Aly Pinder - The Service Council

Friday Service Recap: Succession Planning, Future Service Leaders, Alexa, Credit Cards and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting customer 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 fifteenth installment, and week 20 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Succession Planning at the Leadership Level
Source: WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/succession-planning-in-a-family-business-1494381780

Commentary: On a recent conversation with one of our Advisory Board Members, we touched upon the topic of talent. We’ve had many discussions around talent and workforce management, particularly tied to the aging workforce. But this conversation focused on talent and succession planning at the service leadership level. The Advisory Board Member was interested in understanding what service companies were doing to build the next crop of service leaders. We brought this topic up on our regularly scheduled Research Advisory Board meeting held on May 18 and got some interesting feedback on how prepared service leaders felt about the next crop of business leaders. The conversation featured 3 major takeaways:
– Succession planning is not an event (as per the article). It must take place at all times and at all levels of the business
– Future leaders must be prepared for the role that will be vs. the role that is.
– Governance and process are central to ensuring that future leaders are consistently being evaluated

We’ll be hitting on the topic of succession planning in our 2017 service workforce and talent survey. If interested in participating in that project, please join our workforce and talent research group (http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group).

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Alexa and Paying Your Credit Card Bill
Source: Engadget https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/12/amazon-alexa-american-express/

Commentary: What is the cost of cool technology? Sometimes the sticker shock associated with the purchase of something such as a set of Bose noise-cancelling headphones, a Viking grill, or Amazon Echo may give you pause. But the value of these products, beyond their stated goals for quality and heightened experience, comes down to your perceived ROI. This article details how American Express will soon provide Amazon Echo customers the ability to monitor credit card activity, pay bills, and check a balance. As a recent buyer of an Echo, I am now constantly in search of more applications to that will further integrate Echo into my normal life. Maximizing my investment is a way to validate the purchase. And if this validation fulfills a need like paying a bill, my purchase in this product transforms from a luxury-only item to a more practical product. As seen in recent research on Service Success in 2017 trends (http://info.servicecouncil.com/report-2017-service-success-reg), service organizations will excel this year if they empower their customers with the right data and capabilities to improve their own experiences. This TSC report highlighted how a key initiative for service organizations will be to improve ease of use and reduce the effort for the customer. My Amazon example also highlights the impact of the service network, manufacturers and partners have a symbiotic relationship which demands shared goals and value creation. American Express can enhance their customer’s experiences by creating an integration with Amazon and vice versa.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Dish Offers Customer Service App in Spanish for Smartphones and Tablets (CED, 5/19/17)
2- Nordstrom Customer Experience Influenced by Multiple Touch Points (Loyalty 360, 5/18/17)
3- Systems upgrade causes shipping delays for L.L. Bean (Portland Press Herald, 4/24/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events. We have also released our event calendar for the rest of 2017, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/future-events-2017-sys to see what’s on the calendar and how you can participate.

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. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

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

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

Friday Service Recap: Perception, Bad Press, Customer Experience, Airlines 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 fourteenth installment, and week 19 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Perception Will Remain Reality When It Comes to Customer Service
Source: USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2017/05/10/jd-power-despite-recent-news-airlines-doing-great-customer-service/101498980/

Commentary: This article highlights the impact that bad press and the ability to go viral can have on your customer service brand. Despite showing improvements across a number of key metrics, just a few (really) bad experiences which have been captured on video have created a perception that the airlines don’t really value creating a good experience for customers. Perceived value matters and service organizations across industries must re-evaluate their service brand impressions. Just think about how many times you fly every year. Now, how many truly bad experiences have you had? The problem is, even if that number is one, you see all experiences on all airlines through that lens. This is what it means by thinking customer-first. Instead of thinking about our own operational efficiencies or the way we perceive all the good we do most of the time, we as service leaders need to think about each service interaction and make sure we deliver quality each time. And almost as importantly, each service employee needs to be engaged and invested in delivering great service experiences even when the policy may say something different or they happen to be having a bad day. One poor experience can ruin a brand for a long time. Too often service organizations think they are immune because they have reached a point where only one out of 100,000 errors occur. Let’s just hope that one isn’t the one influencer who can put a dent in your margins.

