Saturday, May 7, 2011

Smart Services Impact on Satisfaction and Loyalty

The Customer Institute does not usually editorialize. Rather, the emphasis is on research findings that can be translated into improved satisfaction and loyalty performance by companies. However, with the rapid advancement of web technology and usage, the following comments are offered without supporting research.

As the web emerges as a secure platform for delivering products and services, the customer experience is also changing with it. The technology has given the customer an almost instantaneous access to companies. This access includes both products and services. We see advertisements that show customers doing real-time comparison shopping. Prices are being compared even as the customer enters a store.

While real-time comparison shopping for products is here today, there appears to be an obvious next step that customers are sure to take; namely, seeking more immediate services. We have all lived with companies asking us to wait for service. Often the wait includes either a multi-day wait or at least a multi-hour hour wait. The customer is expected to be available and wait for the service rather than have the service available and eliminate the customer wait.

With this immediacy of access to companies to request service and compare service availability between service providers, there is a possible new paradigm for service delivery that represents an opportunity to improve market position by companies who provide services. The company that can develop a service operation that can respond to this instant access may be able to gain customers and simultaneously improve margins on their services.

We believe, the bottom line is that the web is changing the company-customer relationship. The power of the web enhances the power of the customer by giving the customer instant access to multiple companies when seeking service. While some companies may see this as a loss of power, the wise companies will find ways to reposition their service offerings to capitalize on this next generation customer.

Research has generally shown that the longer customers wait the more likely it is that customer satisfaction and loyalty will be adversely affected. Call centers know that satisfaction is reduced dramatically when a customer waits. The same is true for on-site service and even for car repairs. Yes, most everyone expects to wait at the doctor's office or the dentist's office. But, the last place we want to wait is the emergency room at the hospital. But these may also begin to change when the customer is given choices (if the President doesn't take those choices away).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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