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Driving customer loyalty in a disaggregated industry

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Steve Zannos of NEW Customer Service Companies presented on customer loyalty in an industry with lots of third parties involved. NEW provides service support to companies who sell products and works with 30,000 independent service agents – everything from single technicians to large depots to national networks. They try to drive customer loyalty through this wide network of service companies. NEW supports the whole customer service lifecycle from purchase to installation, support, upgrades or renewals right through to disposal.

Customer loyalty is critical in the current economic climate, as previously noted, because it is harder than ever to acquire new customers. Reducing the leakage of customers through churn/defection is essential. Customer satisfaction is impacted by service quality. Generally customer satisfaction starts high and drops when something goes wrong (more or less depending on the product and how involved people are in the product) while returning to original or even better levels if the customer service exceeds expectations. This is the focus of NEW – how to make sure customer satisfaction and this loyalty nounce back when service is needed.

The key challenge is in maintaining visibility and control of the service experience given the disaggregated marketplace. Not all of the servicers have IT connections to NEW and some of the servicers are not even automated. How parts are provided by companies to independent servicers also varies hugely and this has a significant impact on customer satisfaction.

Key steps then:

  • Customer Care
    Contact center or web portal is the critical first impression. Real-time appointment scheduling, rapid parts ordering and, most important, troubleshooting to solve the problem without a service visit.
  • Service Management
    Real-time updates of service events and visibility to activity – eliminate delays. Need to be able to support customers when they call and get proactive with customers wherever possible.
  • Analytics
    Using analytics to reveal trends to help decision makers and show product reliability. Capturing transactional data and using this to reveal trends about products and about the service chain.
  • Quality
    Customer satisfaction monitoring and using these measures to improve service delivery

Parts management turns out to be very important and NEW manages parts from multiple sources while using its data to improve parts forecasting and diagnostics for problems.

Sadly he did not actually spend much time talking about how they manage customer loyalty – he articulated the problems well but that was about it. I would be curious if they use rules (I think they are a Corticon customer) or their recent acquisition of ServiceBench (which has rules and analytics capabilities) here.

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