I had to buy a new, integrated refrigerator-freezer recently. I ordered one from a large, reputable store whose heritage is in brick-and-mortar retailing. Their promise to me was that it would be delivered within four working days. Yet, ten working days later, I’m still waiting, and I’m not happy.
I’ve called the contact center three times, and each time I have spoken to a very polite service agent who really wants to help. However, they clearly do not have the right tools at their disposal to resolve my problem. They have put me on hold to ask colleagues or even phoned the delivery company to try to resolve the issue. Still, I’ve had no success, and I’m unhappy.
Perhaps my sentiment stems from the fact that I have deep insight into what may be causing them such problems – but I can’t imagine that I would be any happier if I were blissfully unaware.
Sadly, this retailer is not alone; it’s a vexing problem across many industries. Many Communications Service Providers (CSPs) face similar problems, both with retailing of physical goods and with the sales and service of network services. CSPs are trying to deliver on a customer promise that requires a harmonious and agile dance of data, processes, third-party actions and context. It’s left up to the poor service agent trying to choreograph things at the moment of truth, and they are failing miserably.
Many CSPs I speak to expect to solve these problems with a bright and shiny CSR desktop application or a slick looking web self-service portal. But these are simply veneers masking the awful truth. Without the application of end-to-end case management, business process and decision management, and a platform that allows the same customer processes to be delivered through any channel, for any customer and in any region, their customers will always be unhappy. According to a Gartner report, channels and expectations are increasing, but a human agent will still need to handle at least one third of interactions in 2017.
Pega has helped some CSPs improve customer satisfaction by a whopping 50 NPS points through using case management to orchestrate customer episodes end-to-end. The CSPs’ case managers can now focus on the exceptions because the system is automatically processing the normal cases through to conclusion. Their customers receive the same service experience whether they contact the call centre or serve themselves via the web.
Simplifying customer care with case management is the first step in a customer service transformation across their business. They have achieved astounding improvements, such as increasing first-call resolution, without having to make a wholesale change of legacy systems with the cost and data migrations that entails. The benefit has been realised through improved consistency. CSRs can thereby focus on the exceptional cases that require closer management. The successful CSPs have simplified the service experience for both agents and customers, increasing efficiency, improving customer satisfaction, and enhancing the potential to grow those relationships.
Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for my fridge-freezer to arrive. As my ice cream melts, my future relationship with this retailer is getting cold. I’m not happy.
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