CX as a Profit Center: What Companies Miss When They Focus On Lowering Costs Instead of Driving Better Business Outcomes
By: JC Smith
For decades, from call centers to contact centers, many businesses and organizations have looked at “customer service” as a cost center, and an increasingly expensive cost center as they and their competition are forced to respond to millennial demands for new channels in addition to traditional voice. While adding new channels, including chatbots, social messaging, text messaging, self-help applications on the web and in mobile apps, and others can clearly deliver cost-savings compared to live agent support, given that voice is still the primary channel, adding more ways to engage can feel expensive and risky.

As new technologies came on the scene, for example VoIP for reduction in telecom expenses and routing and the use of cloud to support outsourcing for reduction in the cost of labor, those responsible for operating customer service were drawn into dramatic savings, which worked in some cases, and was disastrous in others. Customers were turned off by long queues, language barrier issues, transfers to other departments causing them to have to repeat information, and more – and the results in some instances were hard cost increases (given longer time to resolution) and soft cost damages (customer attrition, decrease in customer satisfaction and brand reputation erosion).

Today, there is solid evidence that when companies look at the broader Customer Experience (CX) as a means to increase revenues and profits by attracting, retaining and growing “share of wallet”, and invest in delivering a differentiated and personalized experience, their business results are better.

E-consultancy and Adobe reported, based on their annual Digital Trends Report, that the B2B companies they polled named CX as their single most exciting opportunity for 2020 CX.

The Temkin Group’s study, widely applauded in our industry, found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in CX.

A PWC study reported 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience, and the more expensive the product, the more they will pay.

Finally, a Walker study found that by the end of this year, CX will overtake product and price as THE key brand differentiator.

We are seeing dramatic results like these every day at Eventus through hundreds of projects that show investments in creating and delivering great CX drives more sales and more profits – and we are so confident in that calculus that we have innovated gain-share models that provide an incentive for us to help our clients improve their top and bottom lines. Unlike some of our competitors, while we are expert at identifying cost savings and implementing better technologies and methodologies to achieve them, we look at CX as an opportunity for our clients to serve better and to brand better – so much better that the CX becomes a top market advantage.

For some clients, we’ve helped them return to the U.S. from offshore contact centers to deliver more localized service, with highly trained agents augmented with information that assists them in delivering personalized experiences.

For other clients, we’ve helped them implement omnichannel strategies which capture information by customer regardless of that customer’s choice of communications on any given day – whether a voice call transcribed to data, a chatbot that either resolves the problem or automatically directs to a live expert, an embedded service in a mobile app, text messaging or social direct messaging – we’ve helped brands make each customer’s journey smooth and satisfying.

More and more of our new clients are coming to us with their own insights, awakened themselves to the idea that a great CX is a worthwhile investment! For example, I recently created a strategic roadmap for leading roofing manufacturing company focused on servicing the customer and not simply reducing average hold time (AHT).

They don’t manage the operations or agents with a heavy hand on metrics, and as a result, their agents are much happier. This “positive energy” comes across in the service they provide, and as a result of their early efforts, their attrition rate is very low. Today we are working on even more ways this company, and many other clients of ours, can drive tangible business outcome improvements by investing wisely.

In fact, when companies find cost savings (which we help them do) then reinvest those cost savings into CX improvements, they win on both sides of the equation.

In this new year, new ways to think about CX are being driven more and more by the Millennial generation now graduating from high school and college and entering the workforce, bringing with them an entirely different “digital native” experience than GenX and previous generations. GenZ will drive innovation further over the next decade. Their expectations are different, and a company’s ability to reach them and serve them needs to evolve in order to capture their growing economic power.

Bad experiences are driving customers away faster than ever. Based on the PWC report, one in three consumers (32%) say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience, and that crosses all generations.

If you’d like to learn more about how Eventus has successfully balanced the art of ensuring cost efficiency by identifying and implementing programs that allow savings to be reinvested into modern CX programs that are proven to drive great business outcomes, please contact me.

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