problems with a product. Give your customers the ability to contact customer service on their preferred channel via phone, email or chat without any detours. Don’t hide the information for contacting them, and a fortiori, don’t turn the customer away if their customer number is not available! The biggest faux pas for operating telephone hotlines with on-hold lines are negatively emotionalizing jingles that only make the customer unnecessarily aggressive(er) before contacting the employee or too short recurring automated announcements that can be annoying! Too many questions for routing to the appropriate contact person should also be avoided.

Introduce service levels – Different service levels with trained top service staff for hardship cases are inevitable

It is obvious that not every contact to the service center can be answered with trained top service staff. With a functioning service organization with complementary, digital self-services, this is also not necessary. Collect automated and maintain manual CRM data as holistically as possible depending on data protection. Create structures and technical solutions so that a customer receives the right information or the best contact person as quickly and easily as possible! Example: It is not acceptable that a customer has to call three times to confirm his cancellation of a DSL contract. The compulsive telephone confirmation to win back customers is questionable enough, and if the cancellation still hasn’t worked after three calls, then a drastic reduction is the last spark of hope that the customer will decide to stay.

Make service excellence a top priority – service quality instead of service jungle

Service excellence is the pinnacle of service management. Customers are not simply satisfied, but delighted by unique service experiences. The focus is on service quality, and the mindless processing of service incidents takes a back seat. Service quality can also be made measurable by dividing it into subjective and objective satisfaction indicators and quality assumptions. In this way, customers compare their own expectations with the services they receive. It is important to respond to the customer’s concerns in an empathetic and customer-centric manner. The customer must be made to feel that his concern has been understood and will be resolved efficiently. Also give him the feeling to help when it is already clear that it is not possible or to become complicated. Then create alternative ways to ensure customer satisfaction! Immediately saying “NO” and “CLEAR” is not an option! Service requests may also need to be reviewed and a multi-day turnaround is likely. Offer callbacks and dedicated contacts for such cases! There is nothing worse than making three calls to the service center, having to tell the same story three times to different employees, and then receiving three different answers and approaches to a solution, usually not satisfactory. It is not only in restaurants that consistent quality plays a major role. Criteria for measurable service quality include efficiency, speed, diligence, transparency, availability and human interaction.

Product and technical knowledge are indispensable for service agents

Depending on the severity of the service case and the quality of the solution offered, a customer may be lost forever. Use such hardship cases as a chance to reverse the effect! Convince with professional competence, sympathy and charm! Allow conditionally a personal connection and pay attention in particular to the fact that “a child does not fall twice in succession into the well! Unfortunately, there are not seldom cases where everything goes wrong and several successive problems occur. This must be avoided at all costs!

The interaction between IT and Customer Service Management is often underestimated

The service center or contact center is one of two supporting pillars in customer service management. In parallel, digital or IT-based self-services form the second pillar! This IT portfolio includes, among other things, an e-commerce user area with information on frequently asked questions (FAQ’s), various ways of contacting customers, e.g. chatbots and mobile applications (apps). Of course, social networks and modern communication options such as Whats App, Facebook, Instagram & Co n should also be connected. Technical problems and poor performance have a negative impact on customer loyalty! Relevance and quality instead of actionism and quantity – use customer data to develop service offerings!

Use goodies to make up for service failures

After the service failure is before the next purchase. A purchase voucher can change the mood and keep the customer. With an appropriate voucher in relation to the product or service and depending on the service failure, you can achieve positives. Example: A 25 Euro voucher can work wonders in the fashion sector and keep customers, even though they were actually so upset and only wanted to buy from the competition in the future. Close cooperation with marketing and sales is advisable. A shopping voucher is usually below the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), i.e. the customer acquisition costs to win or win back a customer for the purchase of a product or service. Once again, this shows that interaction with all specialist areas and departments to meet customer needs and solution-oriented, internal communication are essential.

Customer service departments must be integrated into the overall organization as profit centers

It is essential to view customer service as a corporate division with responsibility for business success. As a profit center, customer service is an organizational subarea for which a separate periodic profit can be determined or which contributes to the profit-oriented assessment. Close cooperation between service and marketing, as well as sales, is essential here. Customer service is a fundamental stage of the customer journey. Requests must be categorized and analyzed monthly to optimize the customer experience. All service employees must have competencies and be allowed to make decisions. Follow-up is the best way to show that you really take the customer seriously. The close cooperation between marketing and services should also be used to optimize processes for dealing with customer ratings on rating portals such as Trusted Shops, Idealo or Trustpilot and to develop preventive measures to reduce bad ratings.

Would you like to learn more about Customer Service Management or do you need operational support? Then we look forward to hearing from you!

Björn Pohler

Björn Pohler Senior Consultant / Portfolio Lead E-Commerce & Digital Marketing

Areas of focus: E-Commerce, Customer Centricity, Digital Sales, Marketing