Sumair’s pick:

Sumair will take another week off, but he will be back with a vengeance next Friday.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Innovation, customer experience and the ‘yuck factor’ (McKnight’s Senior Living, 5/8/17)
2- Customer service and the 4 keys of the Japanese tea ceremony (Asia Times, 5/12/17)
3- Customer Service in Healthcare: The Paradox of Patient Satisfaction and Patient Experience (Forbes, 5/11/17)

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. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

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

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

Friday Service Recap: Customer Value, Amazon, a Mountain of Boxes, New Opportunities, 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 thirteenth installment, and week 18 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Sumair will be taking this week off from posting. He will be back with his thoughts on customer service next week.

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Amazon, a Mountain of Boxes, & Hidden Consequences or Opportunities
Source: CNET: https://www.cnet.com/news/ups-will-save-you-from-that-mountain-of-empty-amazon-boxes/

Commentary: Recently my family and I moved into a new home. The amount of work mirrored that of our day jobs, both in stress and detailed tasks to be executed. One thing, in particular, floored me – the amount of boxes we needed in order to pack up our entire life. On one sleepless night, I had somewhat of an epiphany, instead of buying new boxes why not just move up some of my Amazon purchases so I could fulfill my need for shipping boxes with recycled ones. Now this dual purpose isn’t for everyone, and Amazon is beginning to attempt to address the overwhelming volume of cardboard entering the market. The ease at which most of us hit “confirm purchase” on a 2-day shipment has caused all sorts of issues in the supply chain. But as this article highlights, it provides an opportunity for Amazon and their partners to find innovative ways to not only make their processes more efficient but also to lessen the burden on the consumer. As seen in recent TSC research, most organizations see the customer experience as a differentiator for their businesses. This customer-first approach demands that organizations like Amazon continuously improve their internal efficiencies, while also ensuring they provide customer value. I needed the extra bulky boxes for my move, but not all customers are in my predicament. Savvy service organizations will continue to better understand their customer’s needs, focus on customer value, evolve the offerings they provide and do all of this profitably.

Our Three Other Articles:
1- Fisher & Paykel looks to AI for customer experience (ZDNet, 5/1/17)
2- Customer Experience Transformation: One CMO’s Powerful Story (Forbes.com, 5/3/17)
3- Meet LoweBot, a customer-service robot here to give you ‘superpowers’ (PRI, 5/4/17)

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. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

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

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

Friday Service Recap: The Bank Branch, Labor Issues, MRO, 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 twelfth installment, and week 17 of 2017:


Aly’s pick:

Topic: Customer Service Needs a Human Touch
Source: Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/metro-bank-pairs-bank-branches-with-customer-service-surprise-surprise-it-works-a7703206.html

Commentary: There are many articles and stories welcoming the end to the live, human customer service interaction. We have seen and heard of the looming threat of IoT, AR, VR, and machines which take over service interactions; mainly those that are repeatable and predictable. This emergence of automation and the cost efficiencies that it can bring has all but done away with the physical bank branch. This trend is prevalent across other industries too, just ask the retail industry. Consumers like convenience and the on-demand economy seem to require that service organizations work in an environment of 24/7/365. But something interesting is happening in the face of this type of change. Organizations like the Metro Bank of London have decided the best way to create better customer experiences is not to over-automate but instead provide human interactions in brick and mortar locations. As seen in recent TSC research, 57% of organizations state that customer management and experience initiatives are their top focus in 2017. And the customer wants better service and more value. Despite the higher costs associated with human employees and the overhead of the physical footprint, this bank is betting on the ability to differentiate through personalized engagements and interactions. I think we will continue to see organizations like the Metro Bank try to flip the prevailing paradigm to build loyalty through differentiated experiences. The race to the bottom of the cost structure may soon end, and organizations need to think of innovative ways to cement customer relationships.

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Labor Issues in the MRO field
Source: MRO-Network: http://www.mro-network.com/maintenance-repair-overhaul/labor-technology-issues-could-hamper-mro-prosperity

Commentary: There are many parallels between the service management and MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) fields. The article above talks about some of the key trends in aircraft and aviation-related MRO and these trends are similar to what we see if field service management. In the research presented 78% of organizations indicated that it is becoming more difficult for them to find new talent and to compete with parallel industries for front-line technician talent. Organizations believe that the labor issue will come to an impasse in the next 5-7 years. We recently published similar results tied to the aging and retiring workforce in field service. 7 out of 10 companies that we speak to are concerned about the aging workforce in the next 5-10 years, an issue compounded by a greater complexity of service assets that need to be supported. You can access our recent report here.

