Don’t Let the Complex Stop Your Success – Four Steps to Avoid Service Supply Chain Failure

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

The service leader of today has a lot on his or her plate. Just a few years ago, he/she was primarily expected to manage a service team to efficiently and cost effectively deliver service per Service Level Agreements and service contracts. Show up on time, resolve the issue, and move on to the next job.

But, today the service leader is now looked upon to drive at revenue opportunities and wow customers with an enhanced experience at each interaction. With often contradictory goals, service leaders can’t be blamed for looking for a new line of work. But to their credit, service leaders and their front-line employees love what they do and take the delivery of excellent service on as a challenge not a burden.

However, the complexities of the service supply chain (i.e., parts visibility, variety of parts, lack of internal focus on service) have made these goals of delivering customer value more difficult, but not impossible. Customer-centricity demands more than just the establishment of a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program from the marketing department or the sending out of feedback surveys after customer service calls. Service organizations and manufacturers must come to the realization that in order to deliver exceptional experiences, functions beyond the field or customer support team must be aligned and accountable for their role in the delivery of service. Specifically, stakeholders in the service supply chain must recognize the impact that they have on customer experience. In the past, the service supply chain which includes service parts planning, forward and reverse logistics, repair, and inventory management, was not looked upon for its impact on the customer. Service parts were typically managed by the supply chain group or business function and the tools to manage parts were primarily concerned with containing costs and enhancing visibility. This mindset is outdated.

To connect the service supply chain with the support organization, service leaders must focus on four critical areas:

Revisit the Metrics of Success
As the focus of service leaders has evolved from being primarily operationally focused to become more customer-focused, so too must the metrics that determine success. Fill rates and probabilities of stock outs are important to measure, but organizations must review a hierarchy of metrics that touch upon operational results, customer outcomes, and commercial success. Is a secondary truck roll required because the technician didn’t have the right or a good part? Did a customer call in to the contact center because the part on their new piece of equipment was defective? Service leaders need to understand how all of these metrics tie together to ensure that they are driving at the right results.
TSC-HS-DataSlide-AP
Respond to the Information Needs of the Team
Customers expect faster and better service. The complexities of the service supply chain make this challenging. At the core of this challenge is information and the confidence that key decision makers are basing their actions on the right information. This requires an integration of information silos. For example, effective parts planning requires the planning tools to pull information from case management and field service execution systems. Similarly, effective parts execution requires that inventory solutions are integrated with field service scheduling and dispatch.

Retool the Service Technology Infrastructure
The tools that have supported the service supply chain have provided only a partial view into parts. Service parts management accounts to more than just parts tracking or inventory management. The dynamic nature of customer expectations and the need to balance suppliers, partners, and a field support team demands a more robust technology infrastructure which is specific to the needs of service. The solution and technology infrastructure for service parts must be able to be scalable to support new regions, product lines, and customer types, accessible by multiple groups, and flexible to changing needs of service.

Rethink the Service Strategy and Team
Where do parts sit within the organization? This is a question that hasn’t been resolved for many organizations just yet as highlighted by 40% of organizations managing parts within service and 32% under supply chain. But whether service parts are managed by supply chain or by the service function, there needs to be dedicated processes, dedicated resources, and a dedicated strategy to support its success. Parts and the service supply chain touch upon too many aspects of the business to be siloed. Organizations that fail to prioritize service parts and integrate the discipline into a broader customer support framework will suffer.

If you would like to explore more of the trends regarding the topic of the service supply chain, feel free to listen to an on-demand webinar I participated in with service leaders from Becton Dickinson and Lexmark here. When you download the webinar recording, you will receive exclusive access to a recent report from The Service Council which further highlights the challenges facing the service leader regarding parts management and what they need to do to excel. Finally, if you would like to join the on-going discussion of parts management and the service supply chain please join our research group of Parts Leaders. As a member of this research group you will be able to benchmark your organization’s maturity against your peers and gain access to research highlighting a path to improvement.

