I’ve been thinking a lot lately about – one thing. That one thing came about after the recent flurry of articles and news reports on Google’s self-driving cars. Change one thing, in this case – remove the driver – and it fundamentally changes the familiar infrastructure that we have built up around us.

Remove the need for a driver and suddenly we are forced to re-assess, re-examine, re-define how we understand concepts like ownership and responsibility, how we deal with practical issues such as safety and insurance, quite apart from thinking about the internal mechanics of the driverless car itself. At some point will the word ‘driverless’ itself become redundant, superfluous, a reflection of a bygone time; the steering wheel reduced to a museum piece, a curiosity. The familiar ecosystem in which these concepts exist is suddenly disrupted, and the need to re-establish what was once familiar arises. In a sense, we need to (re)create a new familiar.

If we apply this idea of – removing one thing – into a customer service context, what would happen if the agent, the desktop, the telephone, the contact centre, the knowledge base, email was removed?

  • How would removing this one thing fundamentally shift the type of customer service you provide in a new direction?
  • How would removing this one thing fundamentally force you to shift the way you look at customer service? Force you to redefine it, perhaps even define it.
  • How would removing this one thing fundamentally force you to re-assess the way you view your customer?
  • How would removing this one thing fundamentally shift the way you interpret success?

The interesting thing to consider here, is actually, not that you are the one who decides what that one thing is, but increasingly, that your customer is deciding what that one thing is.

As customer service continues to decentralise (although I’m not sure towards what) the challenge you face is recognising that this is how it is…

 

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