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Top Enterprise Servicing Goals for 2016

On an annual basis, DMG Consulting conducts a worldwide survey of enterprise and contact center executives and managers. The purpose of this survey is to identify the top servicing goals for the upcoming year. We do this by asking participants to select from a detailed list of servicing initiatives. (Participants can select as many goals as they wish.) 211 individuals from companies around the world elected to participate in this one-question study. This is a large number of participants, given the reluctance of people to respond to unsolicited surveys these days, but is smaller than the 311 who responded to last year’s study of enterprise servicing goals.

Productivity and Cost Reduction are #1 in 2016

The top enterprise servicing initiatives for 2016 fall into the following 8 categories: productivity/cost reduction (23.3%), service quality (21.8%), channel support (16.9%), staff-related issues (10.5%), analytics (10.2%), revenue generation (9.2%), technology (4.2%), and compliance (3.9%). See Figure 1.

Figure 1: 2016 Enterprise Servicing Initiatives by Category for 2016[vc_single_image image=”5541″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”]Source: DMG Consulting LLC, January 2016 (View Larger Image)

Given the emphasis being placed on delivering an outstanding customer experience and evaluating the entire customer journey, it’s disappointing to see that the productivity/cost reduction category overtook service quality for first place in this year’s study. Operating costs should decrease when service is delivered effectively and quickly (i.e., more productively). When improving service quality is the top goal for companies, it opens the door for creative solutions that go beyond cost containment. The good news is that service quality came in second, only 1.5% behind the first-place category.

Top Servicing Initiatives for 2016

The top servicing goal for 2016, cited by 62.1% of respondents, is to deliver an outstanding customer experience. It’s important to note that the percentage of respondents who prioritized this initiative in 2016 increased from 55.3% in 2015. This demonstrates that more companies are coming to realize that although productivity matters (because service organizations are people-intensive), they need to think about how their actions impact and drive customers’ and prospects’ behaviors. DMG hopes that companies will continue to invest in efforts to imbue their entire organizations with an appreciation of the importance of the customer experience and service excellence. Although contact centers (or customer service departments) are the focal point for many aspects of the service experience, delivering great service is a responsibility that needs to be shared by all individuals in all departments of an organization.

The second rated-goal for 2016 is improving productivity, as reflected by 58.6% of survey respondents, up from 48.9% in 2015. Reducing the cost of service came in third, 49.8%, as compared to 46.9% in 2015. Some of the best initiatives improve service quality and productivity. The challenge is to find a healthy balance between what could be diametrically opposing goals, so as not to lose sight of the importance of putting customers’ needs first.

Increasing the use of self-service applications came in fourth place, cited by 48.7% of respondents, as compared to 40.8% in 2015. Given the recent innovations in both interactive voice response (IVR) and Web-based self-service capabilities, it’s good to see companies making investments in these areas. There are many examples of service initiatives that improve the customer experience while also enhancing productivity, including visual IVR, personalization, voice biometrics and improved IVR accuracy rates, as well as by the use of WebRTC to allow, among other things, callers to migrate from a chat session to a conversation with an agent without changing channels.

The fifth-ranked initiative for 2016 is reducing customer effort. 43.7% of respondents prioritized this goal, as compared to only 36.3% in 2015. This is a relatively new goal for companies; it showed up for the first time in the 2015 study. It indicates that companies have realized the importance of putting the needs of their customers ahead of their own. The challenge is to see if companies are serious about this goal and willing to make investments, or are just saying it’s important while they continue to prioritize productivity initiatives.

Final Thoughts

The 2016 study of enterprise servicing goals shows both positive and contradictory trends, which aren’t surprising given that many companies in the market receive, at best, mixed reviews for customer service. More executives and managers are prioritizing the customer experience at the same time as they are pushing productivity and cost containment initiatives. As long as companies prioritize the needs of their customers throughout the customer journey, it’s fine for them to look for ways to do so more productively. The challenge is to find the right balance.