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

Friday Service Recap: Tesla, Safety, Zappos, Culture 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 nineteenth installment, and week 23 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Zappos & a Culture of Customer Care
Source: Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2017/06/12/tony-hsieh-spills-the-beans-the-one-word-secret-of-zappos-customer-service-success/#2c8d95d81acc)

Commentary: Customer service is not a department. This is not a new tagline or a wholly unique idea. The impact of the customer experience has become a focus area for many organizations, and the realization that service is something that must be engrained in the DNA of the organization has gained steam across a number of industries. Many of these organizations come to this realization as the result of changes to their competitive environment which has forced them to re-evaluate the way in which they woo customers. This is not the case for Zappos and never has been. And, I know I highlighted Zappos during our seventh installment, but Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, has long been one of the leaders I have admired as being forward-thinking in regards to creating a customer-first culture, and I couldn’t resist sharing another glimpse into their story.

A few years back I had the pleasure of touring their new headquarters in Downtown Las Vegas. What was most intriguing was their customer centric mentality wasn’t just plastered on posters across the office or a focus on their employee blog, but a part of every aspect of what we saw within that building and everyone we met. From the tour guide who took us around the office, to the employees that were still “working” when we showed up, to Tony’s desk which was right there amongst the other employees (no corner office), we felt the vibe of customer-first. Too often we think a customer-first mentality needs to focus solely on the client-facing staff, but I would argue that as shown by Zappos it must start at the top and become entrenched in everyone’s mindset across the entire organization. We should all take a page from Zappos and look at customer service not as something that can be measured by a score but as part of the value that can be delivered by anyone within the organization to show customers we care.

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Taking Safety Seriously at Tesla
Source: Inc. (https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/elon-musk-sent-an-extraordinary-email-to-employees-and-taught-a-major-lesson-in.html)

Commentary: In speaking about this with several service leaders, the jury is out on if this is good or poor leadership. It’s good because it shows the leader’s passion for the topic and how safety truly is an executive priority. It’s poor leadership and it points to unsustainable growth and development practices, ones that aren’t supported with the right processes. I tend to see this as good leadership, as employees are driven by an emotional leader, one that is willing to invest his/her personal time in ensuring that their basic needs are met. That said, emotion will only go so far. An emotional response without an appropriate long-term fix will reduce the impact of the next emotional response. Safety, as a topic, requires executive sponsorship and direction. If it’s a priority at the top, it will be a priority at all levels of the organization.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Leveraging Your Brand’s Digital Presence for Customer Service Initiatives (HuffPost, 6/15/17)
2- Amazon delivers a new standard of retail and customer service (Orlando Business Journal, 6/15/17)
3- Apple Undercuts Facebook in the augmented reality platform war (Tech Crunch, 6/13/17)

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

Symposium Series: Invigorating Service Journeys

By Sumair Dutta | Perspective | No Comments

We are now 3 months away from The Service Council’s Smarter Services Symposium (Sept 11-13, 2017, Learn More). Last month, we took a few minutes to introduce the theme for the event, Invigorating Service Journeys, on a preview webcast (Access On-Demand). In discussing the theme with speakers and prospective contributors, I’ve realized that we seem to have hit a nerve. Let me explain.

The theme for this year’s event is Invigorating Service Journeys. While it works as a stand-alone theme, it does build on the themes of past events while staying true to our broader foundational research principle of Smarter Services. The core of Smarter Services is that the forces of customer satisfaction and business profitability are not adversarial but actually work hand-in-hand. It makes business sense to satisfy, retain and grow your customers. Many have pushed this message in numerous flavors but I vividly remember this concept being shared by Joe Pinto from Cisco Systems at my very first service event nearly 15 years ago. Joe spoke of the importance of taking a customer lifecycle approach and comparing customer acquisition cost with customer retention cost. Joe continues to share his vision at service leadership events.

