I’m usually skeptical of discussions of low-tech service since they are often quite remote from the needs of high-complexity support– but this article in the April 2016 issue of the Harvard Business Review titled Revolutionizing Customer Service is a welcome exception.
The authors recommend jettisoning 4 common approaches to transformations:
- Starting with customer-facing employees — because deep changes start in the back. True for high-complexity support: we can tell support engineers to delicately break the news of bugs — but we also need fewer bugs and swifter fixes
- Focusing training on specific skills or scripts. I completely agree! Instead of pat answers, train on how to uncover customers’ needs (and wants).
- Piloting changes. I see the logic here but I also see the benefits of experiments, if nothing else to make sure the nuances of implementation are well understood on a small scale first.
- Tracking traditional metrics (like NPS or CSAT). The example given in the article is a 150-question survey, which surely must be put out of its misery sooner rather than later. Still, I see nothing wrong with tracking these standard metrics, as long as everyone understand they are very much lagging indicators and will need to be paired up with other, faster metrics.
Are you in the midst of a revolution? Are you using the 4 techniques above and why?