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

Friday Service Recap: Tesla, Customer Loyalty, the Banking Industry and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

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 fifth installment, and week 10 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Sales practices threaten customer satisfaction in banking industry
Source: HousingWire: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/39475-jd-power-sales-practices-threaten-customer-satisfaction-in-banking-industry

Commentary: A customer’s trust should be invaluable to a service organization. Customer loyalty and advocacy are levels of satisfaction that most service organizations strive to achieve. This article highlights how this trust and loyalty should have been treated with reverence and not like a blank check. The customer and their best interests should always be a priority and not only when times are tough, as was the case after the financial crisis in the banking industry. To avoid some of the issues in regard to a sales team and a customer support team with different goals, organizations must look to create a culture of transparency, collaboration across functions (i.e., sales, service), and a customer first attitude. These three areas combined force a long-term vision of the organization and its responsibility to its customers, and not a short-term return.

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Tesla Faces Customer Service Hiccups as it Ramps Up
Source: Motely Fool: https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/03/07/repairing-my-tesla-model-s-has-been-an-utter-night.aspx

Commentary: There are several Tesla customer service stories hitting the web, but the overarching concern is if Tesla can ramp up its service operations to support nearly a half-million new customers in the next two years tied to its Model 3 release. If the company continues to follow its current model of company-owned sales and service centers, then it certainly needs to ramp up its capabilities to effectively meet service needs. This might create an untenable capital situation given the number of stores and employees needed to support a growing mass of customers. In that, Tesla might have to rethink its direct sales and support strategy and adapt a hybrid version where dealers are introduced into its network. The company currently uses certified third-party stores for cosmetic work, a strategy that has led to this current customer service storm.

Our Three Other Articles
1- McDonalds simplifies its Ice Cream machines to Cool Customer Complaints (Inc., 3/6/17)
2- Machine Learning Used to Improve Customer Service (Tech Republic, 3/9/17)
3- DFW Airport named No. 1 in customer service in North America (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3/6/17)

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: Human Voice, 24-hour Customer Support, Hulu Live and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

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 fourth installment, and week 9 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Human Voice and its Impact on Work
Source: MIT Sloan Management Review: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/why-the-human-voice-is-the-years-most-important-technology/

Commentary: Voice can be a powerful agent, especially when it relates to field based work. We (The Service Council) have previously commented on how voice-based interactive agents can support field service engineers get their work done. Quite often the eye shifts to augmented reality and the impact of that technology on solving field-based issues. We do believe in the long-run impact of AR in the field, the impact will be more significant in the area of training. In saying that, voice-based interactive agents can greatly assist field agents complete basic tasks of order entry and recording without actually having to spend the time on recording those tasks in a mobile application. In our direct-to-engineer surveys, we found that the time spent on administrative tasks was the most significant headache for field engineers in their day-to-day work (Read more here). Removing these headaches can have a significant impact on field-based productivity.

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Hulu adds 24-hour customer support as it goes Live
Source: Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-hulu-services-idUSKBN16904T

Commentary: Competition and customer attrition have shown a bright light on the impact of good customer service. This is not unique to the world of TV services such as Hulu, and has led organizations in both B2B and B2C markets to focus on customer experience as a key differentiator. For Hulu, investments in a 24-hour non-stop customer support team should have been a no-brainer and not a result of seeing at times up to a 50% customer defection. But a lost customer isn’t the only threat, poor customer service can lead to negative social media which has a broader reach than just a factor of one. Customer support in the age of social and heightened customer expectations demands that service agents can be reached (across support channels) and they have the right answer when an issue arises. Customer service still seems to be a reaction to unmet customer needs as opposed to a strategic aspect of the service business. Businesses, regardless of industry, need to view support as a strategic differentiator and not something to be added as a response to a growing number of complaints.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Alexa could pick up your next customer service call (CNET, 2/28/17)
2- Great Customer Service Starts with a Clear Purpose (Harvard Business Review, 2/28/17)
3- How to Get Better Customer Service, and Skip the Rage (New York Times, 2/28/17)

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

Don’t Let a $300 Part Ground Your Business

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Can a $300 part be mission critical, to a billion-dollar business? Well, it is if it happens to be the last $300 part available and the one needed to get a Boeing 777 off the ground from Seattle to Dubai. I recently came across just this event in an article by Deena Kamel “Emirates says Flight was Delayed After Delta Withheld $300 Spare Part,” Bloomberg, last modified Feb 9, 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-09/emirates-says-flight-was-delayed-as-delta-withheld-300-spare.

