The strategic relevance of excellent customer service is growing and the requirements have increased massively, especially in recent years. Digitalization is providing new touchpoints for customer service, while at the same time there is increasing competitive pressure to serve these touchpoints to perfection. It is now up to companies to recognize the potential and take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalization. The pioneers in this area are very successful and are increasing their sales figures through better customer service.
But what needs to be considered in order to provide excellent service in the digital age as well?
Touchpoints - opening up new channels for customer service
In customer service, companies and customers pursue the same goal: to find the right answer to a problem. And to do so as quickly as possible. Digitalization is opening up new ways to achieve this goal, such as chat tools, chatbots, automation solutions, video calls, remote services, augmented reality and virtual reality, and online contact centers. Many of these technologies are available to customers around the clock. It is still necessary to provide customers with personal contacts via familiar communication channels, such as e-mail and telephone.
Experience shapes expectations
At the same time, customers' expectations are rising. Positive and negative service experiences in the private environment shape expectations of excellent service in the professional environment. Experiences that are particularly good stick; they are communicated. Unfortunately, so do bad experiences. Everything in between is quickly forgotten.
Companies are therefore faced with the challenge of serving all relevant touchpoints and channels as cost-effectively as possible while at the same time offering excellent service on all channels. This improves customer satisfaction and creates long-term customer loyalty.
But what characterizes excellent service?
The service culture of a company consists of three pillars: services, processes, and people.
- Services complement the core product. They are a key differentiating factor and thus offer a great opportunity to distinguish the company from competitors. As core products become more and more comparable, services can be a valuable addition and a key decision criterion.
- Processes must be efficient and run smoothly. Here in particular, digitalization offers numerous opportunities for standardization, automation and increased response and processing speed through various technologies.
- People, i.e., the company's employees, are a key success factor for good service. They have to be empathetic, i.e., be able to put themselves in the customer's shoes and situation. At the same time, however, they also need a high level of competence and the necessary freedom to deviate from the standard process for a customer in certain situations.
Excellent service is achieved when all three pillars perform at a high level and mesh well.
Service is an attitude - not a project
Good service is the unconditional desire to satisfy the customer. The benefits offered to the customer through products or services must be relevant to the customer. This approach is a long-term thing. It is not a project with a defined beginning and end. It is an attitude. This attitude must be defined and lived throughout the company. All areas in the company must be aligned with this attitude. Every employee must be inspired by this attitude.
Excellent service is the perfect balance between digital and personal service
The goal must be to create a perfect balance between digital and personal service. Digitalization offers numerous opportunities here that must be exploited. In the area of mechanical and plant engineering, it is therefore necessary that employees in service and support have a tool at their fingertips with which they can answer customers' inquiries quickly, competently and correctly. They need all relevant information about the machine, plant, device or vehicle at a glance: customer- and model-specific with up-to-date information and direct links between spare parts and technical documentation. This ensures that unplanned processes (e.g. eliminating malfunctions) and planned processes (e.g. maintenance, retrofit) are supported competently and satisfactorily.
A digital self-service portal that enables customers themselves to access relevant service information and identify and order spare parts is the optimal complement to personal service via hotline.
Our service information system supports you in all of this.
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