Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How to keep your customer (happy)?

Focus on customer retention

One of the main reasons for customer attrition is dissatisfaction with a company not showing they understand their customer. Research has shown that customer service directly impacts customer satisfaction and with that attrition rates (1, 2). Having your customer service personalized and targeted on each individual customer is therefore vital. An added advantage to increasing the customer happiness, is
that they are likely to promote your company to other potential customers. Increasing the focus on personalized customer service is therefore an investment that pays off.

But how do you improve your customer service? First of all, customer service is not the one way communication channel it once was for many companies. Customers expect their answers just a few mouse clicks away and will need an easy way to interact with your company if their query isn't properly answered by the information on your website. In that case your customer expects a personalized and timely response to the interaction they initiated. Customers also expect companies to initiate a personalized and targeted message in case of recalls, warnings or other valid reasons why a customer should be informed. If companies want their customers to be happy they need to provide excellent service to your customers on an ongoing basis. Imminent and enthusiastic response are a start, having a special offer or discount with the hope of up-selling the customer is even better. Every interaction with your customer is a chance to get to know them better and to anticipate on their needs.


Let's take a look at an example. Your company offers internet access to consumers. First of all, a customer has to be aware of your service in the region. A potential  customer wants to verify the advertised uptime and connection speed in his region. For this he could contact your customer service, where he expects to get that information. When the potential customer contacts your customer service, you want them to be able to answer this question. Your customer service representative answers the question for the prospect. With the information provided, the prospect immediately wants to sign up. The customer service rep fills out the information provided by the customer. Once the basic sign up information is entered, he is allowed to offer the customer a half year subscription of a streaming service, or free installation support by an on site technician, if the customer selects a faster connection. The customer wants the equipment installed, upgrades his speed and selects the technician for installation. The customer service rep fills that out and as well. The confirmation is sent to the e-mail address specified by the customer. The customer service rep then schedules an appointment with a technician to install the equipment on a date and time best suited for the customer, taking into account the availability of technician. On the selected date and time, the technician shows up at the house of the customer and installs the equipment as agreed. Upon completion of the installation, the customer signs of on the work done.

A couple of months later, the customer calls customer service again, as his internet connection stopped working due to a defect in the modem. He already checked the on-line knowledge article for the potential problems, and confirmed from there that the modem is not functioning correctly. The customer service rep confirms this and immediately schedules a service technician to exchange and install the modem for the customer and pro-actively offers them one month subscription free of charge to settle this misfortune. The customer, who initially wasn't happy with the not working connection, is now satisfied that issue will be solved and has been offered a compensation. His customer journey touchpoint ends positively and next time he talks about internet access providers he is sure to put in a good word for your company.

So how does this work?

The first step, generating awareness of your service, was described a couple of weeks ago in the blog about the Hybris Marketing Cloud. The information about the expected connection speeds is available to the customer service rep and can be queried using for example postal code and house number. Once the customer service rep has the prospect on the phone, and confirms the order, he can immediately create a sales order in SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer. He will also create a service ticket and looks for engineers in the customer region with availability on the date specified by the customer.

On the date of installation the service technician sees all appointments scheduled for him in his outlook agenda on his phone or other mobile device. They also see the necessary equipment needed as this is available as an item on the service ticket. Upon completion of the work, they offer their tablet or phone to the customer to sign off on the work completed with the integrated DocuSign e-signature solution.

The second part of the above example handles a defect. The customer already found out through an online knowledge article that the modem is broken. The scheduling of the service technician works the same as for the installation. The customer service rep now also creates a credit memo for the customer to credit them 1 month subscription fee as agreed on the phone. This credit is automatically replicated to the back-end system, so the customer receives the credit on the next invoice.

Summary of strengths

The main strength of using SAP Hybris Cloud for Service is that customer service and field service are in one application. Different touchpoints, but making use of one single version of the trought (without delay). Your service technician in the field will see the same as your customer service rep on the phone. The customer service rep can schedule appointments with customers immediately and they show up in the agenda of the service technician. The customer service rep can also enter sales order and credit requests which trigger follow up in your on premise SAP ECC system. The best  thing is that every 3 months the features in SAP Hybris Cloud for Service grows and the customer gets all that extras without paying additional fees. With focus on machine learning and AI in the upcoming releases SAP opens the road to more automated processes, thus reducing the need for human interference and delay. That topic will be covered in a blog in the future.