A recent study conducted by Service Strategies and ServiceXRG reveals that companies have a wide variety of methods for measuring the effectiveness of their eservice offerings. While this is not a revelation, it confirms the fact that companies continue to struggle with quantifying the effects of electronic services.
According to the study, which included responses from approximately 91 technology service providers across the industry, 68% of the respondents indicate they are measuring service deflection to their websites. In addition, reported deflection rates are stated to be rising, to a level of approximately 27% in 2005.
What is interesting about the number is that when asked for the specific methods used to calculate their deflection rates, there was almost no commonality among the respondents in terms of a cohesive method of measurement. While a number of the respondents reported well defined and thought out measures (though unique in nature), others used purely subjective methods.
What is clear from the study is that while the issue of deflection is on the minds of the industry, no one has the definitive answer for how to measure it. In fact, deflection may be a misnomer altogether, since the way people look for information has changed dramatically. For the web savvy individual, searching a vendor website is likely to be the first step they take when looking for help with a technical issue. This means that an individual may only call support if they don’t find their answer online and even then, rather than call they may submit their inquiry through the website, ask for help from a colleague, refer to product manuals, or continue troubleshooting on their own.
It seems that the issue is more about delivering value to the customer than deflecting calls. The web has clearly become a primary communication channel. Maximizing the effectiveness of this channel should be our objective. How we measure that effectiveness may have nothing to do with how many calls are avoided and everything to do with how much Value the customer received, how Successful they were, and how Positive the experience was.
Service Strategies is currently working with a group of companies within the SCP community to better define the area of eServices and in particular the issue of measuring success. We hope to come to some conclusion that will provide companies with an agreed upon method for measuring the success of their eService initiatives. We will keep you posted on the progress as we work to define a common set of success measures.