As of the end of February 2022, Accenture has released a new research report: End-to-Endless Customer Service.
The study surveyed 2,030 service leaders, 13,327 B2C customers and 3,248 B2B customers in 133 countries and 14 different industries. It seeks to understand how businesses view customer service and how many use service delivery as an opportunity to create value for both the customer and the company.
The title of the study was finding that one in five companies surveyed now view the service as a value center. In addition, those who do so still experience three times the revenue growth of service providers as cost centers.
The report states that the move “coincides with a shift in mindset around customer service – from seeing it as a problem-solving function and a value center to seeing it as a value-creating function responsible for delivering a memorable customer experience.”
However, this shift in attitude is supported by larger investments in customer service, with fast-growing companies reporting that they are spending more than 0.5% of their revenue on customer service.
Putting this in context, Gartner sees that in 2020 CMOs report that they are working on the expected budget which averages 11% of their total income. So, in a company with $ 100 million in sales, say, it would be equivalent to an additional budget of $ 500,000 invested in customer service each year.
Many in the world of customer service and experience will welcome these results. Over the years, they have come up with suggestions that customer service, support and assistance should no longer be seen as a cost center. Instead, they argue, it should be considered a value-added part of any business and, if done well, plays a huge role in building strong and healthy relationships with customers.
Despite the results of this study, however, customer service will be a reality for many who may face strong opposition to lobbying for an increased budget and increasing the overall operating budget, especially from the CFO’s office.
Instead, here’s what I want to see.
It is fair to say that most CMOs usually have the largest budget in any organization. In this context, I would like to see more CMOs take some part of their budget, equivalent to 0.5% of total revenue, say, and invest in customer service.
This investment, as Accenture suggests, should lead to initiatives that will:
- Increase confidence through increased levels of both active and predictive services,
- Increase usage through more personalized and contextually relevant help to help customers get the most out of their purchases and
- Increase the possibilities by gathering and using insights to help with the product and service innovation process.
There aren’t many CMOs who invest in customer service.
The most progressive CMOs already consider the Communications Center a hub of engagement and loyalty and invest some of their budgets to improve service delivery.
Personally, I want to see a lot of it.
In fact, I would like to see CMOs go further and change the way they use their budgets, so that they become like internal VC financing projects, especially in terms of understanding, service and engagement to help improve the overall experience of both. Customers and the people who take care of them.
Communication centers have long been asking for more funding, support and assistance.
So, could this be a way to help with it and at the same time, close the cross-functional work and break down the silos that hold and hinder many customer engagement initiatives?