When customers experience greater value throughout their experience, they consider you and your product indispensable – Accenture

Leading companies are transforming their mindset around customer service: rather than perceiving it as a problem-solving function and cost centre, they’re embracing an ‘end-to-endless’ customer service model. We take a look at how treating customer service as a value-creation function pays off – both for your company and your customers.

From cost centre to value centre

Customer service is often viewed as a reactive process: fixing customer issues when something has gone wrong – effectively positioning it at the end of the customer journey. What would happen if, instead, we started to see service as a value centre and embedded it into the full customer service experience?

70% of organisations see a direct connection between customer service and performance, but 40% say it isn’t prioritised by their C-Suite staff – Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2023

A 2021 study by Accenture revealed that only one in five organisations views service wholly as a value centre – but that these companies achieve 3.5 times more revenue growth than those perceiving it entirely as a cost centre. What may surprise you is that these high-growth companies aren’t spending much more than their competitors. In fact, they’re spending on average only 50 basis points more of their revenue on customer service.

Reimagining the customer experience: what do customers want?

The Accenture study cited above measured 19 different service experiences to gauge their relative importance for both B2B and B2C customers. Results showed that customers in both categories overwhelmingly value proactive services and communications – yet these are the areas in which most organisations fall behind, with only 59% of companies enabling customers to provide feedback on products and services.

Accenture’s research found that three-quarters of B2B customers and two-thirds of B2C customers reported proactive service as important

In addition, the study revealed that customers had a strong desire for service interactions with a trusted advisor, indicating a growing trend for B2C customers to expect B2B-style experiences in their service interactions. While 92% of B2B customers have some kind of dedicated support, for B2C customers this figure drops to 46%. However, more than half of B2C customers say they would like this option – and getting the maximum value out of their purchases emerged as the second greatest value driver for this customer group.

The virtuous circle of feedback: strengthening service to increase revenue

Service channels routinely collect customer feedback and input– data which can be hugely valuable in the creation and improvement of products by identifying unmet product needs. Many companies, recognising the importance of this data, have established Voice of the Customer programs as a formal mechanism for capturing and analysing customer feedback.

B2B customers are twice as likely and B2C customers 37% more likely to spend more with companies they perceive as listening to their feedback on improving the product, according to Accenture

Customers don’t just value proactive service – they’re also willing to pay for it. Accenture found that customers who want proactive service are 30% more likely to pay a premium. And this trend is more pronounced among younger consumers, with 74% of 18- to 24-year-old B2B customers being prepared to pay more for improved service features.

Leveraging customer data insights to drive growth: the role of AI

Proactive customer service requires a deep understanding of customer needs, combined with AI-powered predictive capabilities. Understanding a customer’s objectives at the point of purchase, for example, can give valuable information about how the customer intends to use your product or service, enabling you to provide an appropriate service response.

Younger generations of B2C customers believe virtual agents are 35% more capable of explaining and providing relevant recommendations than older generations – Accenture

Forward-thinking organisations are already using AI to deliver personalised experiences at scale. redk helped the Spanish supermarket chain Consum to achieve its aim of becoming a truly customer-centric business by implementing a suite of automation tools from our partner Zendesk, as well as a chatbot solution from our partner, Laiye. As a result, the company has seen a 40% improvement in customer query resolution and achieved an 8.4/10 customer satisfaction (CSAT) score.

At redk, we have over 15 years of experience in digital transformation, working with our expert partners to identify and implement the best technical solutions for your business. Get in touch to find out how we can help you achieve customer service excellence and drive growth.