Limited Customer Insight causes Technical Service Support Giveaway

They say that in buying quality products – the physical aspect of the product is only 50% of what you actually purchased, the other 50% is the service. Whether we like it or not, the products we purchased, no matter how durable will have some problems that would require attention from the manufacturer.

But as customers, we know that we need and want in as far as quality service is concerned. Did you ever wonder if the seller actually knows what we the customer are entitled to receive?

In a research made by Accenture, it revealed that providers of communications and high-tech products and services give away, on average, 28 percent of the technical service and support they deliver to business customers each year, because they lack insight into what customers are entitled to receive.

The research consisted of two simultaneously administered online global surveys, one for providers and the other for customers. It explored the state of business customer service in the communications services, communications equipment, electronics and high-tech industries, querying more than 650 senior executives from 11 countries.

The research uncovered another sizable problem. Nearly 30 percent of business customers surveyed are considering switching to another provider because they are dissatisfied with the quality of customer service they receive. The research also revealed that 70 percent of business customers said that it’s possible for a provider to create an experience that “locks in” their future business. At the same time, 70 percent of providers said that improving the overall customer experience and customer satisfaction ranks as their main business priority for 2009.

When asked why they are challenged in delivering superior service, the three reasons providers cited most often were their lack of supporting technology (selected by 30 percent of respond­ents), a dearth of trained resources (29 percent), and non-existent definitions of support processes (22 percent). According to providers and customers, the quality and competence of service agents, along with their ability to address customer concerns on the first phone call or e-mail, rank as the two most important factors in delivering a superior, differentiated service experience.

Respondents were asked to explain, in their own words, what they consider to be the main characteristics of a superior, differentiated customer experience. Their responses fell into several categories, the top three of which were: knowledgeable staff and accessible support (32 percent); efficient and timely problem resolution (26 percent); and proactive, personalized solutions (21 percent).

To build the kind of service and support capabilities that can help them achieve high performance during and after the current economic crisis, Accenture recommends six actions communications and high-tech companies should take. They are:

– Enhance the content on the service and support portal;
– Invest more in training and developing customer service agents;
– Enhance the knowledge of each provider’s installed base;
– Improve first-call or email resolution;
– Improve the overall customer experience of self-service, not just reduce costs;
– Implement analytical and diagnostic tools.

Another key finding of the research: providers estimate they will earn nearly one-third of their future customer service and support revenue by 2013 from service and support offerings that do not currently exist.

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