Service Life Cycle Management
How to score with service
The consumer electronics retailer industry is a good example of a market in which companies can no longer achieve significant competitive advantages with their broadly similar core services – i.e. the provision of consumer electronics and digital devices. All the more important, therefore, is a service portfolio that is tailored to the expectations of customers across all communication and sales channels.
An excellent customer service journey in three steps: Which services are feasible, which are in demand – and which are actually worth investing in?
The more accurate the analysis, the more successful the investment
In order to provide a sound and transparent basis for decision-making a global retailer commissioned 2B DIGITAL to answer the following questions: Which services do we currently offer to our customers through which channels and which are actually available in the market? What are the strengths and weaknesses of competitors in this area? And how can a targeted realignment of these services help to differentiate the company from its competition as much as possible?
Lack of transparency in own service portfolio
Until now, the client did not have a precise overview of the services actually on offer across its markets and whether they reflected the wishes of end customers.
To assess the company’s service portfolio in key European markets, it was not only necessary to differentiate between sales channels (store, online, call centre, mobile) but also to take into account a large number of national differences. In some countries, for example, sales were largely handled by franchisee partners, which made the company’s evaluation and control options considerably more difficult.
Due to these heterogeneous structures, soft factors (such as the friendly attitude of employees) were deliberately excluded from the analysis. Instead, the focus was on objective, controllable aspects of service availability.
Three measures for greater clarity
What do consumers expect? What services are actually offered by the company to meet these expectations? Where are their service gaps – and how can they be closed? To answer these questions, 2B DIGITAL chose a three-step approach to project development, starting with the identification of 60 best practice services.
In parallel, customer research surveys were launched, which asked up to 400 customers per target market about their service experience. This included people who purchased their digital devices either from the client or from competing retailers.
Another criterion for the selection of respondents was a recent service case, presented by the customer either in store, online or via the call center. The surveys focused in particular on customer requirements in the service area. To do this, video and online interviews were conducted in which customers were asked about their needs, preferences and expectations.
To gain as accurate a picture as possible of the customer experience, mystery shoppers were used, who purchased digital devices not only from the client but also its competitors. Next, standardised defects were produced on the devices – initially this was limited to typical warranty cases, and later it also included cases not covered by the warranty. The mystery shoppers documented their experiences with these repair processes in a questionnaire.
The results of the customer research and mystery shopping projects were evaluated as part of a gap analysis, which revealed the gaps between customer expectations and the relevant services. Lastly, the results were used to develop so-called heatmaps. This presented a clear picture of which services were actually available in which areas, whether they were carried out to the customer’s satisfaction and flagged areas for improvement.
In addition to developing the questionnaires and scoring methodology, 2B DIGITAL also took on tasks such as defining benchmarks, briefing the market research agencies and planning and coordinating mystery shopping as part of the overall project.
A service roadmap for maximum impact
Based on the combined results of the three approaches, 2B DIGITAL developed a service roadmap for its client with concrete recommendations on actions to optimise service quality, customer experience and customer satisfaction in a targeted manner. From the 60 best practices defined above, the ten most promising were evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Focus on the defined customer service journey
- Easy implementation
- Achievable benefits
Based on this evaluation, five top projects were finally selected for implementation in the areas of pricing, cooperation, communication, personalisation of service offerings and process automation.
These projects alone were projected to generate over EUR 85 million over a period of three years.