Serving customers in real time and high quality with a limited number of service technicians is a challenge. Can companies use crowdsourcing to increase service efficiency and thus customer satisfaction?
Challenges in the service process
In the age of digitalization, companies have to overcome major challenges in terms of staffing requirements and service volumes. When it comes to service requests, customers want a fast response, at best in real time. Technologies such as Internet of Things contribute to devices sending service messages automatically to service pools. This is a problem for many companies because there are too few employees available to handle them quickly. Increasing headcount is expensive, and good professionals are scarce. This is exactly where crowdsourcing offers the possibility to meet the needs of customers and companies in an optimal way. (Figure 1).
Crowdsourcing explained simply
The term “crowdsourcing” is made up of the words crowd and outsourcing or sourcing. It refers to the outsourcing of corporate tasks or services to an external group of voluntary contractors via the Internet. The aim is to involve users in the work and creative processes of companies. This does not always involve a commercial venture. The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is a good example: Web users voluntarily write articles on the web portal. An example of an economic crowdsourcing platform from Switzerland is “Mila”. Via this digital platform, technically skilled people can be searched for, booked and evaluated.
A dedicated digital marketplace places external skilled workers at any time of day
With a crowdsourcing platform provided in the cloud, there is the possibility to design one’s own crowd service, i.e. to operate one’s own digital marketplace. One builds a network of external professionals, employees of partners and customers, and volunteers. The service process could work as follows in this marketplace: The customer selects the desired service, explains his problem and fixes the time of the service intervention. Finally, the service location is to be confirmed. The request is now recorded with all the important information and is being processed in real time. With automatic skills and location validation, the message is quickly sent via the app to the appropriate external employee for processing.
Crowdsourcing increases service efficiency and customer experience
A digital crowdsourcing platform increases the speed of service delivery, as external employees usually respond to a request in real time. In addition, geographic coverage is denser. Finally, excellent employees can be found through a comprehensive digital service network. This helps a company mitigate the risk of staff shortages. It also reduces the costs of recruiting and training. Crowdsourcing improves service quality, which automatically increases customer satisfaction.
Mrass, V. & Peters, C. (2018): Digital value creation through crowd services: New forms of customer support using Mila and Swisscom as examples. In: Robra-Bissantz, S. & Lattemann, C. (Eds.), Digital customer experience – winning and keeping customers with digital services (Vol. Edition HMD). Wiesbaden, Germany:Springer