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3 Tips From Service Leaders on How to Boost Efficiency and Accelerate Service Transformation in a Downturn

In times of economic uncertainty, investing in service is an investment in your company. Hear from leaders at Fisher & Paykel, Vocus and nib Group on how to harness automation and develop a foolproof customer service business case.

Service leaders are being asked to do more with less. Kickstarting a service transformation and harnessing automation holds the key to boosting efficiency and supercharging personalisation. Here, leaders from Fisher & Paykel, Vocus and nib Group share advice on how to harness automation and develop a foolproof customer service business case.

The value of service amid uncertainty

In periods of uncertainty, customers have heightened expectations of service. With less disposable income, consumers tend to become more selective about where they spend their money. Customer reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, and effective service experiences make all the difference in keeping them on-side.  

Increasingly, leaders are recognising that service goes beyond queries to a call centre. When service agents have a 360-degree understanding of a customer, service becomes a revenue driver. With all the relevant information at their fingertips, your agents can make personalised suggestions and upsell useful products and services. On the flip side, poor service could damage your company’s reputation and dissuade customers from returning. 

In 2022, here’s how customers felt about service:

  • 94% say a positive service experience would make them more likely to repurchase
  • 88% see service and product as equally important 
  • 48% have switched brands for better customer service

*State of Service Report, Fifth Edition  

The key to securing customer loyalty in an economic downturn is to automate menial tasks so your service team can focus on delivering personalised interactions. Harnessing automation will pay dividends for your company – according to Salesforce research, Customer 360 users have seen a 27% decrease in support costs, with a 32% increase in customer satisfaction*.

So, how can service leaders accelerate their transformation efforts and reap the benefits of automation? Sales leaders from nib, Fisher & Paykel and Vocus share their advice on how to write a compelling business case and get your leaders on board. For the full checklist and more expert advice, download our e-book, Building a Case for Service.

Ready to kickstart your business case for service transformation?

Start here with our Building a Case for Service eBook.

Tip 1: Evaluate your existing workflows so you can optimise your processes

Rudi Khoury, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Digital Transformation at Fisher & Paykel Appliances

Fisher & Paykel is an appliance manufacturer with a presence in more than 50 countries. The company boasts a large network of contacts, including builders, designers, retail partners and a legion of dedicated customers.

At Fisher & Paykel, we know that having great support at every stage of the customer journey is good business. Great service bolsters our brand’s reputation, secures customer loyalty and ensures word-of-mouth recommendations. 

To do this, all departments need a 360-degree view of a customer. Having that complete customer view improves efficiency, as it gives all your employees the knowledge and tools they need to best serve a customer’s needs — all in one place. 

So, where to start? My number one piece of advice is that you take the time to evaluate your existing processes. In the case of Fisher & Paykel, we made efforts to understand how each workflow played out in our different companies and regions, so we could work out how to streamline them across the board. It’s important to involve your employees in these conversations — they’ll have the best insights on how to improve your processes. 

Once you’ve understood and streamlined your processes, you can look for ways to make them more cost effective. Harnessing automation will make your employees more efficient and help you cut costs, while giving you the tools to wow your customers. For example, we’ve automated all communications so our customers are informed at every stage of the purchasing journey, whether it’s appointment reminders, supplying warranty information, or creating seamless return processes.

Tip 2: Balance personalisation with efficiency

Katrina Trenkner, Program Director, Customer Capability, nib Group

nib Group provides health and medical insurance to more than 1.5 million people in Australia and New Zealand. It is also a global distributor of travel insurance through nib Travel, providing financial protection and assurance to travellers wherever they are in the world.

We know that when an agent provides efficient and personalised service it becomes a revenue driver. For example, a member might contact nib to pause their health insurance policy because they’re going overseas on holiday. This is a great opportunity for that agent to offer our travel insurance options and any additional services we have to help prepare them for their trip.

However, personalisation should not come at the cost of an employee’s time. Automation is a big focus for us — we don’t want agents to do anything we can easily automate. We’ve set our sights on automating menial tasks so agents can focus on great service, not admin. 

Automation can also bring unexpected benefits. For example, Service Cloud transcribes all voice calls in real-time so agents don’t need to take notes. And, with many of our customers overseas, we’re able to complete the transaction in the local language using real-time translation services.

Want more advice from Aussie and Kiwi Service leaders?

Download our latest e-book, Building a Case for Service.

Tip 3: Pair vision with value for a great business case for transformation

Brady Jacobsen, General Manager, Digital and Customer Experience at Vocus

Vocus Group is a leading provider of specialist fibre and network solutions that connect people, businesses, governments, and communities across Australia. Its business has grown significantly with the acquisition of multiple brands, including Dodo, iPrimus M2, NextGen and Commander.

Your business case will be the most important component in getting a service transformation across the line. You need to be able to demonstrate how the service transformation is an investment in your company and its people, as well as how it will drive revenue. 

As you can imagine, charting the ROI is critical to getting your execs on board. However, it’s not the only piece of the puzzle. A great business case tells a story, by pairing your company’s long-term vision with the numbers. 

To chart the vision and value, you can outline the financial and non-financial benefits of service transformation. On the financial side, you can look at revenue attribution and customer experience uplift, rather than a straight cost-out. On the non-financial side, you could cover improving productivity through automation or the opportunity to simplify your IT stack and sunset legacy systems that are no longer driving your business forward. 

Celebrating your long-term vision will also become key once you enter into the implementation phase. Outlining what you could achieve is what will get your employees excited about the transformation. And remember, the vision needs to speak to them, not at them. Take your employees on the journey by showing how the technology platform will make their lives easier and help them reach their performance and professional goals.

How to kickstart service transformation

Ready to kickstart your service transformation but unsure where to start? Download our latest e-book, Building a Case for Service, to get your step-by-step guide to creating a boardroom-ready business case, paired with advice from Service leaders on how to get your execs and leadership on board.

Download our latest e-book,
Building a Case for Service

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*Source: 2022 Salesforce Success Metrics Global Highlights study. Data is from a survey of 3,706 Salesforce customers across the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Australia, India, Singapore, Japan and Brazil conducted between June 8 and June 21, 2022. Results were aggregated to determine average perceived customer value from the use of Salesforce. Respondents were sourced and verified through a third-party B2B panel. Sample sizes may vary across metrics.

Salesforce Staff

The 360 Blog from Salesforce teaches readers how to improve work outcomes and professional relationships. Our content explores the mindset shifts, organizational hurdles, and people behind business evolution. We also cover the tactics, ethics, products, and thought leadership that make growth a meaningful and positive experience.

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