The “traditional” back-office focused solely on driving company efficiency via in-house metrics is no longer adequate for a world where customers and clients are used to instant access and demand consumer-focused policies.
Evolve and Profit
Customer experience isn’t generally the purview of typical back office organizations. Instead, they focus on efficiency which is typically defined as completing a set of activities within a specific amount of time and under a specific cost.
Next-generation back office (NBGO) organizations are different. In addition to in-house metrics, they also understand survival and growth require they take a proactive hand in creating positive customer experiences.
And the results speak for themselves.
Companies with NBGOs see an incredible 49% annual increase in meeting service-level agreements (SLAs) compared to a meager 2.3% increase by those with a current- or last-generation back offices.
Achieving SLAs is an important indicator that an organization is successfully meeting customer commitments. According to an Aberdeen Group report, over one-third of customers cite back-office errors and delays as their top cause of dissatisfaction. And the number one cause was “misalignment between products, services, and customer expectations.”
The report concluded this was due to information gathered by the front office via customer feedback not being shared with the back office. Or if it was being shared, no steps were being taken to implement the feedback to improve customer satisfaction.
As it happens, this is the main differentiator between old- and next-generation back offices. Companies that change their way of doing business so as to increase customer satisfaction are next-generation. Those that don’t are last-generation.
According to the Aberdeen Group, NGBO-based companies have seen an average of:
- 38.4% increase in employee productivity vs. just 9.2%.
Employees needing to spend less time on each task can get more done in a workday
- 29.0% increase in annual company revenue vs. 7.9%.
Getting more done in the same time frame helps the company make more money.
- 9.20% decrease in the number of customer complaints vs. 3.8%.
As well as increasing overall consumer satisfaction because they’re getting what they need faster and with fewer errors.
- And a 4.5% decrease in the average cost of customer contracts vs. a 0.9% increase.
Since happy customers tend to stay with a company less money needs to be spent to maintain and grow your customer base.
Another key element to creating a next-generation back office: using automation to assign simple and repetitive tasks to software instead of tying up valuable employee time.
With technology that is available today, employee scheduling and quality management can be handled primarily by software without a fallible human intervening; online forms can be copied from one database to another with automation. In return, reducing the possibility of errors in inputs.
With repetitive, time-sucking tasks taken care of and automation decreasing or eliminating input errors, employees are better equipped to take on more complex tasks.
Employee met SLAs and efficiency metrics can automatically be sent to managers who can see at a glance how each member of their team is performing. With these, a company’s best performers can be left to their own devices while employees who are failing to meet their commitments can receive more individual guidance from managers to help them improve.
This real-time reporting capability is present in nearly 90% of all next-generation back offices but only found in about a third of non-NGBO companies.
Integrating automation, business process analytics, and customer-centric data also allows companies to anticipate when additional resources will be necessary to meet increased demand for products or services. If your historical data shows that on or about certain dates, or during or after a cultural event your company sees more traffic, your company can allot additional resources to continue to meet SLAs and provide excellent service.
Keeping the back office isolated from the customer can have adverse effects on customer satisfaction which in turn can negatively impact a company’s bottom line and growth potential.
By implementing customer-centric improvements in back-office efficiency and communication, and utilizing automation to reduce or eliminate time-consuming, human-unnecessary tasks, companies can achieve significant increases in productivity, customer satisfaction, and profitability.