The importance of customer service to midsize businesses
Delivering outstanding customer service is central to every business, but is especially important to midsize organizations, which may not have the brand recognition or marketing budgets of their larger competitors. These companies, who typically have between 100-999 employees, tend to have fewer resources to dedicate to implementing new systems and may not have the experience of deploying major new customer service or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
Given these challenges, how are they coping with becoming more customer centric? Recent research by Eptica with 500 midsize U.S. retailers uncovered a mixed picture. The 2015 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study evaluated midsize retailers on their ability to answer routine enquiries via email, the web, chat, Twitter and Facebook. There were wide differences between companies, and a large variance in terms of how they performed on particular channels. For example, Automotive Accessories retailers could only answer 5% of queries asked via Twitter, compared to 41% by Health/Beauty retailers. Yet, on chat, just 14% of Health/Beauty companies responded successfully.
Overall, 73% of all retailers answered successfully on email, 54% on Facebook, 20% on Twitter and 35% on chat. This is despite the fact that the same question was asked across each of these channels, concerning last ordering times for next day delivery. This points to a lack of multichannel integration and a silo-based approach that is not only inefficient, but is also failing customers.
Setting a roadmap for midsize businesses
Recognizing the need for midsize companies to focus on customer service, Gartner Inc. recently released a new report aimed at helping them deliver customer service excellence. Entitled Top CRM Customer Service Processes and Technologies for Midsize Businesses, it includes advice and best practice on determining the customer experience that companies should look to deliver, how to differentiate the experience from rivals, and what to look for when creating a CRM vendor shortlist. As part of the report it lists potential vendors to research and evaluate, including Eptica, amongst others.
Eptica has also been included in the 2015 Gartner “Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center (CEC)” by Michael Maoz and Jim Davies. This marked the second consecutive year that Eptica has appeared in this Magic Quadrant. According to Gartner, this research examines the market for global customer service and support applications for case management, trouble ticketing and problem resolution. The functionality evaluated includes knowledge-enabled service resolution, social media/community management, offer management, interaction assistance tools and service analytics dashboards. There should be agent tools and customer tools, designed on a common platform. For the 2015 report Gartner evaluated vendors on their completeness of vision and ability to execute on that vision. Gartner conducted more than 200 online surveys and telephone interviews with vendor references, as well as more than 750 inquiries with Gartner clients evaluating the products.
Midsize businesses do face resource challenges when it comes to delivering excellent customer service. However, at the same time they can be more nimble and flexible, reacting faster to customer needs and demands compared to larger, more bureaucratic rivals. To achieve this they must have the right systems in place, delivered in partnership with vendors that understand their specific needs and can provide the technology that meets their requirements. They will then be able to increase loyalty, revenues and efficiency – across every channel and interaction.
Gartner, Top CRM Customer Service Processes and Technologies for Midsize Businesses, Michael Maoz, 19 October 2015
Gartner, Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center, Michael Maoz, Jim Davies, 27 April 2015
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