Me2B The Next Generation of Customer Service Changes

first_imgOpenView Senior Advisor Bill Price, Amazon’s first VP of Global Customer Service, discusses his latest book, Your Customer Rules! Delivering the Me2B Experiences That Today’s Customers Demand, and sheds light on how customer service will continue to evolve over the next five years.Today’s tech companies are operating in the midst of a sea change. There has been a fundamental change in the relationship between businesses and their customers, with technology empowering the customer and tilting the balance of control. As a result of this power shift, customer demands have also changed and made many of the old ways of addressing customer needs obsolete. This has introduced a need for new best practices and technology to help address the customer demands of today and tomorrow.Bill Price, CEO and founder of Driva Solutions, has dubbed this the “Me2B” era, and in his new book Your Customer Rules! Delivering the Me2B Experiences That Today’s Customers Demand, he explains what companies need to do to stay ahead of the curve.In the book, Bill and his co-author, David Jaffe, share a hierarchy of seven essential customer “Needs” and 40 “Sub-Needs” that service teams need to understand and address in order to be effective in the Me2B era. From these needs they identify the four foundations that every company must establish in their support organization in order to succeed.Bill graciously granted me the opportunity to interview him about his latest book and the Me2B era. In the transcript below he offers some great insights for customer service leaders to start leveraging now.What inspired you and David Jaffe to write your latest book, Your Customer Rules! Delivering the Me2B Experiences That Customers Demand?9781118954775.pdfSeveral years ago I was asked to address “customer happiness” at a conference, and so I researched that expression and found all sorts of theories, a lot of company histories, and yet little concrete evidence. I mentioned this to my business partner and co-author David Jaffe, and we both agreed that despite the hype around customer happiness — and massive spending to support customers — overall customer satisfaction has barely improved over the past five years. We decided to dig more deeply into the broader topic of “delivering great customer experiences” by asking recognized leaders how they generate customer loyalty and how they design and deliver memorable experiences. We were struck by a number of recurring themes, and this led to us writing a book to explain the themes and share how to achieve them.What are the biggest changes in Customer Service since you wrote your last book, The Best Service is No Service, in 2008?Despite the hype around customer happiness — and massive spending to support customers — overall customer satisfaction has barely improved over the past five years. Tweet this.While Best Service came out in March 2008, we actually finished the manuscript in August 2007, so since that time the biggest changes in Customer Service have been three themes reinforcing the fact that the customer is in charge:Social business, including social media, becoming an increasingly preferred communication channel, combining with the ubiquity of information at customers’ fingertipsMobile and local, both relying on sophisticated smart phones and tabletsMillennials becoming more powerful and are entering the workforce, and the “graying” of consumers and workers over the age of 65 or 70Among the ongoing challenges for Customer Service since 2007/2008 has been the pressure to contain or even reduce costs, exacerbated by the deep recession.What are the “Seven Needs” of Me2B Customer Success?   As I mentioned, when David and I interviewed customer experience leaders we discovered several important themes. At the core are the “Seven Needs of Me2B Customer Success,” and they form a hierarchy going from 1 to 7, all expressed in the customer’s language:You know me, you remember me (with six sub-needs)You give me choices (with six sub-needs)You make it easy for me (with six sub-needs)You value me (with five sub-needs)You trust me (with five sub-needs)You surprise me with stuff that I can’t imagine (with six sub-needs)You help me be better, you help me do more (with five sub-needs)How do the Me2B customer dynamics pertain to B2B businesses?  All of the themes (Needs, Leader groups, and Foundations) apply to B2B businesses, or maybe I should call them Me2B businesses where “Me” are business customers. For example, we heard from package shipping and software customers that they would stay with companies that valued their business history as well as their potential, but only if it was easy to work with them and if they were offered choices instead of being told what was best for them. The Four Foundations that are needed in traditional B2B or B2C situations are:Building a customer-oriented cultureStreamlining processes from search through usage, upgrade, or even retirementIntegrated channels, including the changes noted earlier such as social and mobileCreating an energized workforceWhich of these needs should expansion stage and early growth-stage software companies focus on first? We believe that expansion and early growth-stage software companies should focus on the three initial Needs (#1 You know me, you remember me; #2 You give me choices; and #3 You make it easy for me) first. If