Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Service Individuation

JP Rangaswami over at Confused of Calcutta makes an interesting point about getting lost in the metrics of customer service. People are flesh and blood and what happens to each of them is very important in their lives. I remember someone reporting that they saw a T-Shirt with "I am not a customer segment" written on it (thus, my jokey headline). I guess this might just be a matter of people actually connecting mentally and emotionally with the work that they do. How your customer service is connecting to the end user will not just be a matter of good practice and procedure, it will be a matter of caring. This months Trendwatching briefing illustrates how far price differentiation will get you in the long run, i.e. nowhere. That 1% of activists and content creators will search for best value, and then share it with their social network, and then it gets cascaded. What's perhaps new is that the internal workings of your company may also become transparent as never before. A piece of funny banter about a particularly stupid customer may be captured by an employee on camera phone, uploaded to their personal blog; a bad telephone interaction might be captured on a skype recording an played for the world on a customer service complaints site. Enabling click to call and related services are just one way of opening up to the customer and creating one to one conversations. But are their further ways of thinking about "how does this interaction impact on this customers life" and finding ways to further empower that customer. I don't want a ticket number. I want that person I spoke to in customer service to keep me updated. And if I want, maybe put that "virtual ticket" on my website a la the new eBay Gadget for anyone to see how long my issue is taking to be resolved. Think Transparency for while...

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