On the MRO side, it’s also extremely interesting to see that 62% of organizations indicate that their IT infrastructures are ripe for transformation and that current investments in new technologies and data analytics are yet to have a material impact on their businesses. This too parallels what we see in field service management. There is a desire for organizations to revamp their IT infrastructure to support a more nimble and connected field service organization.

We encourage you to participate in our research groups around field service, service technology, and workforce and talent. In each of these groups, we will be conducting projects that focus on:

• Field Service: Mobility
• Service Technology: Build vs. Buy: The IT Stack for the Service Organization
• Workforce and Talent: The Future Service Workforce

Your alignment with a research group is tied to your area of expertise.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Comcast says customer service overhaul is showing results (The Oregonian, 4/23/17)
2- Insurers Increasingly Embrace Robots over Humans for Customer Service (Insurance Journal, 4/19/17)
3- How can they help you? By making a call to customer service painless (Boston Globe, 4/20/17)

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. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

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

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

Friday Service Recap: Hulu, the Competition, Alarm Fatigue and IoT, 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 eleventh installment, and week 16 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Considering a Solution to Alarm Fatigue with IoT
Source: WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/news/20170411/nurse-whats-taking-so-long

Commentary: As more companies consider investments in the Internet of Things to support their service businesses, there is a fear that organizations would be inundated with too much data and suffer from their own version of alarm fatigue. This was verified by a recent conversation I had with a data scientist at a large medical device manufacturing and servicing organization. Sensors allow for the creation of whole new set of alarms and organizations need to be able to identify which alarms are worth chasing. As per the research conducted in the article it’s extremely interesting to find that the personnel responding to alarms were able to diagnose and respond to the critical alarms while their response to non-critical events varied. Results seen here, as well as those identified in other case studies (here and here) on alarm fatigue, could provide valuable insight on how organizations might look to tackle the challenge of IoT-enabled data. The answer isn’t just to invest in predictive analytics or machine learning, but to truly understand which alarms are worth paying attention to. We’ve discussed some of our best practices tied to IoT strategy in a recent paper.

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Hulu Uses Customer Service to Beat Competition
Source: Tech Crunch: https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/13/hulu-to-open-a-dedicated-customer-service-center-in-san-antonio-with-500-employees/

Commentary: With all the focus recently being placed on customer service and the lack thereof, it should come as no shock that organizations are rethinking their investments in service. However, what I think is interesting about the investments Hulu is planning on making is their desire to use the customer experience to beat their competition. They are thinking about customer service and the experiences they are able to create as “selling points” for their offering. This highlights how customer service can be a proactive value-add and not a response to a bad interaction or product. When we looked at focus areas for service in 2016, two of the top three were people development and customer-centric initiatives (as noted by 46% of respondents, respectively). People deliver the experiences your customers value, and in turn, you have the right to ask for their continued business. Engaged employees understand that dragging a customer off a plane is not good for anyone. Hulu has gotten the message that customer service should be a focus for the present and their future success.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Why Airlines Can Get Away With Bad Customer Service (the Atlantic, 4/15/17)
2- Improving Customer Service Can Make You More Money (The Huffington Post, 4/16/17)
3- Aeromexioco: First Advanced AI Customer Service Chatbot (eTurboNews, 4/19/17)

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. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

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

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

A Few Thoughts from the Field Service Summit UK

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

After another week of poor customer service examples (i.e., United Airlines), it was refreshing to hear about good customer service at Copperberg’s Field Service Summit at the University of Warwick in England. The event was a day-long series of discussions from service leaders, field service technology providers, and the research community highlighting how service can deliver value to customers which exceeds expectations.

At these events, I typically look for trends that are in alignment with the data captured in my day-to-day research. I also look for key learnings that challenge me to look at an aspect of service which previously not on my radar. This event provided several nuggets which made the trip across the ocean more than worthwhile. Here are the three items which most drew my attention:

The balance between employee perks and productivity
For many of us, our work days are blending into our personal lives. Our always-on lifestyles which afford us to work 24 hours a day via the computer in our pockets with the capabilities to get and respond to email any time, schedule a meeting, attend meetings via video chat, and sign an invoice while on the go, also provides us with the ability to waste away our ‘free’ time on Facebook, Instagram, or Pokemon Go. The convergence of work and personal applications is causing IT departments to weigh in on the debate over engagement vs. cost and productivity in field service. What is too much (personal) data usage and does this access to personal apps during the work day improve or distract the field team? As seen in recent TSC research, field service engineers in Europe often feel isolated from their peers, their managers, and the rest of the organization. Based on the discussions at the Field Service Summit, I think organizations need to provide the field team with the technology to do their job, but also the tools to stay connected to their peers for collaboration, interaction, and camaraderie. There are protocols that can be put in place to monitor and curtail abuse, but these small perks shouldn’t be taken away as you may end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Technicians and skilled field staff are too difficult to find, and thus service organizations must provide incentives to hold on to these members of the team even if your data plan gets pushed to the limit.

