Its Superbowl week, and as always we’re spending a lot of time talking about the teams, strategy, matchups, snacks, and more. It’s a fun time, especially if you’re a fan of the New England Patriots or the Seattle Seahawks (sorry Packers fans). However, this year, there seems to be way too much attention being paid to Deflategate and the atmospheric conditions that impact ball pressure. It’s all a little media circus.
That said, Deflategate is an instant conversation starter at social or networking events. Ah, you’re from Boston, what do you think about Deflategate? Ah, you’re not from Boston, what do you think about Deflategate? I was part of such a conversation a few days ago at a field service networking dinner. For the most part, everyone agreed that things had been blown out of proportion. However, one of the participants said something very interesting. His exact words, “Just you watch. After all of this, they’re going to blame it on the service guy.” With the recent news of a Patriots ball boy being the primary suspect in Deflategate, that proclamation seems to be ringing true.
Thinking about it from a broader business perspective, that statement about the service guy or gal taking the blame still seems to hold weight. As much as we see organizations move towards a more profit-centric model for service, there still is a attitude to treat the service business as an after thought or a necessary evil. Quite often, service is where customer problems are dumped.
That attitude has to change. Recent surveying of our community (TSC’s 2014 review) shows that more than 35% of annual business revenue is driven by the service organization and that service accounts for 32% of total cost. More so, organizations expect healthy service-impacted revenue growth rates in 2015. Service is a big deal from a financial point of view. More so, service is also a major source of customer and business intelligence. Come to think of it, service agents are the ones who truly connect with customers to learn about their challenges and problems. On a mass scale, customer complaint and other data, can be used by the entire organization to make business decisions. Sales can use customer service information to improve account management and support revenue objectives via renewals, up-sells, and cross-sells. Marketing can use aggregate service data to understand customer preferences and attitudes in order to develop more intelligent outreach and awareness plans. Design and engineering can use service data to improve quality. The list goes on.
Yet, organizations struggle to share data across various lines of business. Some of this is due to poor systems, but most of it is due to misaligned cultures and a lack of process. Those organizations that have taken steps to align objectives across business functions are yielding better results across customer satisfaction as well as business profitability.
Where does this alignment begin? At the top. Organizations that have been successful in transforming their business cultures to promote customer-centricity and collaboration tell us that executive support and sponsorship is most vital success factor. After that is the need to capture customer insight.
The connection or partnership between service and other business functions is a key component of the theme for our 2015 Smarter Services Symposium taking place between March 10 and March 12 in San Diego. We will feature numerous sessions with sales, IT, HR, and product design executives sharing their views on collaborating with their service counterparts. If interested in learning more, please visit our Symposium homepage. Or you can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for the Superbowl and Deflategate, lets hope that the focus shifts back to the game and the achievements of the players involved.