I must admit I don’t do National Customer Service Week. It’s always finished before I’ve noticed that it’s here once again. So in a groundbreaking attempt to break a poor habit, here is a piece on customer service while the moment remains.
First up I’d like to celebrate our industry’s momentum. We are now shaking a stick at the status quo that held us spellbound for many decades. Yes, we remain the dustpan and brush far too often but our collective self esteem is rising by the day as we take the issues back to their source and get them fixed. Amazon style – no service is the best form of…
We now understand people much more. Customers have feelings. So do front line teams. We make an attempt to understand them and see the world through their eyes. Radical stuff!
Voice of the customer is all the rage. Voice of the employee is even more hip. But research, like fake news, has a habit of being hijacked for nefarious reasons. I’m always first to soapbox that the purpose of listening to stakeholders is find out what you don’t yet know. In other words resist the temptation to fiddle the questions to prove yourself right.
In the spirit of keeping things fresh I’d also like to suggest we are all bored to death with the NPS question. Find something more interesting to ask me.
Channels get more interesting by the day. Less effort and preferably in real time seem to be the biggest draw. So email is being snuffed out in favour of messaging. And voice is obviously dead. Oh wait, better make way for Alexa and gang who are making a strong case that voice might be the new black.
I hear the new kid on the block goes under the nickname of RCS. No I hadn’t heard of him either. Apparently it’s Google plus the Telcos ganging up on Facebook to reclaim their SMS revenue stream with a SMS 2.0 version that looks just like Messenger!
As new channels turn up to fragment our attention span, older ones remain slightly flaky. Recent research (Eptica) suggests chat is poorly managed. Yes multitasking is one of its joys. That is until it dawns on me as a customer that you are doing the same at your end! Now I’m the schmuck doing the waiting. ‘Not fair’ as presidents are fond of saying these days. Anyway it’s a way to go before omni-channel consistency and balance break out at scale.
Then of course there is AI which has descended on us like a visiting hoard of super beings; threatening to steal our jobs and position itself as the alpha species in the food chain. But before that apocalyptic moment arrives, live assistance needs therapy as an abused resource and self service remains stubbornly stupid and hard to use.
And yes I’ve done more master classes this year on AI & customer service than any other topic. But we need to detox on the Hollywood imagery we have in our brains before we end up with a sensible roadmap for how AI will help us deliver better customer service.
I notice social customer service is enjoying a revival these days or is becoming more mainstream depending on your perspective on timelines. OFCOM tells us that everyone is doing it. Even the 65+ cohort rocks up on Whatsapp these days and are busy learning from their toddler grandchildren which buttons to push on their smartphones.
We are going digital for sure. Whatever the heck that actually means! BTW can we please ban both ‘digital’ and ‘disruption’ for the next 90+ years? In both cases, all original meaning has been ravaged by unscrupulous marketers in pursuit of landing page action. They both need to sit in a dark room and recover their identities.
I like the attention we now receive from Marketing who see us as siblings, albeit junior. But it’s a start. CX are keen to remind us that CX is much more than just CS. But again it’s nice to have their attention. Finally the afterglow of executive presence has been reported in quite a few contact centres recently as news has travelled up line that there is some connection between their interests and ours.
All in all, we are in great shape as we morph from one version of ourselves to the next iteration. Since the next Dr Who is due to regenerate as another gender, we could also surprise ourselves in a good way.
All that remains to be said is a small shout out if they don’t mind being associated with this slightly irreverent post. Agilisys asked me if I wanted to do something together since its National Customer Service Week. Their persistence resulted in what you’ve just consumed.
So they deserve some airtime as thanks for helping me break a poor habit. I know Ashley and her team. They do a great job coaxing local authorities and central government towards a better future. They are good cheerleaders for a brighter future. Check them out if you are in that space. Their National Customer Service Week webinar is due soon. No doubt there will be a replay within hours.
So enjoy what remains of this seasonal time for all who pin their colours to the customer service cause. Well done us! Now if they would just pay us a bit more…