We sometimes become infatuated with jargon: Cloud, platforms, ‘social,’ advocacy, collaboration. Please, someone open a window. But here is an alternative litmus test of where we stand in our business abilities: can you say quickly and accurately what your intentions are for any given customer at the time of an interaction with that customer?
What do I mean? I was recently in Canada, watching a customer service agent in a retail operation handle phone calls and chat. She was very talented, and she had great information at her fingertips. She knew the customer’s buying history, amount of credits and returns, a list of special offers that they had accepted in the past, and a dialogue window open that contained an offer for something the customer was likely interested in given their past purchases and activity on the website. And she had the client’s satisfaction score inside of the profile.
This agent can be said to be ‘intent driven.’ She knows the customer, the customer knows that she knows, and she was empowered to take decisions and make offers that were relevant and timely.
Now look at your own sales people, or service personnel and ask if they understand what the business intentions are for the customer with whom they are interacting, and if they understand the customer’s most likely intentions are at the beginning of the interaction. To the extent that you can’t say, ‘sure they do,’ you have a gap that requires narrowing. No degree of discussion on Clouds or Advocacy or social blah-blah-blah will help you here.
It is amazing how it is the basics of human understanding that make the great enterprises great.