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The whole is nothing without all of its parts

It’s a favourite story. Despite all of your efforts, and your ongoing commitment to continuous improvement, your service delivery results never quite reach expectations. Whether that is the shareholders, the C-suite or your customers, total success is never quite achieved – there is always more to be done.

The whole is nothing without all of its parts

You can take some comfort at least from the fact that it is not just your organisation that suffers in this way, it is a commonly shared experience. Although it won’t satisfy your boss, it might help you sleep a little better!

The UK’s Institute of Customer Service runs a twice yearly survey of customer satisfaction and, for the first time since 2009, recorded an overall drop in 2013. Now this survey covers retail sales as well as after-sales service and so we should not take this one statistic as an indictment of our whole service industry. And, the Institute does offer a hopeful insight in the Executive Summary of its January 2014 report:

“Consumers want a balance of cost and service. When faced with the choice, 60% of customers favour a balance of price and service and will not accept low service levels in exchange for a cheap deal. A substantial minority of consumers – 25% – seek excellent service and are prepared to pay for it, while 15% are highly motivated to find the cheapest deals.”

The bold highlight is mine, but it does point to a significant percentage of people that are willing to pay extra for great service – it is not just a ‘race to the bottom’ on price. And they also strongly correlate customer satisfaction with loyalty and repeat purchase (see diagram) which is what we all want – enhanced customer lifetime value through service.

customer satisfaction graph

So, there is hope.

The big question is, of course “that’s all good, but how can I deliver improvements?” All the obvious things have been done to cut costs and drive up productivity. The answer is to find the not-so obvious areas of waste, and the dark corners that are hiding opportunities for ‘better’. To do that you need the right data and the tools to identify and investigate anomalies and outliers – you need a complete picture of what is really happening in the field.

The chances are that you will have some mobile technology deployed and know “who” is doing “what” – and that information will certainly get you some insights and improvements. Less likely is that you will know “where” and “when” it is happening. The cycle time for most service operations today is so short that the additional context and richness of real-time feedback to portals and dashboards is critical to unleashing the hidden potential of your workforce.

We talk about Intelligent Mobile Workforce Management and Intelligent Fieldforce Performance – and this is exactly what we mean by those phrases. Providing you the tools, knowledge and services to deliver brilliantly. If you want to deliver happy customers, you must put all of the pieces in place. Just having some of the right technologies or some best-practices is not enough anymore if you want to drive up that all-important customer satisfaction line.

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