Customer Service?

Today I was searching for images for a new website. I wanted something to represent delivery of desirable outcomes for customers. I searched images libraries on the term "customer service". Interesting: about 60-70% of the images were related to a smiling call centre operator or something similar. That jarred for me. I don't know of a single person (aka "customer") who actually likes dealing through or with a call centre! Call centres are mostly a way to push customers away from real person interaction and save the delivery organisation money. How can that be a symbol for customer service?

Many "customer centricity" drives in organisations equally miss the point. One consulting client, when we asked about their stand on customer centricity replied: "We take it very seriously, we have 3 ongoing projects and 7 CRM systems" - Oh boy, what are the chances of any client of theirs receiving seamless service...

Better that we start from the outside in. We like to use a model called a Stakeholder Net Value Exchange. This puts the service organisation at the centre, as a single box, with no detail of its internals (deliberate: we don't want to see the org structure, or the processes, or the systems.. These are mechanisms to achieve delivery chosen at some time in the past). We do want to see the interaction of the organisation with the outside world and what value it adds. We show all external stakeholders (customers, suppliers, government, community etc. ) on the outside of the organisation; what they provide to the organisation and what they expect from it in net terms. E.g. for a bank, a customer might provide us with deposits and expect interest and capital growth. Here is an example:

After we discover who we are dealing with and what they expect, then we can begin to drill down to how that interaction should occur, from the external party's perspective. Then we can design a customer experience to match. Finally, we can create the internal (or outsourced) mechanisms to deliver that.