Data, Design, and Culture: Three Ingredients to Great Customer Service

A guest post by Bob Furniss, Customer Care Practice Director at Bluewolf, a consulting practice focused on innovating cloud environments.

Bob Furniss
Bob Furniss
For companies to succeed in this day and age, they need more than just great ideas. The best companies know to combine big ideas with data, design, and a culture willing to adopt them. In the customer service industry, these three elements can make all the difference, helping you drive innovation, elevate your customer experience, and increase agent engagement.

Data helps you know your customers better.

Many companies believe that the more data they have about their customers, the better they can serve them. However, it’s important to focus on the quality of customer information, and not solely on the amount. More data can sometimes be just as cumbersome to agents as too little data; accurate customer data is the key to delivering consistently well-received customer service. To ensure data accuracy, the best companies have established an automated process that checks data quality and alerts managers to potential errors.

Invest in the self-service user experience.

Of all the users of a knowledge base, customers have the least tolerance for a poor user experience. While agents have to navigate the knowledge base every day, customers are likely searching for something the first time. Consumers today have no patience for digital tools that are hard to use; 90% of users report abandoning apps due to poor performance alone.

If self service is one of your strategies, an easy-to-navigate user interface and clear, concise content is imperative.

To keep self-service content fresh, focus on knowledge articles. Make sure every article has an expiration date and periodically review all content. Allow agents to flag cases that require self-service content, thereby alerting the knowledge team and proactively serving customers the knowledge they need to help themselves. To ensure an easy-to-access, engaging user experience, it’s time to invest in mobile case management. With smartphone usage in the US nearing 80%, mobile is becoming customers’ preferred medium for support. Mobile self-service is quickly becoming the hallmarks of forwarding-thinking leaders in customer service.

Reward learning, collaboration, sharing, and improving.

Customer ServiceTo keep knowledge updated and relevant, reward agents by making their efforts and insights visible across the organization. If every agent sees that their work is valuable to both managers and colleagues, it gives them a sense that they are dealing with the “big problems” of the business, and encourages employees to find job satisfaction beyond simply hitting established benchmarks.

Rather than implementing the new initiative as a top-down mandate, consider gamifying the process of knowledge creation by implementing a points economy. Deployment methods vary, but the key aspect is rewarding collaboration in a visible way, whether it be with accolades, perks, or intangibles like access to certain company events. There are many ways to do this — both manually and through gamification applications. To set up a points economy, define the desired outcomes of the program, choose a team to champion the program, communicate the details of the program with the full team, update challenges regularly, and ensure points are automated. Agents will be motivated to document their own internal processes and keep an eye out for emerging self-service opportunities.

To learn more about how the best service organizations are improving the agent experience and service center processes, download 10 Ways to Improve Case and Knowledge Management.