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Involving customer service teams in product development can mean 10x higher revenue growth

360 Magazine 
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Involving customer service teams in product development can mean 10x higher revenue growth

Accenture endless customer service

Approximately 60 per cent of brands say they always or often bring their customer service teams into discussions with product development groups, and those who do are reaping the economic benefits, according to research from Accenture.

The Chicago-based consulting firm surveyed 2,030 service leaders, 13,327 B2C customers and 3,248 B2B customers across 133 countries and 14 different industries for its report, End To Endless Customer Service.

Among the findings was that companies which report always involving their service organization in new product development are achieving up to 10X+ revenue growth than companies that keep these functions separate.

This was just one example of how customer service is being seen as less of a cost centre than a source of organizational value, Accenture said. Overall, there was a correlation between the fortunes of those who prioritized customer service.  Faster-growing companies , for instance, reported that they are spending, on average, 0.5 per cent more of their revenue on customer service.

The research also built upon the idea that good service leads to a greater share of wallet. Helping B2C customers get more value out of their purchases made them two times more likely to purchase more, the report said.

This doesn’t necessarily mean customers expect to get outstanding levels of service for free. Younger demographic groups in particular were more willing to pay for premium service, including 74 per cent of B2B Gen Z customers and 36 per cent of B2C Gen Z customers.

Accenture endless customer service

Accenture suggested the objective for customer service departments was to serve as less of a hub for addressing complaints or fixing issues but deepening relationships by getting ahead of problems.

“Truly proactive support demands a deep understanding of customer needs with predictive capabilities powered by data that anticipates and identifies when you’re at risk of not meeting customers’ expectations or promised product or service performance,” the report’s authors wrote. “When you take responsibility for proactively understanding, anticipating and meeting customers’ needs, your company becomes an “invisible” presence they know they can trust.”

360 Magazine Insight

Sometimes when studies look at both B2C and B2B customers the differences are so stark it might have been better to segment the results into separate reports. Not this time.

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In fact, one of the more thought-provoking conclusions from the Accenture teams is that B2C customers are looking for a service experience more akin to B2B. In other words, B2C service teams should act less like troubleshooters and more like “trusted advisors” who will offer advice and ideas throughout the customer’s relationship with a brand.

This would call for a much different approach to hiring and training agents, I suspect, as well as the quality of automation you introduce. If you’re truly a trusted advisor, you’re not constantly looking for ways to deflect your advisee’s calls, for example.

The Accenture report, which is ungated, goes beyond the numbers with several different case studies that could be useful for CX leaders trying to set up these kinds of enhanced customer service departments.


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