Service Excellence in the digital age continues to be redefined by the depth of interaction between organizations and their clients. Digital transformation has enabled many organizations to weave the different parts of their business into more efficient, cohesive entities leveraging analytics, process automation amongst others. Client expectations in this digitally dominated world have also risen exponentially. The tolerance window for service gaps have narrowed whilst the opportunity to explore competitive options have expanded.
The new interaction capabilities offered by AI, automation, and user touch point fluidity mandates a paradigm shift away from traditional methods of service delivery that hitherto featured the Contact Centre at the heart of customer interaction and satisfaction. Of course, for customer-facing organizations, the Contact Centre remains a central component in interacting with customers and even internal staff, especially as multiple interaction types can be routed through it. However, service excellence now has its roots in product / service design excellence, and optimal delivery, augmented by granular differentiation and customization.
Tools now exist that allow feedback to relevant departments allowing insights about customer preferences, which can then be fed into product development and delivery frameworks. Information can get to where it is required in real-time. Feedback on a financial application, for example, can go directly to the right department, rather than as complaints fielded, logged and communicated via the contact centre. Products or services that have had the benefit of digital inputs and are responsive to client needs do not attract the amount of service requests or complaints that afflict weaker offerings, freeing up Contact Center and other resources to embark on proactive value maximization activities.
This new paradigm demands evolved thinking and appropriate resource allocation. With technology at the core of transformation and consequently service excellence. Technology has indeed become both a strategic and tactical component and also a risk vector that can impact the entire business. Organizations must come to terms with the need for increased technology innovation budgets reflecting the centrality of technology.
Strategies to skill up and retain talent must be formulated and executed. It cannot be true that despite the vast ocean of knowledge and opportunity-eager youths we have, â€œjapaâ€ exposes us to skill gaps of the magnitude claimed and used as reasons for service gaps in critical sectors like banking. The market may be simply moving to optimal competitive rates, as technology skills have become increasingly accessible across national borders, especially at a time when many western organizations are rationalizing technology personnel numbers and compensation. It is a valid suspicion that an inability to properly integrate the aggressive parameters of service excellence into their digital evolution is a more likely reason for the gaps occasioned by demand spikes. The role of organizational culture and human capacity in a fast paced, digitally optimized world cannot be overstated. Humans must be invested in to synchronize their attitudes with the new concepts around service excellence, and the tools leveraged to achieve desired outcomes.
Finally, service excellence must be built on measurable parameters that afford organizations with real insights into the steps that need to be taken, not only in terms of product improvements, but external architecture that impacts performance. A good example is found in the scaling of bandwidth for payment systems. The introduction of 5G, more aggressive MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), SD -WANâ€™s (Software Defined Wide Area Networks), and bandwidth pricing from operators, makes it increasingly inexcusable to underinvest in reliable communication infrastructure. This undermines the entire service experience for customers with adverse consequences.
Technology will be a critical enabler, but Service Excellence is the differentiating output that will establish sustainable leadership and profitability.