they cannot consistently deliver against these three core Needs, there is no way that they can proceed to the more advanced Needs in order to achieve sustained customer success. It’s important to work through all of the sub-needs across these three initial Needs, since these sub-needs provide the granular instructions that software companies need to follow.How can you build a Me2B service organization on a budget? What are the key early investments growth stage software teams should make? As I mentioned earlier, the pressure to contain or reduce service costs is very hard to do when adding customers and more complex products or services. However, as with our first book, Best Service, we discovered that Me2B leaders that embraced the Seven Needs become more profitable thanks to reduced customer churn, lower employee turnover, reduced re-work, and less need for support costs.For example, by building single customer identification and sign-on into the company’s marketing and support databases, and online, mobile, and other channels, software teams will start down the right path (#1 You know me, you remember me) that enables them to provide unique or customized offers (#2 You give me choices) while reducing customer effort (#3 You make it easy for me).Who are the top three Me2B software companies today? We didn’t rank order the Me2B leaders we researched, but several of them stood out to us as ones that are either pure software companies (Antuit, BevyUp, Fiserv, iiNEt, TravelSIM) or ones with significant software components — some of them traditional B2C (Amazon, Apple, DIRECTV, Intuit) with growing presence in B2B spaces.Should we redefine NPS to measure success in the Me2B customer generation? We should definitely go deeper than “the ultimate question”…within the NPS arena we should probe “why?” Tweet this.NPS is pretty well established but we should definitely go deeper than “the ultimate question” and add another series of questions. Within the NPS arena we should probe “why?” across promoters, detractors, and the neutrals (all too often the neutrals’ scores are tossed out, which is a big mistake!). We should ask questions that tie into the Seven Needs to determine the possible cracks in the NPS, and figure out how to shore them up.We should also add another metric that links directly with #3 You make it easy for me, but also covers several other Needs — the Customer Effort Score, or CES. To get that, you start out asking, “How hard was it for you to ___?” usually on a 1-7 scale with 1-3 being “hard”. Then, you dig into details no matter what the customer answers. It is equally important to understand why a function or step is hard or easy (e.g. “How hard was it for you to start using our product?” or “How hard was it for you to change your account details?”).What changes do you expect to see in customer service over the next five years? And how can companies get ahead of the curve by preparing for these changes? Over the next five years we see continued cost pressures along with even more dependence upon social and mobile business, as well as customer demand for each of the Seven Needs across all channels. There will be greater usage of 1-way and 2-way text as a customer channel, voice biometrics as a way to recognize or authenticate customers, and “virtual agents” (online intelligent bots like Alaska Airlines’ Jenn).There will also be an explosion in Big Data and in “Little Data” across disparate platforms — rendering personalized offers, predicting profitability, anticipating customer churn, and intervening to hold onto your best customers, etc. — that harness knowledge across a broader eco-system in order to enhance the customer experience. By putting into place today the Four Foundations and designing solutions to meet the Seven Needs, companies can become the Me2B Leaders of tomorrow.Upcoming Event: Hear Bill Speak & Get a Free Copy of the BookOpenView will be hosting an evening with Bill on the new Me2B era in Customer Service in Boston on Thursday, January 29th, where we will further discuss some of these ideas as well as others. Please send me an email if you are interested in receiving an invitation to the event. Space is limited, so this will be a first come first serve opportunity.About the AuthorsBill Price is the CEO and founder of Driva Solutions, a customer service consultancy, and also serves as OpenView’s Senior Advisor on Customer Service. Prior to forming Driva Solutions, Bill was Amazon’s first Vice President of Global Customer Service, responsible for all customer service activities including managing the company’s contact centers in the US, Europe, Japan, and India. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Bill’s and David’s first book, The Best Service is No Service, was an Amazon best seller. For more on Bill and his role with OpenView, see his bio.David Jaffe is the Consulting Director and co founder of LimeBridge Australia and the content coordinator for the Chief Customer Office Forum in Australia. David grew up in England and studied at Oxford University. He has been a consultant for 21 years most of which has been focused on customer related improvements. Prior to joining LimeBridge, he was an associated partner at Accenture and a principal at A.T. Kearney.Image courtesy: GratistographyAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img

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