Thursday, May 31, 2012

Customer Crafted Service – The Next Frontier

The customer service model has undergone a great deal of change in the past few years.  Social media and the explosion of mobile computers, i.e. smartphones, have created a new series of challenges for companies looking to service customers in a way that builds the relationship.  What place should mobile have in the overall customer service plan?  Is voice self-service supposed to be a service platform or just another way to diverting calls away from expensive agents?  Are web sites contributing to the service delivery model or are they their own island where customers come and go without leaving a trace?

It is time to develop a new approach to delivering customer service.  It is time for the vendor community and their customers to take a step back and really look at what they need to be doing rather than reacting to each and every new media type that hits the market.  It is time for the Customer Crafted Service (CCS) model.

Today’s customer service model typically depicts the customer coming at a company through a myriad of channels, each channel having unique properties.  The view is of the customer “storming the castle” looking for solutions to their problems.  The job of the company is to react properly to each “invasion” in hopes of avoiding future invasions.  This model, in existence for dozens of years, does little to embrace the new technologies that are available.  Time for a new model.

The Customer Crafted Service model starts with the customer in the center.  That’s the control point in the process.  Around this center are wrapped the various communication systems which the customer can use to contact the company.  Among these systems are the usual suspects like voice, web, e-mail, SMS, chat and various social media forms.  Because these forms touch the customer, they must be designed to be configured by the customer.  In other words, each of these media forms must be able to be tailored by the customer to suit their preferences – NOT the preferences of the company. 

These communication systems are the layer between the customer and the data systems which collect customer interaction history.  In this many-to-many model, all communication systems are able to access and edit all the information in the data systems.  These data systems are the same data system to which the agents connect when helping a customer. 

The details on how each of the communication systems and data systems are customized will be covered in the next posting. 
The Customer Crafted Service model is not a radical change from many of the service models which exist today.  What is very different is the point of emphasis – the customer.  It is long past time that the customer be front and center in the customer service world. 

Take a look at your own customer service model.  If you would like help changing your service model to embrace the Customer Crafted Service model, I am available to help you on a consulting basis.

1 comment:

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