What Is Good Customer Service? Start with Answers to 5 Questions

By Joanne Morrison, HGS Head of North American Marketing

The road to optimized customer experience is a long and winding journey, and you may find yourself often asking, “Are we there yet?” As indicated by research, don’t be blinded by the rush to get to that last stop. In other words, do you think your company’s customer service is better than it really is? If so, there’s some solace in the fact that you’re in good company. According to a NICE inContact study, customers rated customer service 17% lower on average than businesses rated their own success meeting customer needs. In fact, less than half of consumers are satisfied with their experience, whereas more than half of businesses say they are doing well, the study found. The NICE inContact study focused on 10 customer experience channels that include solutions ranging from traditional phone support to self-service, email, chat, social media, and more.


With the goal of optimized CX insight, start by asking yourself five questions about your service delivery.

  1. Does your website offer self-service to resolve issues with minimal customer effort and integrate humans when it makes sense? CX experiences that lead with self-service and intelligently integrate people at key moments of truth are the fastest way to control costs and balance the needs of the business to move beyond the traditional voice contact center. For example, a customer may start an interaction with a chat bot, but as the conversation becomes more complex, a live agent may seamlessly step in to resolve the issue.
  2. Is your website search ‘google-ized?’ When customers type in the search bar, does your system recommend options as they type (natural language FAQs)? Today’s advanced machine learning algorithms and natural language processing (NLP) are able to retrieve existing FAQs from back-end knowledge bases as customers type their queries in a search bar. This technique matches customer queries against known question/answer pairs from the knowledgebase.
  3. When customers need support beyond web self-service, do you guide them to the best channel (such as chat or telephone based on their reason for contacting you)? Smart channel guidance can drive significant cost-containment and CSAT benefits. For one leading consumer electronics clients, HGS created an analytics-driven channel guidance solution called Smart Channel Selector. This solution offers customers a choice of engagement channel based on issue type and complexity of the inquiry. The solution was deployed primarily as a call deflection strategy with a view toward reducing cost per contact. The mandate of the client was to balance best-in-class customer service with budget, which meant seeking creative strategies to reduce the cost of operation while improving the customer experience. The value delivered includes a 91.6% customer satisfaction rate and 20% call volume deflection, with a dramatic 70% cost savings.
  4. Does automation assist your contact center frontline to resolve customer conversations effectively? It’s not enough to implement automation solutions, the ability to track their effectiveness is crucial to demonstrating ROI and ensuring long-term customer satisfaction. Ensure you have analytics in place to track resolution rate through automated channels. For example, HGS’ Smart Channel Selector described above drove a resolution rate of 96% without agent intervention, which clearly showed robust usage of the solution.
  5. Do you allow customers to start, stop and continue digital conversations whenever they want and without starting over? With manual stop/start systems, agents must take an extra step in the process to gather information from the customer a second time, which can increase average handling time (AHT) and lead to customer dissatisfaction. The start, stop, and continue strategy means that customers can start an inquiry in chat or an IVR, for example, but if they call back again the next day and talk to a live agent or engage through a different channel, their information is still available in the CRM. This means that the live agent or automated channel can access the background of the previous interaction and customers aren’t required to repeat themselves.

For additional insight and a free benchmarking report that describes how your digital customer experience stack ranks against your competitors, visit to take our quick survey.

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