In reviewing the results of our 2017 service strategy and leadership benchmark, we’ve identified that leading organizations (Service Champions) are those that have embraced the concept of service journeys. For these Champions, service success isn’t limited to operational efficiency, customer-centricity, or commercial success. Its about bringing all three of these together to ensure the delivery of value to the customer, the service network, and to the internal stakeholders in the organization.

In building their service strategy and portfolios, most organizations start by tackling the operational aspects of service delivery. They then mature to focusing on customer-centric activities, typically with an initial foray into customer surveying or voice of the customer. The more mature organizations then review customer feedback and begin to re-evaluate the portfolio of service products available to customers. Bringing these three areas of focus together is the sweet spot, and thats exactly what we’re looking to investigate this September.
Definition of Service Journeys

If you are interested in Invigorating your Organization’s Service Journey, I encourage you to join us in September. You can:

  1. Request the Agenda (Link)
  2. Register for the Event (Link)
  3. Share Your Story (Link)

If you can’t wait till September, and you’d like to learn more about Service Champions and their business maturity, I encourage you to participate in our Service Leadership and Strategy Benchmark for 2017. To do so, please join our service leadership research group and you will receive an invite to participate in the strategy assessment.

JOIN THE LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY RESEARCH GROUP

The USPS, First Female Postmaster, Lego, Camping 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 experience 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.2
For the eighteenth installment, and week 22 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: The Customer-Centric Lego Rebuild
Source: The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/04/how-lego-clicked-the-super-brand-that-reinvented-itself)

Commentary: According to Forbes magazine, Lego was the most powerful brand in 2017. This is incredible considering the struggles that the company was going through in the early 2000s. There are multiple reasons for this turnaround documented in the article, but the one factor is most interesting is the concept of “Camping with Customers” wherein Lego conducts one of the largest ethnographic studies of children in the world. What’s really interesting about this customer-focused approach is that the company not only studies what toys kids want to play with, but they also spend days and days in understanding the ebbs and flows of their customers’ lives. In other service scenarios, this would equate to not only learning about how customers use your products, but how the products fit into the overall routine and livelihood of the customer.

Aly’s pick:

Topic: USPS and the Customer Experience
Source: The Buffalo News (http://buffalonews.com/2017/06/08/postmaster/)

Commentary: When you do a word association with the United States Postal Service, customer service is probably not one of the terms that comes to mind. And, this sentiment is coming from a son of a postal worker. But the USPS is one of those public services that is riddled with inefficiencies and gets a reputation for not being the most customer-friendly institution to work with (i.e., long lines, increasing prices, fewer services being offered). But what this article highlights is one leader’s focus on delivering high levels of service experience not only to the customer but also to employees. This incoming postmaster has figured out that in today’s competitive environment, you win with customer service and engaged employees. Historically, in industries that have had monopolies or few competitors, the customer experience was less of a focus. But now regardless of the number of competitors, customers have options and service organizations need to be mindful of this factor. The citizens of Buffalo should be ecstatic that they are getting someone who values customer experiences because that mindset means they will also receive value and innovations. When service organizations listen to customers, the good organizations work to improve the product or the service.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Apple unveils Business Chat, which brings customer service and shopping into iMessage (Tech Crunch, 6/9/17)
2- How plant-protein brand Vega uses Instagram for customer service (DIGIDAY, 6/6/17)
3- Harvey Nichols’ marketing boss on transforming the brand through a focus on customer experience (Marketing Week, 6/2/17)

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

LiveWorx 2017 Recap: Two-Part Series – Service Takeaways

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Last month, I attended PTC’s LiveWorx event in Boston, MA. Once again, this event brought together technology vendors, systems integrators, manufacturers, service organizations, the analyst community, and academia, to explore the possible as it pertains to the Internet of Things and other innovative technologies. This year was headlined by a few announcements which will be detailed by my colleague Sumair Dutta (check back for his thoughts on the event). But, I wanted to focus on the Service impact and takeaways I found from the conference pertaining to service parts management, field service, and the customer experience. Below are my three main takeaways:

