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Service is the new sales.

In today’s always-on world, growth is dependent on customer service experiences that keep buyers engaged—and spending more.

Overview

Customer acquisition is costly. Companies with large, embedded customer bases that improve customer retention may increase margins by hundreds of millions of dollars. How? By improving customer service.

While many companies are beginning to acknowledge the profit potential associated with churn reduction, few have mastered the art and science of customer service. In the digital age, the point of sale is no longer the singular point of victory. Customers are won (and lost) long before and long after the sales transaction. Retention is impacted by the experiences they have while evaluating and using products and services.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT [PDF]

Key Findings

Accenture research shows that 64 percent of consumers switched at least one provider due to poor service in 2014. The estimated value of what Accenture calls the “switching economy” is $6.2 trillion.2

The service experiences most likely to frustrate customers and cause switching are:

  • Having to communicate with a company multiple times for the same reason

  • Long wait times

  • Impolite service representatives

  • Having company representatives claim one thing and deliver another.

Eliminating these experiences can keep existing customers engaged.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT [PDF]

In today’s “always on” digital environment, when are customers truly won and lost?

DOWNLOAD SERVICE IS THE NEW SALES INFOGRAPHIC [PDF]

Recommendations

Companies can do three things to position service as “the new sales.”

  • Quantify service’s impact on the bottom line. Companies need strong analytics capabilities and new metrics such as Accenture’s “Post-Interaction Churn” to gain actionable insights about the economic impact of service on churn, revenue growth and profitability.

  • Give retention the attention it deserves. Prioritizing retention as highly as other growth initiatives and investing in service improvements that produce better customer experiences are critical. So is defining new leadership roles focused on retention: Align their responsibilities with those front-office C-suite roles that focus on delivering seamless customer experiences. 

  • Tackle the most toxic interactions. According to Accenture research, 82 percent of switchers would have stayed with their original provider if the company had taken steps to address their dissatisfaction. Companies can improve retention by developing skills and analytics to isolate, understand and remediate the largest root causes of issues that frustrate customers most.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ACCENTURE STRATEGY

Author

 

Rob Honts

Managing Director, Accenture Strategy, Advanced Customer Strategy
Global Customer Service Strategy & Transformation Lead

 

Rob leads the delivery of large-scale CRM transformation programs focused on driving both revenue uplift and cost reduction. He specializes in helping organizations reduce customer churn, increase customer share-of-wallet, improve customer experiences, and reduce costs associated with customer care. Rob is based in Austin.