A new study from IDC and LogMeIn has confirmed what most CX executives believe: that loyalty hinges on customer support experiences. Fast and effective support will be a competitive differentiator for companies looking to win-over digitally transformed customers and employees.
Nearly 67% of consumers say that customer satisfaction is more important than price when doing business with a company. However, nearly 30% of companies still say that reducing the cost of support is more important than customer satisfaction. With the rules of customer and employee engagement changing, this disconnect is setting companies up for a negative long-term impact. The study entitled: Support Services as a Competitive Differentiator can be downloaded here.
Increasing Customer Expectations
Today’s connected world demands that support and service teams take a greater role in driving customer engagement and loyalty. Digitalization, including the adoption of mainstream social platforms and the use of online forums, is acting as an accelerator on this shift. This is turning customer support improvement into an urgent imperative and making business practices increasingly transparent.
Customers rank better communication and fast problem resolution among their top priorities for customer support. An overwhelming 89% of respondents believe that having a support agent they can communicate with is the most important aspect of a support experience. Companies are challenged to meet this goal due to the various nuances of each user and individual devices.
In fact, almost one-third of respondents say that support took a long time to resolve their issue. 24% say the problem was never resolved. 64%, of consumers report that good support experience results in advocacy and additional purchases. 60% report that they share any bad support experiences.
“Today’s digital disruption signals the need for a fresh support strategy. Service teams are being called upon to fulfill a greater purpose and are in a prime position to create success stories. This leads to better brand awareness, improved sales conversions, and ultimately, repeat business,” says Jennifer Cooke, Research Director, IDC. “As the research shows, the degree to which support is effective is now a competitive differentiator. Companies need to approach it in a more proactive and predictive way or risk damaging relationships with customers, employees and partners.”
Expectations for Internal IT Are Also on the Rise
Negative support experience has a widespread impact on a company beyond just lost customers and revenue. Internal IT teams are under similar pressures from their end-users. In nearly all the topics surveyed, employee experiences and expectations of their internal IT teams matched those consumers have of customer support. This underscores the importance of efficient support across the board. In addition, faulty internal IT support is costing companies in productivity of employees. When users don’t receive effective support, 52% say that they waste time because they can’t perform their jobs. In addition to not doing their jobs, 45% of the time they pull another colleague away from their own jobs and ask for help. The net impact is a dramatic decrease in productivity.
Developing an Effective Support Strategy
Companies are facing a variety of hurdles when it comes to developing a modern and effective support strategy. These challenges range from decreasing or stagnant budgets for support tools (41%) and lack of executive support (20%). They include the inability to scale with current tools and technologies (42%). Even for those that have made some changes to their internal processes or invested in technologies (50% of respondents), only 25% have been able to drive strong relationships due to the lack of adaptability and intelligence capabilities.
The survey did find that technologies like remote support are helping alleviate some of the pain customers associate with support today. Nearly 75% of organisations report using remote support solutions within their environment. 85% of end users say these technologies helped resolve their issues more quickly than other methods of support.
“In today’s competitive landscape, support organisations are being viewed two ways – as a competitive advantage or a detriment to success,” says Dave Campbell, vice president, customer engagement and support at LogMeIn. “As a result, finding the right balance of people, process and technology will be key for companies to mature their support strategy to a point where it will create long term loyalty, customer advocacy, and business growth.”