Service Parts Management captured the lion share of time regarding service transformation.
This should come as little shock as over the years PTC has acquired several organizations with strong offerings in this service parts space including Servigistics, MCA Solutions, and Xelus. Though those acquisitions go back a few years, PTC is still determined to lay out the strength of their industry-specific capabilities:

o Simulation – This year’s event highlighted an increased spotlight regarding service parts simulation. During this session, an executive from Philips Healthcare which uses a PTC partner supported solution for simulation discussed not only the solution which enabled some interesting analysis techniques and modeling (i.e., Monte Carlo Simulation, network assessments) but more importantly for me was the customer talked about the team behind the data analysis. We continue to see investments being made not only in technology to support better analysis, but service-specific teams to make this data actionable for service. Recent TSC research showed that in order to improve parts focused metrics like fill rate or inventory turns, organizations needed to focus on better planning. The need to improve planning for service across a more complex service supply chain is one of the reasons that there is a great deal of interest in simulation for parts management. The emergence of analytics for service parts is a brave new world which I am interested to see evolve as machines get smarter, customers demand more flexibility in service interactions, and customer feedback comes from a higher variety of channels. With investments in teams and technology for service parts analytics, I expect to continue to see more advanced modeling and analysis come to service in future events and discussions.

o Pricing – At this year’s LiveWorx, parts pricing was centered around the connected asset with a discussion regarding supplier management and the link with pricing. A link was made between the data from parts failure gleaned from the IoT and how that could be used to not only adjust prices based on the scarcity of available replacements but also allowed service organizations to go back to suppliers to have a data-driven discussion around quality. These discussion points went well beyond the argument of moving past a cost-plus pricing model, which I believe has been settled, to explore the impact that pricing has on profitability, supplier relationships, the customer, and the field’s ability to deliver resolution.

A New Service Focus on the Manufacturing Floor Enters the Spotlight.
At past LiveWorx events, service often focused around solving an equipment failure (or predicting one) in the field. Key industries this approach focused around where heavy equipment manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, and aerospace and defense. But announced this year, PTC is looking to provide tools to support both service in the field and also move to a focus on the manufacturing floor. The PTC team feels its history in PLM, CAD, and Product Innovation will provide an integrated approach as to service needs delivered inside a manufacturing facility. There are specific requirements a facilities manager must abide by regarding servicing assets which make this focus an opportunity for PTC (i.e., quickly notifying design of failure modes). It seems like this is a natural progression to expand offerings to an install base which has unmet needs. However, I do think in this environment which is often already rich with ERP players, will demand PTC be cognizant of supplanting solutions already in place which is an area they haven’t wanted to play in. Also, a focus on the manufacturing shouldn’t mean PTC turns away from a field service market which continues to search for solutions that enable technicians and support teams to better service customers efficiently while driving the customer experience and revenues.

The Field Needs a More Prominent Role in the AR/VR Discussion.
In year’s past, field service as it relates to technicians fixing things in the field was more substantially featured. This prominence could be perceived a result of many of the customers of PTC coming from heavy equipment and manufacturing industries where equipment was out in field locations. But at this year’s event, as noted above, the focus has come inside the walls of the manufacturing facility. I see a lot of promise and activity in field service across OEMs and service organizations. In recent research tied to Augmented Reality, nearly two-thirds of organizations are evaluating AR for their service teams. These organizations are looking to improve field service performance support, diagnosis of failures, and remote support. The focus on the manufacturing floor is important, but I think the field is still a fertile ground for innovation broadly speaking but also when we specifically think about the future of AR and VR. At last year’s event, the killer app for AR was Service and PTC has the opportunity to show more use cases of service organizations using AR to promote field outcomes and value being delivered to the front line.

