Identifying Your Customer Care Formula To Maximize Your Customers’ Experience
17 May, 2021
Economic Cycles Can Predict the Typical Customer Service Gap
By Scott Newman, CEO, Transparent BPO
With tireless regularity, the customer care sector is undergoing its predictable feeding frenzy. Once every decade, large, global corporations with thousands of agents spread throughout countless time zones consume smaller, midsized customer care providers.
It happened about ten years ago right after the financial collapse when a series of BPO companies were acquired by larger counterparts. The larger transactions of the day stole the headlines, including HP’s acquisition of EDS, or Dell snapping up Perot Systems or even Xerox’s $2.6 billion purchase of ACS – but a host of non-household brands were being acquired in the background as well.
And it’s happening again.
Startek recently announced its initial investment in an organizations called CSS Corp., leaving open the door to acquire controlling interest of this customer experience company. The end of 2020 also saw a flurry of activity.
Salesforce’s blockbuster deal to acquire Slack for $27.7 billion led a CX buying spree that also includes Adobe, Twilio, Microsoft, Facebook and SAP. These corporations needed contact center infrastructure so they went out and bought it.
These examples of buildouts for CX capabilities by large brands – and expected announcements in the next few months – will have predictable impacts of the broader customer experience – none of it will be good.
I tend to agree with Forrester Research analyst Kate Leggett when she wrote that these acquisitions could change the market landscape for customer experience. But where she maintains that these transactions will improve customer service because of increased spending in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA), I take a different path.
Alternatively, customers seeking help through their chosen brand’s customer care channels will suffer.
These large acquisitions will have to demonstrate ROI quickly for shareholders and this will mean that customer’s service will be commoditized. This will be easier for some companies to do as they seek providers to fill seats in their customer care facilities with employees who aren’t fully trained, who are seeking a transient role and will provide a service that is less than acceptable.
Filling the Customer Care Gap
And the large corporations will be fine with this approach. The number of lost customers who leave because of poor service will be offset by operational savings. And this sets up the cycle of mid-sized companies to fill the “customer service gap” left by the large firms.
Midsized customer care companies make their names by providing exemplary service. They excel in providing great customer service because they look after the basics – the blocking and tackling of CX. They answer customer questions quickly and accurately and improve customers’ lives by some measure – for example, they make their life more convenient; they make it easier to purchase, return or replace an item; or they save them money.
Meticulous attention to detail set the midsized providers apart from their oversized, corporate competitors. They can recruit better staff – this means from the executive ranks to the entry level agents. By hiring experienced , seasoned leaders, a mid-sized provider benefits from decades of experience and can implement the same procedures and practices a larger competitor offers. By selectively hiring motivated employees, these same companies can train new agents who genuinely care about customers. These same employees often choose a career in customer care, enhancing their skills and knowledge through additional training and education to assume supervisory and leadership roles.
From the client perspective, they typically have a better line of sight of how their customers are being treated. They can easily determine and work with the account leaders who work with floor staff daily. They quickly know the questions that are being asked by customers and they know the issues as well as what is working right. When client staff know who to call at their customer care provider, they can react quickly to changing conditions and pivot to seize opportunities. These capabilities are missing in larger companies where there is a void behind the customer care curtain. The client doesn’t know who is talking to their customer, what they’re saying and how the customer is reacting until it’s too late.
This opaque version of the business doesn’t happen at mid-sized companies.
They are the true custodians of customer care – focusing on details – and delivering value to the client and their customer in equal measure. They know how to deliver quality with every customer interaction, whether it’s on the phone, email or chat line.
And they don’t have to be reminded of this every 10 years.