February 2017 - The Service Council

Friday Service Recap: Hospitals, Customer Service, Augmented Reality and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting service-minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.

For the third installment, and week 8 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:

Topic: A Hospital Goes Above & Beyond in Customer Service: St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center

Source: Green Bay Press Gazette: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/money/2017/02/20/customer-service-kudos-st-marys/98151164/

Commentary: Going to a hospital is rarely an occasion of fun. This activity is so dreaded by some that it has a name – Nosocomephobia. Former President Nixon was once quoted saying, “If I go to a hospital, I’m fairly sure I won’t come out alive.” This low bar for success leaves quite a bit to be desired from hospitals and the healthcare industry. Despite this low threshold, the staff at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin pride themselves on delivering more than just patients that walk out the door. This article highlights the impact of engaged employees and culture in regard to the delivery of customer service. In industries where employees are often extended to their exhaustion point like healthcare, the delivery of a good or great service experience depends on their ability to go the extra mile. These service workers meet patients and customers at a point of truth, and scripts or technical training won’t be enough. Too often, we assume technology, dashboards, or manuals will lead to excellent service. But it is the people, motivated people that want to help others and solve problems, that enable heightened service experiences. And these people need to be supported, encouraged, and engaged – without it, service will suffer.

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Augmented Reality in Design and Training: Stryker with Hololens

Source: Digital Trends: http://www.digitaltrends.com/virtual-reality/stryker-using-hololens-to-design-future-operating-rooms/

Commentary: While this is an advertisement for HoloLens, it’s a great visual into one of the many applications of augmented reality. We’re currently kick-starting our first project around the augmented spectrum (video-merged-augmented-virtual) and its impact on service organizations. We’ve already pre-interviewed 12 organizations around their AR pilots, and we anticipate a significantly greater level of evaluation of these technologies in 2017. Most companies see the value of these types of tools in live performance support (or remote support). The deeper thinkers are visualizing how this technology can support design and training initiatives in the future. In that, augmented support sessions need to be integrated with video content management and learning management systems and tools. If interested in getting involved in our AR project, please contact Aly or me.

Our Three Other Articles
1- AR game like ‘Pokémon Go’ need a permit in Milwaukee (engadget, 2/6/17)
2- Poor customer service hits Bovis profit (BBC News, 2/20/17)
3- Twitter tries to humanize customer service interactions (Marketing Dive, 2/23/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events

We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment.

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com or @pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com or @suma1r

Four Amazing Tips from our IoT Research Community

By Sumair Dutta | Perspective | No Comments

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the talk of the town, the town being industrial organizations. For those responsible for service and support, connected or remote monitoring technology has been the talk for 10-15 years. Yet, the technology to connect to remote assets and products and to analyze the data coming out of those products has made significant advances in recent years.

We’ve recently concluded a set of interviews with 18 organizations in our community to ask them about their connected service IoT projects. We’re going to be publishing the final report next week. Late last year, we had the opportunity to chat with several of these organizations as part of our monthly Smarter Services Webcasts. The organizations in the webinar, along with those in our broader interview set, continue to make slow progress on their IoT-enabled solutions. Progress is slow due to internal and external resistance. In addressing that resistance, our webinar interviewees offered some extremely valuable nuggets:

Thing Big, Smart Small with IoT

While it’s essential to have a grand IoT vision for your organization, it’s also important to achieve small wins at the operational and customer level. Therefore, it’s essential to focus the investment on solving smaller near term problems and to use these wins to create momentum for a larger business case.

Sell the Sizzle

In addition to garnering small wins, it’s essential to sell the value of the technology to internal stakeholders and to customers. In that, it’s important to visually show these parties the work that’s being done because of the investment in IoT. Several organizations have established IoT command centers that they feature in customer tours or training sessions. Others use portals or applications to show information and reports to customers. Visibility is essential to selling the promise of IoT.

Make it Work for the Customer

It’s important to translate the value of IoT in the language of the customer and to communicate how the investment in the technology is addressing customer pain points. If the customer being spoken to cares about uptime, then it’s important to translate value in the terms of uptime. If another customer, or buyer of service contracts, cares about cost of support, then it’s essential to be prepared to sell the technology on the basis of support cost.

Islands of Excellence Surrounded by Oceans of Mediocrity

IoT can greatly improve service procedures and outcomes. Yet, the complete value of an IoT investment can only be felt when the entire organization embraces connectivity. In this, the business can make strategic investments or modifications to product offerings, changes to configurations, and reimagine its sales and marketing. Excellence in service should only be a first landmark.