This year’s LiveWorx was once again a fun exploration of the future of technology for service organizations and manufacturers. I do think there is an opportunity for PTC to tie technology innovation closer to the service leader’s roadmap when thinking about getting the right information to the field team to solve more complex problems. The service story took on a lesser role at this year’s event compared to the Manufacturing use case. I would like to see more examples of how PTC service customers are leveraging the solution to deliver resolution and service outcomes. AR and VR show promise, but still being early days with this technology we need to ensure the service story connects the dots both on the manufacturing floor as well as out in the field for service.

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

Your Machines are Talking. Now What?

By Sumair Dutta | Perspective | No Comments

Data must drive action. Otherwise, all the strides that your organization has taken to get connected to equipment in the field have been taken in vain. Internally, other stakeholders will be frustrated that the connected journey isn’t yielding any results. More importantly, your customers and partners will wonder about all the value that was promised.

We can’t assume that assets and equipment are connected. While it is easier and cheaper to connect from a technology point-of-view, there are still significant security challenges that need to be addressed when looking to remotely capture performance and health information from a serviceable piece of equipment. Yet, organizations have made progress in developing a connected infrastructure, especially when it comes to net new assets. The major selling point has been value for the stakeholder to who connectivity needs to be sold.

While our research points to increasing maturity around connectivity, we still find that most organizations are in the early stages of acting on the connected data that they have. In a simplistic manner, we find that service organizations embark on 4 stages with the aid of connected data:

Analyze

At the very core, most service organizations are trying to go from right-to-left, with the right being a field service interaction, and the left being a remote resolve. In that, organizations need to be able to analyze performance data to appropriately resolve service situations when they arise (or even before they do). An analysis of service events, as driven by the products being serviced themselves, can provide organizations with a priority list of actions and investments that they can make when addressing their service response portfolio.

Respond

Eventually the hope for most organizations is to predict future failure and service events. That is a nice vision, but one that will continue to be out of reach for most even with their connected infrastructure. The issue isn’t tied solely to technology, but also to the service resources and business models available to deliver predictive service. That said, there is a great opportunity to deliver value in reactive service and support. A better understanding of the service issue can drive a better experience for the customer. This isn’t only reflected in response times or first-time fix, but also in the ability of the service organization to guide the customer through the service event. Enhancing the customer experience around service events continues to rise to the top of the action list for service business leaders.

Predict

We spoke about going right-to-left from a field support model to one with a greater incidence of remote resolves. There is another version of right-to-left that is desired by service leaders, one which involves the creation of a service event prior to its occurrence. To accommodate this, organizations need to understand and isolate the leading indicators of pending service occurrences and then have the infrastructure in place to resolve these issues prior to their occurrence.

Evolve

The first three stages are transformational in how service is delivered. Yet, they don’t significantly transform the interaction and consumption model for customers. As service organizations get a better handle of service events, service needs, usage patterns, and usage preferences, they can begin to tailor products and services to different types of customers. In this, these organizations need to evolve to focusing on the utility that their customers desire, as opposed to relying on the standard product-service purchase/transaction.

I’ll be talking about these four stages on an upcoming discussion with leaders from Microsoft and PowerObjects on June 14 (Register). If interested in learning about the connected service journeys that organizations are taking, I’d encourage you to join in.

Friday Service Recap: JetBlue, Facial Recognition, Right to Repair, Self-Service 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 and customer effort 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 seventeenth installment, and week 21 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Is Customer-First Just a Smokescreen?
Source: The Low Down / Motherboard: http://www.thelowdownblog.com/2017/05/apple-verizon-caterpillar-and-consumer.html

Commentary: Right to Repair laws are being proposed and contested all across the country. Recently, New Jersey announced (link) that it was considering the pursuit of repair laws similar to those considered in New York and 10 other states. Similar laws have been shot down in Minnesota and Nebraska. This battle by manufacturers and service organizations against open repair policies is extremely interesting and points to the large market opportunity in the service and repair space. On the other hand, we see a great deal of manufacturers looking to open up more self-service resources for their customers as they look to provide better access to information to customers. Yet, this self-service information primarily pertains to account management and other requests that are costly to field in the support center or via field service dispatch. When it comes to profitable part sales or repairs, manufacturers want to limit the options and choice available to the customer for a variety of reasons (profitability, quality, reliability, and more). While one would normally assume that choice of repair options is what’s best for the customer, this might not always be the case.

