The Consumerization of Customer Service

We are in the midst of a new wave of innovation as major disruptive forces – mobile, social, cloud and big data – charge down the road. I would argue that we’re not on a convergence course, but rather a collision course that, once all the pieces are put (back) together, will completely change the way we think about customer service. While it won’t happen overnight, there will likely be more innovation and disruptive change over the next few years than we’ve seen the past twenty. Every day good ideas are forming as hunches mature, collaboration increases and missing pieces are found. What will the end result be? The consumerization of customer service.

Receiving and providing customer service will feel similar to playing fantasy sports or interacting with friends on Facebook: Apps will be downloaded onto mobile (and other) devices from common app stores (this is happening today); settings and services will be personalized; nothing will be stored on user devices; specialized appliances and add-on devices will be made available for purchase online; self-service functionality will be intentional and intuitive; multichannel collaboration will be built-in; there will be intuitive ways to express oneself and socialize with others; fun will find itself into the mix; peers will help each other more; and service will happen in the moment. (I talked about “Harnessing the Power of Customer Moments” in a previous post, which you can read here.)

Seem a little abstract? Here’s a real-world example of how service is changing and putting the power back in the hands of the customer. With Orgspan Select, customers now have the ability to search and view agent social profiles from mobile devices and choose which agent they want to interact with based on a personal “in-head” algorithm that balances needs, preferences, interests and wait times. The customer isn’t routed to the best agent based on system calculations; rather, a specific agent is chosen by the customer. Here’s what it looks like:

OrgSpan ImageYou might say, “Hold on, that violates every rule of customer service from a contact center!” You’re exactly right, and that’s the point! The rules are changing.

Today I issue a challenge. Be the one to shatter your company’s view of customer service, and then help put the pieces back together to paint a vision for the future. Join me in discussing the future of service delivery on Twitter –follow me at @jasonalley4c and use the hashtag #futureofcustserv to participate. And, who knows, I may even host a Google+ hangout in the future on this topic!

Always in Search of Good Ideas,

Jason Alley

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.