Our IoT report will be ready soon (send me a copy). If interested in listening to our recent webinar, access the on-demand version here. Otherwise, check back in to our research and events for further updates. Future webinars hosted by TSC can be found here.

If you would like to be involved in our research and become part of a community, please join our research groups here. All research by TSC is created via the research group process. Join now.

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com
@suma1r

Friday Service Recap: Venmo Support Team, Bottle Water, Loyalty, and more Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting service-minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.

For the second iteration, and week 7 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick
Topic: Bottled Water and Customer Loyalty
Source: MIT Sloan Management Review, January 17, 2017 (Link)

Commentary: The author of this article spent a significant amount of time investigating the impact of offered features on new customer acquisition and customer retention in a hotel setting. In comparing the impact of free wireless internet vs. bottled water vs. the availability of a fitness center, the author found that the availability of free water had the greatest impact on retention numbers and future visits. From an ROI perspective, the delivery of free water was also the cheapest investment of the three options.

In general, the author highlights:
a- The features that attract new customers aren’t the same as the ones that retain customers
b- Offering more features can often be counter-productive when it comes to customer satisfaction and retention
c- Customers might not always know what it is that they value in terms of retention.

As companies place emphasis on long-term relationships with customers, they must understand what attracts customers to a set of products and services while also acknowledging the features that drive satisfaction and retention. The bundling of new features and services isn’t always a winning strategy.

Aly’s pick:
Topic: Rapid Customer Growth Leads to the Need for more Service Capabilities
Source: Forbes.com, February 14, 2017 (Link)

Commentary: It’s the age-old question: the chicken or the egg, what came first? Today, organizations are beginning to grapple with a modification of this riddle – the issue of customer growth outpacing the ability to deliver a customer experience worth staying. What should come first new customers or a customer service organization that can support these customers?

Organizations are often mature at marketing and selling to a prospect base which will come in the front door. The problem is, these same firms are finding it tough to hold on to these customers as their expectations outpace the service capabilities available. This article highlights how even the smartest executives of our generation (NOTE: Elon Musk) have been extremely innovative with products first, but need to also invest in the customer experience in order to make those innovations worth it for a changing customer base. Ease of use, service on the customer’s terms, and having an 800-number (SEE: article) are now minimal level requirements that customers demand. Service organizations can no longer think about their business from an operational perspective solely (i.e., how can we lower our costs, or be more efficient to get more jobs done in a day), they need to keep up with the tools and support capabilities which make customers want to renew, buy more, and tell others. I think the customer support team and strategy should come first, and let the customers follow!

Our Three Other Articles
1- The Most Desirable Employee Benefits (Harvard Business Review, Feb 15, 2017)
2- M&S’s Nathan Ansell on proving the value of customer experience (Marketing Week, Feb 10, 2017)
3- Hold the phone! Crap customer service cost telcos 2.9 BEEEELLION in 2016 (The Register, Feb 15, 2017)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events
We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment.

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com or @pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com or @suma1r

Friday Service Recap: Data & Hans Rosling, The NFL’s Customer Service Story, and More

By Aly Pinder | News, Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting service-minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.

For the first iteration, and week 6 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:
Topic: The NFL, Customer Service, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Source: http://www.buccaneers.com/news

Commentary: As we put a bow on another NFL season with the exhilarating or demoralizing (depending on your perspective) Super Bowl earlier this week, it is interesting that the NFL and one team in particular understands the value of great customer service. Four out of the last five years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finished #1 amongst NFL teams in customer service. A cynic may say, sure they need to win in CSat because they haven’t been to a Super Bowl since 2003. But I would actually argue that the Bucs in particular and the NFL as a whole understand that they have to win first with a heightened in-person customer experience. The alternative is fans staying home on their couches sitting in front of their own 4K TV and keeping their dollars in their pockets. The Bucs have turned high levels of customer satisfaction year over year into increased attendance. Share of wallet is a concern, even for the #1 sport in the US and the customer experience is how they intend to win. Competition even impacts the NFL.

In 2017, I expect to see more activity around the customer experience and organizations in seemingly non-customer focused industries emphasize CSat and service innovation. Not only are dollars at stake, but also the desire to build life-long relationships with customers. If you think you are not in a customer-focused business, you might just be proven wrong this year.