I’d be extremely interested to get your thoughts as service leaders and as consumers…..Do respond with your opinions on the right to repair.

Aly’s pick:

Topic: JetBlue and Facial Recognition Boarding Process
Source: CNet (https://www.cnet.com/news/your-next-jetblue-boarding-pass-might-be-your-face/)

Commentary: Airlines have been in the news a lot lately. But, thankfully, this isn’t another airline gone wrong story. The article above actually looked at an airline being proactive in an attempt to solve a customer experience frustration – the boarding process for a flight. JetBlue is piloting a program with US Customs and Border Protection to leverage facial recognition and biometric data to get you on your flight without a physical boarding pass (either printed or mobile). I commend Jet Blue on their attempt to use available technology and data to speed up a process which rivals the example of a customer service call where you must re-enter information multiple times when you know the customer support agent already has your information stored in their knowledgebase. By the time you get to your gate, you would have already checked in online with your confirmation number, gone through security checkpoints with valid identification, and been seated in front the gate probably accessing wi-fi through your mobile device.

I don’t know if speeding up the boarding process by a few minutes will really improve my experience with the airline as there are so many other points to drop the ball along this journey (i.e., lost baggage, delayed flight, a seat back tv which doesn’t work), but at least JetBlue is trying. And, I have to commend them for attempting to ease customer effort.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Brands unclear who should take responsibility for customer experience (Marketing Week, 6/1/17)
2- Swedish bank SEB is using a ‘cognitive agent’ for customer service (DIGIDAY, 6/2/17)
3- Restaurants, bars adding technology to enhance customer experience (ABC7 News Chicago, 6/1/17)

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: Aribnb, Partner Apps, Video, VR, AR 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 sixteenth installment, and week 21 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:

Topic: App Partnerships Focus on the Customer Experience
Source: Fast Company http://bit.ly/2qkG9Sh

Commentary: Third party applications and partnerships might just be the future for service organizations. Just think Apple. They allow third-party developers to create innovative applications and provide them a showcase on their platform. This frees Apple up to focus on future products, services, and their particular strategic advantages. In this article, Airbnb sees an opportunity to expand the value of their service to customers without the risk of new app development. This model will have an impact on the service industry as the consumer world continues to provide it with ideas and innovations. Why recreate the wheel when you can just partner? As barriers to innovation such as the move from on-premise to cloud infrastructures and mobility become more prevalent, service leaders will begin to look outside of their four walls or IT department for the next great service app. Obviously, industries like A&D or healthcare may be a bit slower to adopt this model, but I think we will see partnerships like the one Airbnb has embarked on enter the service world in the future.

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: The Mother of All Demos
Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mother_of_All_Demos

Commentary: This is not necessarily a customer service story. This week at PTC’s LiveWorx, I was listening to any and all sessions that covered the topic of Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality. On one of these sessions, I was introduced to the Mother of all Demos, a name given to Douglas Engelbart’s demonstration in December 1968 where he showcased some of the basics of modern computers several years before they became the norm. What blew me away was the success of the video conferencing piece of the demo. We still struggle with video conferencing and video-based collaboration, but it seems like video will be a growing trend when it comes to collaboration within members of the service organization and between the service organization and its customers.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Starbucks Alienates Baristas in Its Effort to Improve Customer Service (Inc., 5/23/17)
2- Customer service secret to Weber Motor Company’s longevity (Victoria Advocate, 5/21/17)
3- Citizens Expect a Consumer-Quality Customer Experience (Govtech Works, 5/24/17)

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: 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

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