A good test of your level of customer service is what happens when something goes wrong.
Like in any relationship, when things are good, they are good: it is living inside of Tom Paxton’s ‘When we were good.’
When we were good we never went to town. We let the clocks run down. We let the whole world go.
But what mechanisms are in place for when things go wrong? When 20 minutes of lightening near NYC airports causes hundreds of flights to be cancelled and delayed (because flight conditions have not improved one bit since the 1960s)?
What happens then is akin to what a 10 year old boy watches when he steps on a nest of citronella ants in the forest: that which, moments before, was a shimmering, integrated network of order and productivity is now bedlam.
Sheer panic. Everyone to their own devices - literally! - with no process for the airline employees except: flee!
Phone based airline reps who have no accurate information, though they speak with authority.
Gate agents will lie to get rid of you (no, we cannot sell you a ticket on this flight, because you have a ticket on another airline…), or tell you a truth that is not a truth. Alliance partners that behave like Russia and the US post WWII (with friends like these….).
Flash forward to the year 2022, when the world of personal analytics improves to the point where the customer has a 360 degree view of YOU, rather than you having a 360 degree view of them.
Or where you both have a 360 degree view, but somehow yours is of your organisation and what matters to you, and not the CUSTOMER’S 360 degree view and what is important to them.
Like: they don’t buy airline tickets, but they buy safe and reliable transportation from point A to point B. They used to buy a fun experience. Now they would settle for wearing a hospital gown or embedded RFID chip if it got them through security.
And forget the airlines. It is the same with health insurance and car insurance, with purchasing tires. Does anyone except a hobbyist like buying tires?
You want to ensure four things that roll down the highway with the most traction and the least friction. The same with pharmeceuticals, government services, and any consumer product or piece of capital equipment - you want to consume the experience, happily and without trepidation.
But what does IT engineer for, and what do product marketers market for, and what do sales reps sell, and what do business process designers design for: moving products. Measuring products.
That is not what a CRM strategy was meant to entail.
Customer Relationship Management is intended to be the act of stepping outside of ourselves to understand the true wants, needs and expectations of the customer.
From there we engineer the mechanisms and processes by which we can make a profit. This is far more challenging that designing our processes from the outside in.
It is more of an arbitration with the customer, exchanging what each values – profit (business) and experience (customer), in an ongoing relationship heuristic.
In 2015 we can still get away with mediocrity (360 degree view of the customer), but by 2022 the customer will hit you full on with their own advanced analysis of their and their cohort group’s relationship with you, and you versus the competition, and guess who will lose? Not the customer.
Next step: IT gets inserted directly into a position to observe the customer in the wild, and from there tweak the processes that today are too internally focused.
By Michael Maoz - Research Analyst, Gartner
This article was originally published on the Gartner Blog Network