Do Customer Service and “Reinvent” Belong in the Same Sentence?

Today most customers and contact centers would say, “Not really.” Think back to your last few customer service interactions. Does the word “reinvent” come to mind? Probably not.

Isn’t it ironic? We live in what Forrester Research describes as the Age of the Customer, “A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.” Companies get this and have reinvented the way we consume books (Amazon), music (Apple, Spotify), and movies (Netflix). They have transformed markets and our daily lives.

alley_imageThe world of customer service hasn’t changed so much. A recent CFI Group study, Contact Center Satisfaction Index 2013, reports a staggering eight point drop in consumer satisfaction with contact centers – one point below the inaugural score seven years ago.

This is a big deal we shouldn’t ignore.

Let’s pause and reflect on what may have contributed to this drop. Here are a few hypotheses:

  • General fatigue – continued tough economic conditions and low confidence
  • Poor omnichannel execution – channels are being added without proper preparation and best practices
  • New customer expectations – driven by other connected, mobile and social experiences

Anything to add to the list? Please comment below.

There are likely multiple factors that played a role. However, there are potentially huge implications that lie in the third hypothesis. The customer service industry faces an increasingly powerful customer that expects far more than incremental change. They expect a completely new service experience that makes more sense in the world they/we live in. As CFI Group states, “Perhaps 2013 was the year that expectations finally overtook the ability to deliver.”

Good news —

Where there’s pain there’s opportunity. Innovative companies can separate themselves from the rest by reinventing the service experience and join the ranks of those that have transformed markets and daily lives. Next-generation cloud collaboration, communications and customer engagement solutions are emerging to help companies do so by enabling:

  • More empowered and personalized experiences with next-gen matching
  • More consistent and contextual experiences with next-gen omnichannel
  • More rapid, focused experiences with next-gen agent and user experiences
  • More reliable and contemporary experiences with a next-gen cloud architecture

More to come on each of these areas in future posts. In the meantime, check us out at Enterprise Connect in Orlando, Florida March 16-19 (booth #820) where we’ll be announcing exciting new cloud services for next-gen business collaboration and communications.

And for our customers and partners, don’t forget to sign-up for the annual Interactive Intelligence conference, INTERACTIONS 2015, where company and  industry experts will be sharing insights into using these next-gen solutions to RE:inspire customers.

“Customer Service” and “reinvent” DO belong in the same sentence. It’s time to think differently and innovate on behalf of the customer.



Jason Alley

Jason Alley

Jason Alley is a senior solutions marketing manager for Interactive Intelligence. Since his employment in 2010, Jason has helped Interactive Intelligence develop market requirements and go-to-market strategies for contact center, customer experience, and cloud solutions. Prior to Interactive, he spent ten years consulting with large enterprise contact centers and suppliers for Vanguard Communications, and a company he later founded, SmartContact Consulting. Jason spent the first seven years of his career in sales, marketing, and product management roles working for Aspect, Hipbone, Nortel, and others. Jason received his bachelor’s degree in business economics from UCLA.