This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Barry Dalton writes about a shift from reactive customer service to proactive customer engagement. I have always believed that proactive service has been a good strategy – providing great service before you are asked to do so. – Shep Hyken Many of the most progressive […]
This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Barry Dalton writes about a shift from reactive customer service to proactive customer engagement. I have always believed that proactive service has been a good strategy – providing great service before you are asked to do so. – Shep Hyken
Many of the most progressive companies are blazing a path forward with new business models and technology to support a shift from reactive customer service (solve my problem) to proactive customer engagement (ensure I don’t have any problems…or at least anticipate and minimize them).
This shift to proactive customer engagement has far-reaching implications across the enterprise. Too many to explore with any meaning in one blog post. So, since I’m sitting here in a contact center, let’s dive into what that means here. For one, just when some of us old-schoolers have started to get their arms around the shift in terminology from “call center” to “contact center”, we now need to focus on this transition to the customer engagement hub. Yes. In this case, a name is not just a name. It is a vital element in supporting the enterprise shift to proactive customer engagement.
Proactive, predictive, multi-channel, cross-channel, omnichannel. In this human-capital intensive function within the enterprise, I’m wondering how all this is impacting your customer service human capital strategy? The skill profile of the omnichannel customer engagement center representative is certainly different from that of the single-channel phone or email agent. So too are the methods by which the customer engagement hub will acquire these human capital assets. The days of recruiting, staffing and deciding whether or not to outsource this function based solely on cost are long past. Customer and enterprise stakeholder demands of the engagement hub are rising at a steady rate.
The complexity of this environment is not the only contributor to the need for a broader and deeper set of skills. The ever-increasing public exposure of both service successes and epic service failures leaves no place for poor service to hide. No longer is it even minimally acceptable for customer service agents to mechanically read from a script, capture some call notes and ensure that the 53 elements of the quality form have been adhered to. Customer service representatives have to be effective communicators. Be able to think on their feet. Be analytical. And, possess sound judgment in order to do the right thing for the customer and the company. Oh, and the organization needs to create a culture that empowers these front line troops to do all this. But that’s another story.
In addition, the customer engagement hub, through this lens, is fast becoming one of the focal points in the enterprise for not only collecting but aggregating and analyzing the exponential growth in customer data. Customer engagement professionals will need the skills to analyze and deliver actionable insights to various data consumers across the enterprise. No longer is it sufficient to produce a static call reason report and blast it out in an email. Not if customer service is to rise to a strategic level on par with finance, sales, marketing, product development or other more traditional “knowledge capital” functions.
So, where is this new breed of customer engagement professionals going to come from? What does that hiring profile look like in your organization? How are you going to identify those current customer service reps with the potential to take on this new role? What are the new training requirements? Methods? Compensation models? What does this do to the financial justification for customer service? It is certainly a different justification process.
Is customer service the new marketing? Or is it marketing is the new customer service? Perhaps this is how marking and customer service finally get engaged…and tie the knot.
Barry Dalton is consumed with anything customer experience, loyalty, CRM, social business and technology. In his current day job, he works with clients to transform their multi-channel customer experience into a competitive differentiator. As an open networker, you can reach out to him on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
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