Technology’s Service Edge

Can Technology change the Service Experience or does it only Enable Service?

With today’s fast paced growth and exploding customer base, technology has become an inseparable element for any Service Design in an Organization. And there are plenty of claims of “Technology drives the Customer Service Experience” by various IT companies (hardware & software).

However, I have some experiences contrary to the claims made by these companies. In more than one project & throughout my corporate stint I have experienced that the most intelligent & intuitive technology can fail to meet the needs of an Organization.

There’s more to this disappointment with Technology, than meets the eye. Why does excellent & highly evolved Technology fail to bring about a sea change in the Service Experience that an Organization provides to its Customers?

This typically happens, due to lack of a comprehensive design and a thorough strategy to build & cash-in on the tools that technology can bring. Technology as a tool for Service needs to firstly be designed well, by those who understand the customers’ needs & the service operations thoroughly. It needs the many verticals in an Organization to work in tandem & design requirements, as a single team.

They need to map their Customers’ expectations, the Organization’s policy, processes & gaps, as well as the future roadmap before they establish their Requirement Set.

The selection of the Technology must keep not only features & cost in mind, but also have the necessary expertise & support that will fit well as a partner, to the Organization’s needs. 

Finally the customization made during implementation needs to be detailed well, kept flexible to future proof it & tested thoroughly for accuracy & robustness.

Technology has never “enabled service”…it can only help in meeting the speed to serve & accuracy challenges to a large extent. This will be the result of a well thought through strategy & robust implementation. What enables service is having a “Customer Experience” mindset. It is when everyone in the organization thinks about the nuts & bolts of what makes for great service.

Technology is an effective tool to improve efficiency. It acts as a bridge between Customers, the Organization’s Policies & Processes and the Service Delivery team.

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Its Always Time for …… Back to the Basics

Last week I wrote about my personal experiences with some Big Brands & asked you “Do Big Brands disappoint you? ”

My experiences tell me that as Brands grow & start their journey with standards, processes & systems that need to keep their focus on the purpose of building Customer Relationships rather than just the activity. It’s always time for Back to the Basics….

I see a ray of light too but from unexpected corners. These were lesser “know”, less “sophisticated” growing setups and it was a delight to see the kind empowerment given to the frontline and how beautifully the frontline uses it.

I would love to put down those brand names as: iBall (mobiles, computer & peripherals) and GM Bells (makes remote calling bells).

iBall Experience: Had my iBalls popping out and left me in disbelief. iBall designed a mobile for senior citizens a while ago– iBall Asaan, loaded with very practical and easy to use features. One of my colleagues had bought a handset for an elder member of the family and it was working perfectly until one day when she was out town and the phone’s ringer gave away. Since that was the only means to communicate with the elders at home, left with no alternate, she called iBall customer care and explained the situation & why she was so worried.

True to the spirit of service and level of commitment, iBall representative came to the house to collect the phone (as iBall understood and did not want a senior citizen to travel to the customer care centre). Offered a standby phone, repaired the phone and gave it back the very next day (realizing the urgency and utility of device for the senior citizen). And of course this was an exception and not the company policy.

GM Bells: The remote controller of the bell stopped functioning and there was no way it could be repaired. We wrote to the company asking if there is anything that can be done as the bell was not in the warranty period anymore. The response was quick and we were requested to visit the nearest dealer and get it replaced.

The person who replied from the company was not the MD or the owner; it was an empowered team member who cared to understand the issue and was graceful enough to make the service gesture without spending too much time on investigating and making the replacement sound like a big favour.

Something is going right for these companies; I guess it is the culture coupled with the hunger to stay ahead in the market. Perhaps they have a lean operation with plenty of ownership.

My sincere hope that while their businesses see plenty of growth, they don’t lose sight of what they are really doing well besides their products. Someone in their team has found the road to success for their organization. Here’s hoping they will cherish those employees & teach others to operate on a similar instinct

Do you have the most amazing & unexpected service experiences when you least expected them?

Share your inspiring stories here. As a silent Thank you to those Brands – small or large, that made their space in our hearts & minds

Strategic initiatives for a customer driven organization

                      

Building a customer driven organization is an inward journey through the following steps, with each step being a building block it is critical to ensure these are imbibed well in each individual of the organization:

  • Establishing direction and alignment
  • Strengthening the internal service chain
  • Building quality culture
  • Motivating and rewarding people
  • Attracting & retaining people
  • Customer satisfaction measurement & management
  • Voice of the customer
  • Improving customer satisfaction
  • Innovating new products & services
  • Measuring business excellence

Customer focus does not happen by itself………Most important role in establishing the customer focus in any organization is that of the top leadership.

The leaders of the organization must provide clear direction to align the entire organization with regards to the expectations of the customers.

Key Pillars of Service

To implement, deliver and embed the vision, these pillars should be firmly grounded in an organization to ensure that “Processes” run and not the “People”

  • People “Make the Difference”
  • Processes that “Work”
  • Customer “Focused” approach
  • Technology as an “Enabler”
  • Partners are a “Key Support”
  • Service Guarantee the “Bottom line”

We have touched upon the critical aspects of service, each of these when implemented in a synchronized manner, ensure synergistic outcomes which not only ensure better focus for the Service Provider, but also delivers the much needed “Brand Promise” to the Customers.

Contact us , we can make your Brand deliver its promise http://www.servicesolutions.co.in/consulting.html