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A new customer service study by Accenture that includes tech support finds most top managers in firms with service support don't have a clue. Don't have a clue, that is, about the real benefits of good customer service and the damage lousy support can cause their companies.
The report also highlights a new and growing problem for companies that have poor customer support -- irritated customers may blog them or, worse, publicize their anger over online outlets.
"Companies that don't deliver superior service run the risk of incurring the wrath of bloggers, creative "YouTubers," and even regular customers who post their experiences on a host of 'review sites' such as Epinions.com, TheConsumersReview.com, and GetHuman.com," according to the Accenture report.
Drawing on different surveys, including one of 1,200 consumers completed in March, Accenture found that a high percentage of users are becoming ever more annoyed at poor customer service. In another survey, consumers were asked to compare their customer service experience with driving in traffic. Fifty-four percent likened it to "driving in city traffic: slow and often requiring alternative routes to reach their destination." Another 24% said customer service was like "being stuck in traffic gridlock with no chance of moving forward or going back."
With top executives, the story was different and inherently troublesome for their companies. Accenture found the two top priorities of company executives were "increasing revenue creation opportunities from service and support" and, second, "increasing customer self-help capabilities via the Web." Accenture cited the differences as evidence that many executives were focused primarily on increasing direct benefits to their companies while focus on actually aiding customers would be more beneficial to their firms in the long run.
Accenture noted that BEA Systems, Lexus, and Oracle Corporation have moved against the grain and have instituted effective customer service programs. By taking upfront corrective action, Accenture said, "Oracle is able to offer automated secure notifications that identify potential risks to a customer's IT environment and provide proactive advice and corrective actions to avoid loss of service."