I was at Dreamforce last week, along with 33,000 of my best friends forever. I’ve never seen that much energy at a conference or technology fair in my life, and that includes CeBIT (http://www.cebit.de/homepage_e, if you’ve never been) and drupa ( http://www.drupa.com/cipp/md_drupa/custom/pub/content,oid,11265/lang,2/ticket,g_u_e_s_t/~/print_media_messe_-_drupa.html). The hot air could have heated half of San Francisco. But it was positive and attendees were excited to look at a new type of business, and business model. It was mostly about Cloud Architectures, and a little about the actual business functionality that powers the enterprise. Most of the folks seemed to find it inspirational. And the focus on philanthropy was moving and unique for a large IT conference.
What left me wanting was the absence of much in the way of business-to-consumer solutions in my area of customer service and support. Sentiment analysis, voice detection, real time decision support, business rules engines and process management, complex pricing and configuration, content authoring tools. The nitty-gritty of customer service. Not yet. But that is for my published research. All in all: terrific performance of a new model, executed perfectly.
The lack of B2C isn’t a rap at the conference, but a reflection of the focus of Salesforce.com at this point in its development. But for business-to-consumer organizations, there is a resistance to taking on the hard problems. Service managers are finding it tough to switch from cost-centric measurement.
When you get a customer on the line, and they have called YOU, there is so much opportunity to cement the customer’s loyalty to the business during this phone conversation. And yet, what do we do? We rush , rush, rush. Three hundred seconds and counting. Tick, tick, tick. (unless you are Zappos, of course.) Why? Because it is easier to measure efficiency and report on cost savings than it is to look for revenue impact. Most of our contact center processes, metrics and KPIs are focused on cost reduction. What was wrap up time? How many calls were handled? How quickly? How many calls per agent? What was the satisfaction with the call? But what we need is another measure that focuses on growth-oriented metrics: how did the call impact sales? Customer Loyalty? Support of the Brand? What did the customer learn about us that they didn’t know before? What did we learn about the client? And of course, we need better longitudinal data to model how improved service performance impacts multi-year corporate performance. A shift in thinking in the CRM Customer Service Center from tactical to strategic is long overdue.
Let’s hear your stories of greatness in this area. I have a small collection, but would like a big collection!