OK, enough bashing plagiarists… let’s go back to real work.
Last year (I know, sounds like way farther back than it really is) in November I ran a research project for one of my clients. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM team (customer service branch) asked me what I thought were the most interesting questions I had collected over the year in Customer Service.
In chatting about them, and the outlook for Customer Service, I was asked to write a position paper on it; something with thought leadership flavor about what to expect in the next decade.
Let me be the first to say, I hate, hate, hate prediction pieces. I once attended a presentation by Steve Forbes where he did an amazing job explaining how economists not always get their predictions right (I was an Econ major in college, Mr. Forbes is being charitable). He said he prefers to make five year predictions versus shorter time. When asked why he commented that if he was right, its a great privilege to be correct in such a long-term prediction. If he was wrong, there was sufficient time that he could deny it or correct in the process.
Except for the part about being wrong (I was only wrong three times), I agree with him. Its a lot more fun to reach long-term conclusions.
I like to reach conclusions from the many conversations and projects I work in every year. It is one of the most fun things I get to do in this job. Creating visions of the future is fun, interesting, and challenging. Being able to synthesize the almost 1,000 structured inquiries and many other conversations I have ever year gives me the chance to influence the market and to set a vision for how things can be done better. It’s most likely the reason I started working as an analyst in the first place.
In that spirit I wrote the paper. It is a short, fun read (clocks in at roughly 3,000 words) if you are in customer service – and it provides you with a great perspective of what is going on in the world of customer service – and the challenges we face.
From the paper.
The model has indeed changed from simply delivering a single, well executed (from the operations point of view) interaction to accumulating these interactions into experiences (how well the company delivers over time – not in a single interaction), to eventually reaching a state of engagement with customers. This model has become quite complex as every single interaction has a long-term outcome – when done properly – and many data points and metrics to track its performance (and potential correlation to effectively monitoring interactions).
We also discuss how to combine agents, technology, and engagement-as-an-outcome to deliver a new model, a new framework for customer service built on four stages: centralization, automation, focus, and extension.
I promise its a worthwhile read – download the paper and let me know what you think.
disclaimer: I will make this one short, you read many of my disclaimers already. If you did you would know that yes, I do take money from my clients to help me pay for my vices (feeding my kids, giving them a place to sleep, saving for retirement, etc). In exchange, they get to work with me either on strategy, content, or both (Oxford comma well placed, thank you very much). I’ve been working with Microsoft for several years – and yet, not in a single instance they did anything more than ask for research or content, let me do my thing, and never even attempted editing my content. All errors, typos, omissions, and problems are entirely mine – they either don’t want to have anything to do with them… or they are truly supportive of my work and my research and respect the fact that clients don’t get to tell me what to do, how to do it, or what to say. I know its the latter, thanks my friends (and, yes – this is a short disclaimer).