Exective Summary for Frontline Workers' Perspective

Customer-facing employees desperately want to please

Much has been said about the decline of customer service, but it’s especially unfortunate when customer-facing employees desperately want to please — yet can’t. This appears to be the case for nearly 9 in 10 customer-facing employees (89 percent) — e.g., bank clerks, call center operators, nurses, bank managers and shop supervisors — who in a new research study by Forrester Consulting said there’s a gap between the experience they can deliver and the experience the customer expects. Without investment in new technologies and processes, the research suggests, organizations will be facing a new competitive landscape at a substantial disadvantage.

The research, conducted for Ricoh Company, Ltd. by Forrester Consulting, found that poor customer support often stems from inadequate time for customer-facing employees to focus on the customer, as well as inadequate document and process support that would allow more human-centric interaction. Current systems consume too much human bandwidth by necessitating low-value tasks, and they drain energy from workers that could be used to provide a richer customer experience. 

Among Forrester’s key findings:

This research reveals that gaps in systems and document services do not allow time for a rich personalized experience. Decision-makers believe that customer-facing workers could be more effective with more time available to personalize the customer experience. Poor information access and time spent capturing, searching, printing, and filling out documents and forms that do not add value absorb precious client-facing time and are major limitations in supporting customers today, with a significant opportunity cost to the business.

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