I recently had the opportunity to interview a couple of expert in customer service. David Baker and Shankaran Nair from Servion spoke to me and gave me insight into how they see the customer service world going in the coming years.
So lets see what these guys had to say.
Q: What methods do you use for best customer experience practices?
A: [Shankaran] The fundamental principle that guides us in this is to match the service delivery to the brand promise. This is really a case of integrating business strategy with technology and operational design. Poor customer experiences are relative in nature i.e. in relation to the brand promise. The key is to understand the customer’s understanding of the brand promise and then making sure that the experience matches the promise. We have a set of tools and methodologies and a process to achieve this.
Q: What do you think is the role of social media in customer experience these days?
That is a tough question to answer. The conventional answer would be to say “it has a massive impact on customer experience” and then to go on and elaborate. I don’t see it that way. The customer experiences the brand only in one of two ways – through use of the product or service and through interaction with the organization that owns the brand. Social media is yet another channel through which this experience can take place – like voice and email are also channels. The big difference with social media – the two big differences actually – are nature and scale of it and therefore the potential impact it can have on the brand post experience. Let me explain. This is a public domain medium compared to say email which is one to one (nature). And in the public domain it is massive in scale (Facebook is the third largest country in the world!) – organizations have never in the past had to deal with a medium that the customer can choose which has these two dimensions. This leads to the potential to make or break a brand. Deliver a bad experience and today the customer can take you to task. In public. To a huge audience. The point I am driving is – social media is a channel for customer interaction as well as a medium for “word of mouth” – but it does not generate customer experience in and of its own. That comes right back to making sure you have your service strategy right.
Q: How does Servion handle social media? Do you have a plan for it?
Our approach is to ensure that the social media strategy is integrated with the service strategy. At a very basic level if customers want to reach out to me through social media I have to be ready for it. Ready for it in the sense I have to be able to respond in that medium of choice. And if customers are talking about me on social media – I need to be aware of it and able to deal with that as well.
Q: Do you offer social media as part of your service?
As mentioned above – as specialists in the Customer Interaction Management industry we see the need to make sure that there is social media is seen as an integral part of a multi-channel contact management strategy. We have the capability to execute a social media strategy for our clients in line with this thinking.
Q: How do you see the customers service developing in the next 10 years?
A: Hopefully we will start getting the basics right! As any survey over the last few years will tell you – customers are by and large unhappy with service. We believe that this is due to the fact that organizations tend to deal with the brand, the business strategy, technology design, operational design – all in separate silos. Take a look at organization structures that are in vogue – and you will see what I mean. Each of these dimensions tend to operate in silos. Simple question – how many organizations have you seen where the CMO (the brand owner) has the Call center operations and technology teams rolling into her?
Q: Does self-service play a role in your work?
A: Yes of course it does. CIM technology properly designed and deployed is a tremendous boon for customers as well as a weapon for businesses. It helps customers achieve basic tasks that they want to accomplish without human interface and the need to wait and explain things to agents. And it helps business do a lot more for their customers – at a far lower cost. Issues come in when the technology is NOT properly designed and deployed which is when it causes pain for the customers and more pain for the organization – pain for the organization in terms of customer dis-satisfaction leading to poor word of mouth and customer churn. Refer to my answer above on getting the basics right.
This has been exciting and very interesting interview for me. Especially because I got to meet some industry experts and discuss one of my favourite subjects. The main points were highlighted here.