The paperless field visit is a myth
For years now there has been a perception that with added functionality of mobile devices we could reach a point where a technician would only need one device to do all their work and wouldn’t need paper forms at all. This perceived nirvana doesn’t seem to be getting any closer (if this was the desired nirvana at all). The worst part of the technician’s day is, in fact, paperwork and administrative tasks as well as looking for information, as found in TSC research.

FT Europe - Worst Part of Day

But paper isn’t going away. Several service leaders detailed a field environment where an engineer needed to go on to a customer site where device access was restricted. This instance makes the paperless field visit impossible, as a technician must do their work via paper forms or service manuals, and then once back in the truck complete the task. This example highlights that there isn’t one size fits all for field service. Organizations must be able to adapt to their customer’s environments and demands while enabling the technician with the information (no matter the form factor) to solve problems on a first visit.

Connectivity, connectivity, connectivity
The ability to connect is something we often take for granted in our personal lives. While traveling, I assume I will have Wi-Fi in airports, and my frustration rises whenever I get a prompt to pay for a daily pass when all I need is an hour of connectivity until my next flight. For me, this is just an inconvenience, but for a technician attempting to access up-to-date work information, this is much more of a bother. This lack of connectivity can be the difference between prompt resolution on a first visit and the need to call back to a remote expert or worse yet the potential use of outdated information to try a series of “fixes”. The need to resolve issues faster for customers who have increased expectations is putting a strain on service teams who conduct work in remote areas where connectivity is limited and mobile information is of little use. In my opinion, the future of ubiquitous connectivity is far off, and organizations need to assume technicians will have to complete work offline at times. Success depends on equipping technicians with the right information and knowledge to solve problems regardless of levels of connectivity because it is not always available. Your customers don’t care if you have a connection, they need you to resolve their issues and ensure downtime is minimized.

These are just a few of the themes and takeaways from this year’s Field Service Summit. I look forward to attending again next year. If you would like to continue discussions like these, you don’t have to wait until next year to join in the conversation. Please get involved in The Service Council research here and mark your calendar for this year’s sixth annual Smarter Services Symposium to be held in Chicago, IL September 11 – 13 where all of these topics and more will be discussed. I hope to see you in Chicago later this year or next year back in the UK (or places in between).

Aly Pinder Jr
Director of Member Research & Communities
The Service Council
ap@servicecouncil.com
818-590-5373
@pinderjr

Friday Service Recap: Baseball, Opening Day, KLM, Social Support, 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 ninth installment, and week 14 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Baseball and a Captive Audience
Source: wtop: http://wtop.com/washington-nationals/2017/04/nationals-pledge-customer-service-staff-opening-day-snafu/

Commentary: How often do we set ourselves up for failure in customer service? This article highlights the frustrations of customers at a baseball game as they attempted to use ATMs so they could willingly spend more money. What business would make it more difficult for their customers to buy more services?

This problem is not only faced by the Nationals on Opening Day. Service organizations in other industries have also found ways to turn away a captive audience of buyers based on either a bad service experience or poor infrastructure to support the customer interaction. For example, a service technician who is solely focused on the work order at hand, while missing the opportunity to proactively fix other equipment under warranty on the customer site. Or a contact center agent who should have full visibility into the customer’s contact information, but still asks you to repeat your information for the umpteenth time or doesn’t know which products you have purchased from them. These are missed opportunities to show the customer that you not only care, but that you can proactively wow them. Our research highlights that 94% of organizations plan to make the improvement of the customer experience a priority for the business. But too often this is a goal which isn’t tangible to the front line. It should be simpler – listen to your customers, provide them with offerings which they need and value, and when you mess up like the Nationals on Opening Day put a plan in place to fix the experience quickly and tell your customers that you have addressed the issues. Having a captive audience isn’t enough, you must deliver value and the experience customers want.

