Megatrends for the decade ahead

published by Service 2020, July 25th, 2011.

Megatrends for the decade ahead is a BDO report written by the Economist Intelligence Unit. It draws upon two primary inputs:

• A wide-ranging survey of 479 business leaders in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, spanning all industries and all revenue brackets. All respondents were in management functions, while over half hailed from the C-suite or board level.

• Interviews with eight experts and executives representing various industries.

The writer of the report was James Watson and the editor was Monica Woodley.

Key Findings

Lessons from service leaders

If customer service is going to be increasingly important in the decade ahead, what are the leading practitioners already doing differently today? In our survey, about 16% of executives describe their firms as “excellent” at customer service, relative to their peers. Segmenting these firms against those that rate themselves as merely average, or below average, yields some insights into how some leading customer service practitioners are working:

• While the average firms of today compete primarily on quality, service leaders unsurprisingly already prioritise customer service as their competitive differentiator, far ahead of cost. In line with this, these firms are far more systematic about implementing proper systems for tracking customer feedback and complaints, as well as identifying potential service weaknesses. Nearly 50% more have these in place, ahead of weaker rivals.

• Three quarters of customer service leaders have empowered their staff to make decisions when resolving customer issues, compared with less than half among average firms. And while weaker firms are investing more heavily in standardised service processes, leading firms are prioritising staff training and development, and also working harder to define service standards and goals.

• While both strong and weak service firms see information-enabled consumers as a major driver for change in recent years, weaker firms think communications technology is the primary driver, while leaders see competition as the defining force.
• Service leaders are more focussed on social media already: they monitor it more closely, use it more often to connect with clients and generally collect more external data to feed into their tracking systems. Related to this, a far higher proportion of leaders say their firms are excellent, or above average, at using technology to understand their customers.

• Finally, while service leaders expect to use service to stand out from the crowd, it is largely only the weaker firms that expect typically to charge a premium for this service.
Download the full document here.

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