Customer Servicing – Doctored or Engineered?

Mohit Agrawal
SVP Client Partners
Article

Even with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, cloud solutions, and automation technologies, customer service delivery has not dramatically changed in over 25 years. To align with increased expectations, customer service requires an overhaul.

“The customer’s perception is your reality”
– Kate Zabriskie

For most organizations, the ramifications of COVID-19 highlighted many pain points with how they previously strategized around their customer.  The core method of how customer service has been delivered has not changed significantly in over 25 years.  Even with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, cloud solutions, and automation technologies, the outcome has continued to be a clunky, disjointed customer experience. In addition to this, surmounting customer expectations and intense customer scrutiny underscores the fact that customer service is long overdue for a complete overhaul. Customers expect the organization to know them, anticipate their needs and present them with options proactively. Customers like to interact on the channel they are most comfortable with and detest having to repeat themselves at every hand-off. Losing customers to a bad experience is disastrous for the business.

Thus far, organizations on their journey to digital had time on their side. They were making progress slowly but surely. Customer experience was, however, limited to shiny interfaces. Behind the scenes was (and is) a clutter of process and technology, painfully cobbled together. It is no surprise that organizational investments towards this goal have delivered mixed results. Short-term band-aid approaches facilitated “business as usual” but lacked differentiation and kept businesses from realizing their true potential. This cost them time and money and amplified process and technology debt. This is not sustainable.

The journey to customer delight calls for application of “First Principle Design Thinking “, departing from the iterative rut.  It entails overcoming the hurdles of organizational structures, widening product and channel-centric mindset and eradicating process blinders. Now, more than ever, organizations need to build capabilities and incorporate continuous learning which is informed by data in their processes and applications. Marketing, sales, service executives and virtual agents need to be enabled to meet the customer with extreme personalization. A customer reaching out for help is an opportunity to not only expeditiously resolve the issue through self-service, but also to convert it into revenue for the organization.

The global economic landscape is experiencing a decline, with long-lasting implications that are yet to unfold. The downstream impact on business is difficult to predict at this time. Within just 100 days the effects of the health crisis have accelerated digital adoption by over 10 years, and this change in behavior is expected to persist. On the other side of the response to the pandemic, the factor that will determine which organizations win and which lose will be the quality of their digital extensions to their customers. Being adaptive and efficient will give organizations the best chance to flourish and re-frame themselves in their market. Customers tend to vote with their wallet for organizations that value their time and money and treat them special. Customer obsession must become the core guiding philosophy that will have a flywheel effect helping organizations meet and exceed their business goals. The power of customer’s perception is undeniably businesses’ reality!

Do you think that the internal pace of change to enhance Customer Service is able to keep up with the external changes?

Where do you think is the disconnect between the desired outcome and what organizations are able to deliver?

Why do you think that is the case?

How do you think this delta can be overcome?

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