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: KLM drives revenue from social support.
Source: VentureBeat: https://venturebeat.com/2015/05/21/klms-150-social-media-customer-service-agents-generate-25m-in-annual-revenue/

Commentary: We don’t see much being discussed in the way of social support anymore. In fact, social has become the precursor to interactions via messaging. At Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference in 2016, KLM shared how its 235 strong social team reviews and responds to 100,000 mentions a week. A majority of new social interactions are tied to FaceBook Messenger where KLM has seen a 250% year-over-year growth in interactions. The Service Council’s research shows how more organizations are looking at messaging as a means to interact with their customers. Artificial Intelligence, provided by tools such as DigitalGenius, Kylie, True AI, is seen as a major enabler assisting live agents as they solve customer queries. Then there’s also the use of chatbots to solve basic / standardized customer queries. This is bound to be one of the most talked about spaces in the customer service and support space.

Our Three Other Articles
1- AI for Customer Service Agents (VentureBeat, 4/5/17)
2- Kudos to Chik Fil A (QSR, 3/27/17)
3- Amazon will pay you to stay home, work customer service (The News Tribune, 4/6/17)

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. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

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: Siri, Alexa, Hotels, Hacking Tractors, 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 eight installment, and week 13 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Hacking Tractors for Service
Source: MotherBoard: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/why-american-farmers-are-hacking-their-tractors-with-ukrainian-firmware

Commentary: Equipment manufacturers are finding innovative ways to stave off competition from third-party repair shops. In their pursuit to capture and protect service revenue, OEMs are increasing their use of software and connectivity in their products to limit the reach of third-parties. While the article covers a situation where this is happening in farm equipment, this trend is also occurring in areas of medical devices and other industrial equipment. The issue arises when support resources aren’t readily or easily available to the end customer that needs assistance. While many industries are encouraging self-service to ease the burden on their support centers and to expedite service issues, other industries have yet to find the right balance between self-service and OEM-provided support. Till then, customers have to find unique ways to keep things working.

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Siri vs. Alexa Vying for a Place in a Hotel Near You
Source: TechCrunch: https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/27/amazons-alexa-and-apples-siri-are-waging-war-over-the-hotel-room/

Commentary: The battle between Amazon and Google in the voice assistant market might seem like a reboot of the days of PlayStation vs. Xbox or VCR vs Betamax. But I think this battle royale will be more significant in relation to its impact on business and specifically on customer service. This may seem like sacrilege based on the $91 Billion dollars brought in from the video game industry in 2016, and the ubiquity of a VCR in just about every US home in the late 80’s and 90’s. But the reason I believe the battle for our wallet being waged by Amazon and Google will be bigger is the convergence of customer service expectations and the integration between apps in our world. Most of us, at least in the US, assume we will have seamless service experiences and at a high quality. In this environment, the virtual assistant will not only connect you to answers like “what is the weather outside right now”, but you will be able to order AA batteries with your voice when your kids remote control car dies. And that shipment might just arrive within hours saving a parent the agony of a sobbing child. The integrated nature of this technology to support not only information but also commerce and all at a high level of customer service becomes a game-changer. I haven’t made my decision yet on which product I will purchase for my family, but as this article highlights hotels might tilt this battle soon. And the hotel industry’s desire to incorporate this technology only further highlights its impact on delivering high levels of service. Hotel chains want to do whatever they can to provide patrons with anything they need, and Siri or Alexa have the ability to make this job much easier and seamless.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Wayfair’s Innovative Recruitment Methods Help Drive Their Award Winning Customer Service (Forbes, 3/28/17)
2- Why Luxury Brands Need to Focus on the Human Customer Experience (Chief!Marketer, 3/24/17)
3- Uber for Car Repair (GeekWire, 3/28/17)

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. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

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: Zappos, Chatbots, the Perfect Order, 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 seventh installment, and week 12 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Zappos & the 1-800-Line to a Human
Source: If Chatbots Win, Customers Lose, Says Zappos Customer Service Expert: https://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2017/03/23/customers-lose-if-chatbots-win-says-zappos-customer-service-expert/#112fbc336087

