The thing about passion is that it is catchy…the energy it gives rubs off onto others. A colleague of mine had a recent ‘service experience’ and wanted to share it with me and I would like to share it with all of you. I would like to introduce you to Lucinde Klop (@Lucinde_K ) – another passionate customer service consultant from Accenture – and this is her service experience.
Selecting a new health insurance plan has been on my ‘to do list’ for a couple of weeks. I was not looking forward to this task, as I was expecting my only choice was between marginal differences in monthly payments and reimbursements. However, when I finally got to it, I was highly surprised! Not only could I choose from monthly payment options, but I could also choose between various levels of service defined per insurance package.
It seems that a majority of Dutch health care insurance companies have picked up a strategy that is called delivering a ‘Differentiated Service Experience’. Insurance companies are now offering different service levels per insurance package. They range from a more basic package, where all requests have to be handled online, to extended packages where full support from a call centre is provided.
Accenture believes delivering a ‘Differentiated Service Experience’ will become a major trend this year. Our belief stems from research conducted among 2900 US consumers which established a link between an increase in customer retention, reduction in support cost, and growth in the customer base by providing a differentiated service experience incorporating control and choice by the customer. As customer’s needs are rising and becoming more diverse, companies can no longer offer a one size fits all service experience that meets the needs of all customers while controlling costs.
By offering different service experiences, the diverse needs and expectations of customer segments can be met. For instance, customers vary in the extent to which they prefer self-service. Different service levels can cover multiple degrees of self-service. A differentiated service strategy also allows for providing service through the channel that is preferred per customer segment. Our research confirms consumer receptivity towards differentiated service experiences: 82% of all consumers appreciate if they can customize their service experience.
Controlling costs is the another benefit of delivering a ‘Differentiated Service Experience’. The costs of providing certain customers higher service levels are being compensated either by the higher price the customer is willing to pay, or the higher life time value the customer has. Further, the research shows that consumers are far more receptive to differentiated service if they feel they are empowered to control their service choices even if their choice comes at a cost. In general, consumers prefer incentives for choosing a lower cost service and they don’t want to be charged more for better service. The previous mentioned health insurance package are examples of cost controls and customer control and choice.
My positive experience with ‘choice and control’ when arranging my health insurance has left me with hope that I can soon customize my service experience for other products and services such as banking and energy.
Read more on Accenture’s research and insights on ‘Differentiated Service Experience’ in our recent point of view.