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Will your customer service project sink or swim?

25th Jan 2023
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This blog post is written by Rachel F Freeman and featured as part of Creative Virtual's Customer Service Week Blog Celebration.

project team swimming

Creating a plan and an overall inspiring vision for which you imagine receiving accolades and awards sounds like a great place to be. However, the key to deciding whether the vision is going to sink or swim is based on the details, the objectives, and the team responsible for delivery.

Quick example: a 90-year-old woman decides that she'd like to make some fitness gains. Whilst she is an avid horseback rider, her thoughts move to jumping out of an airplane. She tells a local newspaper, and you can picture the publicity and the thrill of the activity. The small print is less than ideal: the woman, although fighting fit at first glance, has a recurring problem with blood pressure and dizziness. Altitude could wreak havoc on both of those issues, but she forgets to mention this. The news reporter is so caught up on the potential of the story, that he never asks for more details. The story never goes to print because the woman never jumps and pursues hiking instead on the advice of her doctor. Perhaps not quite as exciting on the surface, hiking is actually the best outcome for her situation and still an impressive achievement. This example ends well but not with the anticipated fanfare. 

When applied to business solutions, this scenario can take on much heavier implications. Imagine a chief stakeholder has a vision for a customer service project full of whistles and bells but does not quite understand how to reach that point and leaves the details to the team. The team is so enthralled by the vision and the prospect of a new shiny development, as well as being caught up in the enthusiasm the chief has for the project, that certain basic and very important questions are not asked. 

Questions such as: The idea is great, but what is the use case? What are the customer pain points to solve?  What are the measurable objectives? Can we achieve the objectives by doing something less time consuming and complicated if we try another option? And my particular favourite, have you considered the end-to-end journey for the project across all channels?  

Failing to take the time to ask and answer these questions doesn’t necessarily mean the project will sink. It can, however, mean lots of wasted time and unnecessary confusion or frustration. The end result may be effective, but it probably won’t be as shiny as the initial vision. 

Here is the controversial question: Do shiny things tarnish more quickly than a solid solution that is effective? I work for a software solution company where innovation and shiny, cool things are what we do.  I strongly believe based on my experience that you can have shiny and solid simultaneously when it comes to customer service solutions.

What I do not advocate is applying "shiny" without considering the questions above. For example, a smooth end-to-end digital user journey is a holy grail for online customer service. Yet just because you can help a customer smoothly journey through multiple channels for support doesn’t mean you should always do that. Don’t get caught up in the excitement of showing off all the whistles and bells of different channels. Instead, always ask if there is a real use case or a point beyond it seeming to look impressive.

Customers don’t care if your tools and channels are innovative and shiny if they aren’t getting their questions answered. They don’t care about your inspirational vision if their time is being wasted because you haven’t planned your customer journeys based on the real way your solutions are going to be used.

Likewise, why waste your team’s time by trying to solve all customer problems across multiple channels when, for instance, certain use cases will truly only be used via a mobile device and not on a desktop? If the team is caught up in the hype and overlooking the details, you risk delivering a mediocre project that just floats along instead of maximising on the potential of the initial vision.

Digital customer service awards are given to those projects that showcase shiny developments, but only when they take the customer down the right path at the right time and serve the right information as required.

This Customer Service Week let’s celebrate the people on our teams that pay attention to the details and make sure we answer the important questions. They are the ones that enable even the most ambitious and shiniest visions to become a reality through solid, successful solutions.

I'd much rather swim with the confidence that my project has buoyancy based on the right questions being answered than risk sinking in a sea of bright and unchallenged options – and I’m guessing you would, too! If you’re interested in learning more about how the Creative Virtual team can help you with customer service solutions that are both shiny and solid, contact us here.

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