According to trends website www.trendwatching.com, last year 66% of consumers switched brands due to poor customer service. And if that's not bad enough, 82% of those said the brand could have done something to stop them. In a competitive marketplace it's hard enough to win a customer in the first place which means its unforgiveable to lose them unnecessarily.
I blame technology. While it has simplified many customer service processes, in some case it has taken out the human element to the extent that it is actually harder for the customer to get what they need. Plus humans have the ability (if trained and supported) to make decisions on the spot before small problems turn into big ones that cause customers to flee.
When re-engineering your processes make sure you identify the touchpoints where human interaction can add value, and then provide it. As the folks at Trendwatching say - "give them facetime anytime". I loved their example of this strategy in action: "US insurance company Esurance now allows webcam-enabled accident appraisal via smartphone". Now that's an example of creative thinking at its best!