• The Challenges of Change 


    Customers are changing far faster than the organisations that serve them explains Dr Nicola Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist at BT. But what are the main challenges facing businesses?

    Our research at BT shows that in recent years, people have become much more aware of value for money. The economic situation has introduced risk in people’s minds, meaning much more disciplined management of finances and thorough planning and research before purchasing goods.

    Strength of service

    There is also a lot of data being thrown at customers, which combined with risk and management, has placed a far greater emphasis on customer service. While customers are much more risk averse, they are also much more savvy around good customer service, and UK customers are more likely to switch providers based on customer service rather than necessarily chasing better deals.

    83% of customers say that if you make it easy for them, they will come back. This is shifting thinking (and measures) towards designing experiences that reduce ‘customer effort’, with companies analysing how they can reduce the effort for the customer when dealing with them.

    Embracing technological change

    Organisations are built to last rather than change, but they must be agile to customer needs because processes can take a long time to adapt and change. We are in a world of big data, so the key is to quickly learn about customers and the demands they are placing on the organisation through all channels.


    Businesses must then take that data in and change the way they do business. This needs a willingness to change in a dynamic way, which may require a different mindset, as well as good analytics tools to navigate through this bewildering landscape of ‘big data’. Agility is key in this, and working with key customers and stakeholders in 90-day, 60-day or shorter sprints is vital for organisations to move in ‘customer time’ rather than ‘corporate time’.


    Understanding the challenge

    Through research, we can show that evolving technology has created three major challenges:

    1. The omni-channel customer

    Customers are now omni-channel. 65% of customers we asked said they need more than one channel when discussing a transaction and they may jump from phone call to email and then to Twitter. The challenge for organisations is to tie that information together, identifying that it was the same customer using different channels.

    2. The supercharged smart phone customer
    With smart phones, customers literally have the internet in the palm of their hand – they are simultaneously in both the physical and virtual world.

    As a consequence, customer behaviour can change and they may be in a queue, while
    simultaneously searching all their questions online. They may then ask the customer service representative more complex questions than originally planned, and will spot inconsistencies between channels more easily.

    3. The social media dilemma
    Social media is a difficult beast for many large organisations to use effectively. For one thing, organisations can’t control social media – though they can listen and potentially join in. However, social media is often a secondary rather than a primary channel for customers to contact organisations. For financial issues, especially, we don’t tend to discuss intimate details of our finances in a pub, so we don’t necessarily want to air them in a public forum like social media.

    For some industries, regulation is driving against the use of social media. That’s because not all sectors work like retail, where a company can have different types of conversation with its customers.

    This, however, is not a licence to ignore social media completely. Operational issues, such as bad queues or website errors, can be tracked on social media in real time, providing a useful opportunity to listen, learn and potentially bring in damage control.

    Searching for solutions

    One of the emerging future models to solve the increasingly complex nature of customer contact is “networked expertise”. If a customer comes in with a really complex question, they need to be matched with the appropriate expert, wherever that expert may be. Doing this effectively means being able to recognise who a business’ experts are, identifying whether they are available and then “speed dating” the customer with the right expert. This must be measured, managed and tracked to identify who talked to whom about what and what actually happened as a result.

    This requires really good CRM and good workflow management. This is also a model which tends to break down traditional organisational silos – but is key to survival in a future where customers are increasingly connected and informed.



9/28/2020 10:43:05 PM