Customers today are picky (all about value), fickle (reluctant to show loyalty), vocal (quick to complain) and vain (only interested in tailored service). But, they are also wired and dangerous. Dave Carroll’s YouTube video has cost United Airlines and estimated $180M. What has led to customer frustration that now goes viral and vicious in the “streets of cyberspace?” It is the alteration in the centuries old service covenant. Leaders make decisions about customer service from paradigms that do not match what is required. It is a bit like trying to drive a nail with a b flat! The paradigm of numbers, long the favored paradigm in the C suite, causes leaders to view service success as improving service outcomes (and, only giving lip service to the more important service experience). The paradigm of machines influences leaders to turn to self-service and automation, essentially taking the customer out of customer service. Turning wired and dangerous customers into wired and delighted customers requires a change to the paradigm of people–coupling high touch with high tech and designing service offerings with a partnership perspective. Successful examples are provided along with strategies for changing organizations to become more customer-centric.
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Chip & John