Michael Maoz

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Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

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You failed at Customer Service, so now try Social Processes.

by Michael Maoz  |  October 27, 2010  |  20 Comments

Over the past ten years the level of customer satisfaction has edged up only slightly – for most industries in the vicinity of 3-5 percent. Considering that over US $ 75 billion was spent on CRM-related business applications in that time period, and triple that sum on process improvement, and hundreds of books written, you might expect better.

A terrible version of Taylorism has gripped the service industry and customer service organizations, particularly in the United States.  Frederick Taylor was the man who first applied science to the analysis of business workflows back in the 1880’s. It is this dissection of every item of work into a measurable unit that is, in large part, accountable for the abysmal service delivered in many industries.  The relentless focus on efficiencies wrings out any natural inclination of the customer service rep to display their natural drive, passion, and desire to commit to the customer. It also leads to managers who build processes with as little “fluff” as possible. “Fluff” includes wasting time talking to or listening to the customer, noting their issues, or taking the initiative to think outside of the box.

Along comes everything “Social” to cure the malady of poor service. Let the customers uncover the bad processes, and point out the poor agents. We could just as well listen to the service representatives. After all: they hear what customers are saying, and feel their pain. It’s just that no one in management has cared to tap into the employee.

Let’s cheer that at least we are listening to the customer, whilst at the same time returning to an examination of how we might empower and reward customer service representatives to do what they could do well, if given the chance.

20 Comments »

Category: CRM Customer Centric Web Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning     Tags:

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 vikas nehru   October 27, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Michael … this is one of the most thought provoking posts I have read in a while.

    A lot of people are jumping on the ‘BPM for customer service’ bandwagon, but in reality, BPM is bad business for customer service. BPM emphasizes efficacy and is an inside-out view of the enterprise.

    Customer Service can not be about the internal processes of the enterprise (or to say this properly, service SHOULD not be about the enteprise’s internal perspective). Backoffice automation, assembly line thinking can not, should not apply to customer service.

  • 2 roel lakmaker   October 27, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Excluding customers out of the process is what Henry Ford invented. So companies could offer products at low prices. This was the beginning of the 20th century. Today this is the de facto organization structure.

    Social media will definitely and very painfully point out the need for organizations to change. This is not only an US event. In the Netherlands a “world” famous comedian “Youp van het Hek” is heavily bashing T-mobile about their poor customer service. His frustration was about the ridicules non service his son received. Eventually he did complain through his Twitter account including lots of followers. It did work; the problem was solved in no time by T-Mobile. But the comedian’s frustration is that he could reach higher management because he is famous. This will not work for John Smit he realized; now he is setting up sites, making noise by gathering all bad experiences with customer services not limited to T-Mobile by successfully using all sorts of media including the broadcast news channels.

  • 3 Mark Tamis   October 27, 2010 at 4:00 am

    Hi Michael,

    Indeed, BPM is not a panacae – heavy upfront costs, a straight-jacket leading to frustration when exceptions occur (and inevitably they do), with little or no ability to adapt the model once it has been set. Social \this\ and \that\ won’t provide the answer other than facilitating new inputs, outputs and information flows, but likely not the right ones at the right time.

    I’ve been looking at the potential of Adaptive Case Management as a framework for guiding and structuring issue resolution (or collaboration in general), relying on the insights and experience of knowledge workers (your agents), pulling together the right resources to make informed decisions at each step based on the context, and choosing and adapting next steps as necessary to reach the desired outcome.

    The \social\ bit in this approach is just a tool to facilitate the identification of and collaboration between the appropriate resources (human and material, internal and external) to get the tasks done.

    I’d be interested in getting your opinion on this approach. What are your thoughts?

  • 4 Bookmarks for October 26th through October 27th – Social CRM ( SCRM ) Consulting Services | Social CRM World ( SCRM )   October 27, 2010 at 5:06 am

    [...] You failed at Customer Service, so now try Social Processes. [...]

  • 5 Jonaz Kumlander   October 27, 2010 at 5:52 am

    Hi Michael!

    Love the post! It points out what we are trying to do with our clients. If this isn’t focused on, Social CRM will only make customer service worse since we all can see how the agents respond to customer. I don’t mean that Social is bad but sometimes company think it’s the solution and it’s not. Combining Support with Sales is good way forward on actually trying to listen to your customer.

    Thanks for bringing the subject up!

    regards, Jonaz Kumlander

  • 6 Barry Dalton   October 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Customer Service and the service delivery model don’t sit on the production line, last time I checked. Spot on. How much money has not only been spent on CRM but on Six Sigma and lean practices applied to the contact center and service delivery? Utter waste of time and money. But, what it has allowed management to do is to hide behind the metrics (you were kind enough not to call that out overtly). Our AHT, ASA, abaondon rate, etc are in line, so we are doing great! Wrong!