Sumair’s pick:
Topic: The passing of Hans Rosling
Source: Multiple

Commentary: This isn’t a service story per se. It’s a data story and one that will touch most in analytical professions. It was sad to hear about the passing of Professor Hans Rosling this week. If you haven’t heard of Professor Rosling, it’s worth spending some time on his extremely popular TED Talks. I’ve included one of my favorites below:

Professor Rosling spent a lot of time arguing the importance of data and insight to combat ignorance and bias. While he applied this to socio-economic situations, his wisdom is applicable to most situations. In service businesses globally, there is an attempt to become more predictive. In that, organizations must rely on data and information to overcome biases about customer needs, desires, and expectations. As Professor Rosling states, “The first thing to do when seeking the future, is to know the present.” In a previous talk, he also cautioned against the use of general averages to drive business actions. The action aimed at 20% of a customer base might be very different when compared to that of another 20%. Yet, data is the necessary recipe for strategy.

Our Three Other Articles:

1- Chipotle to tie employees’ pay to customer service in comeback move (HR Dive, 2/9/17)
2- Dish Network’s new ad campaign wants to hear customers’ comments, complaints (The Denver Post, 2/6/17)
3- The Impending Crisis of the Internet of Things (Pacific Standard, 2/3/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events. We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment.

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com or @pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com or @suma1r

Drones, the Super Bowl, and Service by Machines

By Aly Pinder | News, Perspective | No Comments

The American tradition of watching the Super Bowl is even more spectacular when the game is good (sorry Falcons fans and the throngs of fans that dislike the Patriots). This is one of the last bastions of shared experiences we have in pop culture – where DVRs, cord cutting, and a general cynicism that leads “spoiler alerts” in every Twitter feed!

But this past Sunday night, most of us (based on Nielsen rating of 48.8 or 48.8% of US households watched) got to share in the fun and / or agony of defeat, together. But beyond the spectacle of the game and the comeback, we also got to share in a variety of other pop culture traditions (i.e., commercials, Half-time show). And again, as I’ve said before my posts try to avoid social commentary but instead look at the customer service and service impacts of the things around me.

The halftime show this year was very much so a meeting of technology and entertainment. If like me, you had to do a double-take when you saw the sky behind Lady Gaga light up with the American flag thinking “wow that’s cool CGI”. But I later Googled to find out those were drones!

Drones and the IoT Go Beyond the Cool

The evolution of drones (definition – any unmanned aircraft or ship that is guided remotely) in the commercial and enterprise worlds are beginning to take shape. No longer are these just cool mini-flying helicopters, they now provide the light of a fireworks shows used for entertainment, video surveillance tools for inspections and security, and a new logistics delivery channel for the supply chain. The latter two areas, I think, provide the future promise for the value of the drone – a service being delivered by a machine as opposed to a human.

The Amazon drones dropping off my 2-day shipment at my condo in Boston may not have become reality just yet, but machines are delivering a high quality of security surveillance services now. Connected machines which can capture data and can be operated remotely is nothing new but the applicability in business is becoming far-reaching. Drones are just one in a line of use cases. We’re still in early days for drones being used in everyday service delivery, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon – there are still organizations which are in the process of making the leap from paper-based processes to mobile tools which enable knowledge capture, data sharing, and resource tracking. The future promise of drones might be immense, but there is a lot of work to do to get it past the spectacular and cool to attain the business value some organizations are targeting.

Another connected technology and movement that is very relevant right now is the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is changing the way we think about the world around us and the role that machines should play in service. Connected machines and products have changed the amount and type of data we can gather in real-time. But what is really important for business, is not the amount of data we are able to gather but the fact that we can have data access in real-time and can make decisions based on the now and not on a report cultivated three weeks ago. And this access to data also enables service leaders to proactively stage resources in advance of failures or contact customers to engage in a different type of conversation – one that occurs before there is a break or equipment failure. Without the connection between customer or operational value being created, the IoT like drones would just be a cool thing and not a valuable technology advancement. We have a current project available for your participation in regard to the IoT journey of service organizations. You can participate in a short survey here and share how your organization is ensuring that IoT isn’t just a cool technology but part of the infrastructure which is driving service in 2017.

Other Predictions for 2017 (this year will be more than just Drones)

I expect that there will be tangible service advancements this year, well beyond those seen by drones and maybe even more than the IoT. A few of my predictions are below.

– Technicians will be asked to deliver more than resolution, and will become partners with customers.
– The walls between sales, marketing, and service will begin to fade away to allow for customized service offerings and better communication of value.
– Engaged service workers will provide heightened a service experience for the end customer.

These are just a few of my predictions for the coming year. To hear more of my predictions and better still the initiatives from two service leaders from HPE and Sterilmed, please listen to our recent 2017 Preview Webcast.

The Super Bowl highlighted the future of technology which will have an impact on service as well as entertainment. But I believe the future isn’t too far off for more tangible service advancements, many of which will be aided by technology.

Aly Pinder Jr
Director of Member Research & Communities
The Service Council
ap@servicecouncil.com or @pinderjr

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