The surest path during a recession is to invest in and even overcompensate in making every strategy, process and system that directly interacts with customers as efficient and streamlined as possible. Given the choice between spending a dollar on increasing customer loyalty by making your company easier to do business with versus not doing anything, it’s clearly better to err on the side of investing in customer relationships. Earning loyalty is critical today.
Analytics are often used in customer service and service management departments for resource planning and forecasting, managing the service management system to optimal levels, also for defining schedule and route optimization, in addition to Fleet Management.
All of these strategies for using analytics lead to exceptional internal efficiencies – but let’s face it – this economy has sent a very loud and clear signal – it’s a very critical time to keep the customers you have and gain new ones through exceptional, over-the-top service. Using analytics to lock down customer loyalty is possible, profitable and a strategy forward-looking company in a broad range of industries are pursuing today.
Consider the following key points about how analytics can be used to make service more customer-centered and capable of fulfilling the goal of locking down loyalty:
Service Level Agreements (SLA) need to be exceeded during this recession – and analytics can tell you if you can or not. Instead of just “getting by” on the measures of performance you commit to customers on, go after the ones specifically in your SLAs and do an exceptional job on them. When it comes time for contract and service renewals, your service strategies aimed at delivering exceptional performance can form the foundation of keeping the customer.
First time fix percentage needs to continually go up, even faster right now. Do you know what your first time fix performance is? Get a hold of that figure and track it down and then begin to create a time series of it. Chart it over time, work with your service department to figure out how to drive this figure up. Consider it a leading indicator of customer loyalty.
Attack manual processes that cost you money and automate them over the Web instead – now. Consider the fact that your customers live in a 24/7 world, why force them into a 9 – 5 world that is further constrained by when your RMA Specialists are at their desk? Automate the RMA process online. QVC, HSN and other mass merchandisers who must make multichannel management work to survive are doing this today. On the tech side specifically in the B2B arena, HP and IBM are masters of this as are dozens of component suppliers.
Get your service act together and create a dashboard to measure performance. Realize that service is the path to locking down customer loyalty in this recession. Get a dashboard together and start measuring how you are doing on a set of key measures of service performance. Resolve to do whatever it takes to drive up these measures of performance – because they are measures of your ability to keep customers loyal.
Bottom line: Want to lock in the loyalty of your customers during this recession? Use analytics to measure how you save them time and respect their unmet needs by trying to anticipate their needs with more targeted and efficient services strategies. When in doubt exceed their expectations on SLAs and measure – and celebrate that. That’s where the future of any company’s viability is.