Commentary: The impact of artificial intelligence and chatbots in customer service is more than science fiction (as seen in our “Other Articles” below). But when should organizations use machines to deliver service and when is the human touch more appropriate? The customer experience is important for businesses and missing an opportunity to deliver value is no longer acceptable. As seen in recent summary findings from our CEx research, 94% of organizations state the improvement of the customer experience is a priority for their business with 68% seeing CX as a differentiator. These findings only muddy the water regarding how service organizations need to approach the use of technology to support customers in a more efficient way which may be less friendly (but less costly). If CX is so important and the way in which you beat out your competition for share of wallet and new customers, why would you ever leave service to a robot. I think the sweet spot is finding which interactions your customers are ok with an android and which demand empathy and that extra mile only delivered (currently) by a human. Sometimes you just need a simple answer which can be delivered quickly via an automated solution. In these cases, waiting for a human might be more frustrating for a customer. So, I don’t think the Zappos stance of a human interaction as always being the interaction which provides the most value as true for all businesses, but I would definitely be a customer for life if a human customer service agent went the extra mile(s) to return my prized possession.

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Perfect Orders and Customer Satisfaction
Source: Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevebanker/2016/02/03/a-leading-computer-manufacturers-perfect-order-journey/#38f42be46582

Commentary: This is an interesting piece on Dell’s use of Perfect Order Metric (POM) as an indicator of customer satisfaction. POM is a compound metric built on other performance metrics and is used in supply chain management. There are other compound metrics such as the perfect pick used in warehouse management. POM has its critics and detractors but is a valuable benchmarking resource especially when based on factors that are most important to customers. In Dell’s instance, customers wanted the organization to improve in areas measured by the metric, therefore allowing for a better link between results and customer loyalty scores.

Does field service need a compound metric? We investigated this concept a while back. It might be difficult to compare the metric across organizations with varying field service models, but it could be a vital number for organizations to consider when evaluating or tracking their progress.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Customer Service Chatbots Are About to Become Frighteningly Realistic (MIT Review, 3/22/17)
2- Improving Customer Experience With Marketing Analytics At 3 Day Blinds (Forbes, 3/23/17)
3- Bad Customer Service Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Business (Small Business Trends, 3/20/17)

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. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

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: AHT, Service Excellence, Silos, and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Uncategorized | 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 sixth installment, and week 11 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: AHT. It’s time to Move On.
Source: HBR: https://hbr.org/2017/02/call-length-is-the-worst-way-to-measure-customer-service

Commentary: We agree that AHT (average handle time) shouldn’t be the barometer for customer support performance. As customers engage in a higher degree of self-service for low complexity issues, they are likely to reach out for live support for issues that are complex and require proper diagnosis and care. In this, putting agents on the clock drives the wrong behavior. TSC’s research has shown that organizations are slowly gravitating towards a framework of scores to measure customer service and customer experience. Most organizations still look at CSAT and loyalty scores. An emerging group, 37% of our group, now measure and evaluate customer experience on the basis of customer effort or ease of doing business.

The authors do indicate that AHT is useful for an organization to assess its overall performance and its cost drivers and can help prioritize future investments. That said, agent performance and recognition should be based on resolution as opposed to speed.

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Breaking down silos to create culture of service
Source: Marketing Week: https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/03/09/siloes-bureaucracy-holding-back-customer-experience-study-finds/

Commentary: The siloed organization is nothing new. I feel like we’ve discussed this topic for a decade already, if not longer. But as this article highlights IT departments are still siloed from service, and HR still doesn’t work with customer support to identify and deploy a strategy. For service organizations that mainly support break/fix, reactive service engagements, the entire organization may not be needed and thus a siloed structure won’t cause havoc. But as service models evolve to being more proactive and predictive, other teams are needed to successfully deliver service. For example, IT is needed to design equipment to capture performance data, HR is needed to hire service workers with soft skills, and sales is needed to position contracts that charge for predictive support. As recent TSC data shows one of the top reasons why innovative projects like IoT connectivity don’t get off the ground is the inability to gain internal buy-in across departments (as stated by 41% of respondents) – silos of thought, strategy, and action. Service is a team game and the entire organization needs to be involved and bought-in to achieve service excellence and wow customers. If walls remain between functions of the business, the ability to deliver innovations in service will remain stunted.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Customer service still makes the difference at Mequon Ace (OnMilwaukee, 3/14/17)
2- VW Korea promotes higher customer service through ‘We Care’ campaign (The Korea Herald, 3/16/17)
3- In a tiny town, a phone company right out of a Rockwell painting (The Boston Globe, 3/11/17)

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. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

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

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