The New Workplace Reality: Enterprises Must Capture The Soul And Spirit Of The Emerging Worker

Executive Summary

In March 2013, Ricoh commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the importance and business impact of document and process support at the point of service. To explore this topic, Forrester Consulting conducted in-depth surveys with 250 global customer service strategy and operations decision-makers as well as 36 customer-facing individual contributors. We found that customer-facing workers are seen as a strong differentiator by companies coming out of recession. This is a big change; customer-facing employees have now become the target for investment and process improvement. We surmise that, without investment in new technologies and processes, organizations will be facing a new competitive landscape at a substantial disadvantage.

We found that poor customer support often stems from inadequate time to focus on the customer and inadequate document and process support that would allow more human-centric interaction. Current systems consume too much human bandwidth with low-value tasks and rain energy from workers that could provide a richer customer experience. Furthermore, the workforce is losing its most experienced employees: roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach retirement age every day for the next 19 years in the US alone. Younger workers and their customers entering the workforce will need to improve basic document services such as entering data, searching for information, copying and printing receipts and materials, and leveraging emerging mobile, collaboration, and cloud-based solutions. This transition opens the door for a new generation of employees who think and work differently. Enterprises that do not capitalize on this transition will be at a competitive disadvantage.

Key Findings

Forrester’s study yielded three key findings:

  • Customer-facing workers are seen as a strong differentiator by companies coming out of recession. Customer-facing workers are viewed today as key assets to differentiating and growing business. 64% of global customer service strategy and operations decision-makers think that investing in customer-facing technology is valuable because customer-facing employees are a way to differentiate their company and are critical to improving the customer experience.
  • 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 absorbs valuable client-facing time and are major limitations in supporting customers today, with a significant opportunity cost to the business.

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