Shared Parts Amongst the Competition

The airline industry has an agreement amongst carriers that they will share parts if and when one is needed to support each other’s operations, as per article. Competition is a big part of the airline business, but the industry attempts to keep all planes in the air by sharing spare parts when one is needed.

But this system broke down for Emirates when they required a minor hydraulic component. They didn’t have one and the one provided them by Delta Air Lines was taken back after it was initially offered. It is unclear if the part was installed on the Emirates plane or just in the process to be installed. Delta’s reason for pulling the part back from their peer, “it was the last part of its kind in Delta inventory.” And Delta has a policy that maintains they must always have at least one part on hand per location at all times. So even though they had initially granted Emirates the part, it had to be pulled back just in case Delta had a failure of their own. This caused a six-plus hour delay for the Emirates flight, and led to some very unhappy Emirates’ passengers as their 14.5-hour flight just became 20+.

How Could this Have been Avoided?

A couple lessons come to mind as I ponder this story –

1. Have a Plan – Service is an unpredictable beast. As I think back to my days in warehouse management, even when we had more information than we thought we needed we often found ourselves at the mercy of the smallest hiccups which changed our day. This case is no different, a $300 part delaying a whole flight destined to travel across the world seems absurd. However, even though Emirates had a plan and a back-up to that plan, there was still a breakdown. Their plans and partners need to be tested and ready for changes in conditions. Understanding which parts are mission critical, which should be stocked for a rainy day, which partners have the surplus to support your equipment, and which partners can be relied upon is imperative. Forecasting service demand and having combined visibility into partner inventory will provide more than peace of mind – it will provide certain that issues can be resolved.

2. Know What’s in Inventory – Despite not being on the “losing end” of this story, Delta must also understand their vulnerability here. The service team on the ground in Seattle didn’t have visibility into the parts inventory and needed to be told by central headquarters that this particular part needed to be held on to. As soon as this part became the last part available under this number, notifications and triggers should have gone off to notify procurement to source more. This occurrence should have also been communicated to the Seattle team to let them know not to offer the part up in the first place. This lack of visibility and communication between top and front lines across the service chain resulted in more than just bad press; and all of it could have been avoided.

3. Parts Have an Impact on the Customer Experience – Parts often get a bad rap. Unless they are needed, they often are an afterthought. But as this example proves, one part can greatly impact a business and the travel plans of an entire plane. I don’t think consumers will research which airlines are using which parts management solutions as part of their selection criteria, as price and comfort will most likely reign for the time being. But if enough flights get grounded because the right part isn’t available at the time of need, customers will begin to equate the likelihood of having a great flight experience with the likelihood that ACME Airline has an efficient service supply chain.

This example of a failed service call highlights the impact of parts fill rates in relation to first time fix and resolution rates for organizations. We recently held a conversation between a few service executives and discussed some of their challenges in regard to parts management. Fill rates and their impact on SLAs and resolution was a particularly engaging portion of the call. For these organizations, the path to improving part fill rates organizations relied on enhanced parts planning, increased visibility across the entire service supply chain, and comprehensive performance management of partners. If Delta had visibility into their inventory or had communicated the process properly, they would have been able to decline the request from Emirates earlier on. Therefore, allowing Emirates to search for another partner avoiding the customer service and PR headaches of this delayed resolution. Both sides of this equation need to re-evaluate their operations and ensure a critical error like this is an anomaly.


Tell Your Service Parts Story

We plan on tackling more aspects of parts management throughout the year. If you are interested in joining our Parts research group, please follow this link.* We will launch the first TSC benchmark for the parts group in mid-March 2017. If you would like to participate please join the research group. If you just want to know what research projects we’re working on, come back for updates HERE.

(* 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.)

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

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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