4 ways to exceed customer service expectations - without incurring high costs to do it

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Striking the right balance between customer satisfaction and cost

Many companies think that in order to enhance the customer service experience, they will have to spend more money in order for any improvements to be effective. However, what they may not know is that a great customer experience doesn’t always mean it’s going to be an expensive, time consuming overhaul of their strategies. To avoid over or under investing in delivery against customer expectations, you need to look simultaneously outside-in (at the experience of the customer) and inside-out (at operational effectiveness and efficiencies). 

KPMG has identified four key strategies that can help companies create positive relationship-building with customers and ultimately provide an improved customer service experience – while being cost effective and lower operating costs.

1. Be Intentional

Intentional strategies can deliver a true customer-centric experience that will drive loyalty and growth while maximizing value. Rather than happenstance reactions, intentional design informs every touchpoint along the customer experience journey. It allows a company to meet and exceed customer expectations by leveraging data and digital technologies, all while preserving the human touch.

How to get there:

  • Make data dynamic: compile and analyze data from multiple sources across your company to provide comprehensive insight into what customers genuinely want. This allows for informed and thoughtful decisions on how to approach not only client services, but also the infrastructure needed to execute strategies.
  • Personalize whenever possible: harness existing customer data to create journey mapping and algorithmic optimization, which in turn can help offer a scalable individualized experience for your customers.
  • Empower your employees with technology: even if your interactions are primarily digital, they are driven by people. Understanding this can help build ongoing connections between your customers and customer service teams, making it possible to create individualized services, while standardizing operations to reduce costs and create a more consistent experience.

Personalization in action: Check out how KPMG helped this restaurant chain become intentional to build customer satisfaction.

2. Be Anticipatory

Anticipatory strategies require fewer resources and create more positive customer experiences than reactive strategies. Companies need to ensure they are connected to the needs of their customers. This starts by working to understand when and how customers engage with a company, through which channels, and with what expectations.

How to get there:

  • Put data to work: by levering data to spot potential issues, you have the opportunity to identify areas where costs can be lowered while at the same time increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Transparency builds trust: customers remember how service interactions make them feel. From the tone of voice in communications to the gesture of respecting a customer’s time and money, the attention to detail is evident in relation to the company’s use of data to personalize – and can help to create further anticipatory strategies. Whether such initiatives lower costs or not, the trust they build with customers is priceless.
  • Stay a step ahead: customers frequently contact customer service after a problem occurs. By maintaining an anticipatory approach, organizations can minimize reactionary, negative interactions in favor of active client engagement.

Anticipatory in action: Check out how KPMG help this retail bank improve customer’s mortgage experience by being anticipatory.

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Deliver customer-first service

The future of customer service is here. It’s personalized, automated, empowering and predictive. 


Traditional customer service wastes resources, time and money by reacting to concerns rather than anticipating them. Customer service needs to move beyond the “call center” operations of the past to a virtual ecosystem of digital and human assistants. It’s happening already: by 2021, 15 percent of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by artificial intelligence—an increase of 400 percent from 2017, according to Gartner.

To meet the increased expectations of the connected customer, customer service must:

  • offer a seamless integration between self-service and live service
  • have agents who know their customers and the skills to fix their problems and solve for their needs
  • excel at proactive service as customer expectations continue to rise.

Companies that focus on these touchpoints to provide more relevant and agile customer service will be the ones that differentiate themselves the most from competitors.

Be future-ready

Changes in the front office will lead the journey into the future for most companies. It’s here, after all, that the enterprise meets the marketplace and the connected customer. To embrace a new front-office structure, marketing, sales and service executives will need new processes, policies, capabilities and skills that address the six must-haves: data, analytics, automation, organizational structure, metrics and culture. 

Leaders don’t wait to be disrupted; they prepare for the future with preemptive disruption of their own. Contact us today to find out how KPMG helps enterprises create better customer experiences and be ready for the future of the front office. 

Learn more about the future of the front office

Terry Walls

Terry Walls

Managing Director, Advisory, KPMG US

Julio J. Hernandez

Julio J. Hernandez

Global and U.S. Customer Advisory Lead, KPMG US


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