    As to Mark’s point above. BPR is not a panacea. I’ll take it one step further. BPR actually has its place, and customer service can play a role. But the reengineering process shouldn’t be applied to the service deliver process. The value can come from customer service taking a role in reengineering those upstream processes that create demand for service in the first place. I’m a big fan of Bill Price from Amazon and is approach to eliminating “dumb contacts”.

    If BPR can be leveraged to address that, then that frees up customer service to focus on delivering a superior experience, not on those traditional produtivity metrics. Everyone wins.

  • 7 Another Nail in the CRM Coffin   October 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    [...] Maoz writes You failed at Customer Service, so now try Social Processes explaining how all the investment in BPR and CRM over the last 10 years has failed to move the [...]

  • 8 On IT-business alignment and related things » Fools with tools, Taylorism and BPM   October 27, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    [...] made a lot of sense. So I was really surprised to find all the tweets pointing to this post (”You failed at Customer Service, so now try Social Processes“), which seemed to be equating BPM with slavish application of Taylorism and an overly [...]

  • 9 CRM: A $ 75 Billion Failure? | Technology and Web 2.0   October 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    [...] the past ten years, $75 billion has been spent on CRM software, according to Gartner analyst Michael Maoz. During that time, customer satisfaction has risen only 3-5 percent. [...]

  • 10 CRM: A $ 75 Billion Failure? - www.Korallenkacke.com   October 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    [...] the past ten years, $75 billion has been spent on CRM software, according to Gartner analyst Michael Maoz. During that time, customer satisfaction has risen only 3-5 percent. [...]

  • 11 CRM: A $75 Billion Failure? | 365Online: E-Commerce en Online Marketing   October 28, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    [...] Finley, oktober 28th, 2010 In the past ten years, $75 billion has been spent on CRM software, according to Gartner analyst Michael Maoz. During that time, customer satisfaction has risen only 3-5 percent. [...]

  • 12 CRM: A $75 Billion Failure? - www.Korallenkacke.com   October 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    [...] the past ten years, $75 billion has been spent on CRM software, according to Gartner analyst Michael Maoz. During that time, customer satisfaction has risen only 3-5 percent. [...]

  • 13 Larry Robinson   October 28, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Michael, thanks for this… a great challenge to turn the perspective around and focus on the customer first. It helps me in my thinking about how we provide systems to facilitate agent initiative rather than locking them into a process. I wonder, should customers be investing more in agents, training them more and paying them more and as a result growing agents into people who are equipped to work outside the box? Perhaps you could comment on that as a trend or recommendation?

  • 14 25 Social Selling Articles to Start the Week « Sales Intelligence Blog by InsideView   November 1, 2010 at 11:47 am

    [...] You failed at Customer Service, so now try Social Processes. – Micahel Moaz [...]

  • 15 Customer Service Buzz » Customer Service in the News | Week of November 1   November 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    [...] A recent analysis finds that despite a $225 billion investment in CRM over the past 10 years, companies have only seen customer satisfaction increase 3-5%.  [Gartner] [...]

  • 16 Steve Curtin   November 2, 2010 at 1:23 am

    In addition to management “wring(ing) out any natural inclination of the customer service rep to display their natural drive, passion, and desire to commit to the customer” in the name of efficiency, they are also preoccupied with mandatory aspects of an employee’s job role (i.e., the duties listed on his/her job description). These are usually processes with a measurable output. In hotels, for instance, its the ability of a front desk agent to secure a valid method of payment prior to issuing a room key. What management often neglects is the optional aspects of an employee’s job role: expressing genuine interest in customers, conveying authentic enthusiasm, providing pleasant surprises, etc. These are the behaviors that separate ordinary service providers from extraordinary service providers. And because they’re optional, sadly, as customers we rarely experience them…

  • 17 To continue be a player in service you must continue to invest « Customer experience management in a multichannel world   November 5, 2010 at 2:01 am

    [...] November 5, 2010 marklturner Leave a comment Go to comments A blog from an analyst at research group Gartner last week questioned whether the $75billion it reckoned had been invested in customer relationship [...]

  • 18 Viral Friday: T-Mobile – Welcome Back -   November 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

    [...] feeling. And are starting to wonder if it wouldn’t be wise to invest their money in an improved customer service or a good social media program and try to repair the damage which already has been done to the [...]

  • 19 Viral Friday: T-Mobile – Welcome Back   November 5, 2010 at 8:53 am

    [...] feeling. And are starting to wonder if it wouldn’t be wise to invest their money in an improved customer service or a good social media program and try to repair the damage which already has been done to the [...]

  • 20 Viral Friday: T-Mobile – Welcome Back | BuoH.com OMG Check This Out!   November 5, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    [...] feeling. And are starting to wonder if it wouldn’t be wise to invest their money in an improved customer service or a good social media program and try to repair the damage which already has been done to the [...]