Same old same old? A few thoughts on what changed over the last year…or not Lunettes

1) Change is slower than we think

Change is glacial – it moves but mostly imperceptibly until it cracks. That’s because most problems are human. And human nature evolves over generations. Resistance to change, decision making, risk aversion outweigh entrepreneurial behaviours in 99% of companies.

2) We still like shiny new things so we lose sight of what is most important. Contact centres are about brilliant basics regardless of the technology or latest fad. Thoroughly thought through strategies, joined up behaviours, understanding demand and planning, communications – all very basics ops stuff, but done well and focused on year after year – this is what makes great centres. Having been round long enough, I hate to see a 3rd generation of managers learning what the first generation learned. We need more historians than futurologists in this respect

3) Credibility of contact centre people in a digital world hasn’t improved. Customers and mobile app designers understood simplicity long ago. Website designers are just getting there. But optimisation analysts are kings of the roost. And rare as hen’s teeth. Changing things based on data and behaviours is a skill every contact centre needs: – test and learn, fast and simple.

So what has cracked?

3)  Cloud based software is becoming the norm  for all sorts of things in contact centres and enterprise wide, not just CRM. Cloud lets us get away from the traditional IT function, which moves like a falling snowflake. We can now outrun the glacier and change hourly daily weekly – in fact to act like great web & mobile platforms where usability and functionality, test & learn are running as if being chased by a Higgs Boson

4) Cloud based software means feedback drives fast innovation from which all benefit and non-innovators will die quickly. It also means the death of the 2 year big consultancy project that gets you back to where you started. You buy what works, not what doesn’t. Integration of systems becomes API based. But clean data transfer will always be a headache. Especially if your data isn’t clean to start with.

5) The most innovative and effort saving cloud apps are developed by small companies so be prepared to take some risk and play with the minnows. The government through GDS is doing a great job of developing this.

6) Selling v helping customers buy. Most vendors have sales forces and sales targets, big commissions and lunches and days out. Buyers are learning to research, learn, pilot and buy from app stores with ideally no touch. This will cause a big piece of glacier to fall into the sea! Watch out for the rise of the CSO – a ‘customer success officer’ replaces sales and service and helps you adopt, use and penetrate your own business.

7) Customers don’t care. There are fewer and fewer excuses acceptable as people experience occasional good stuff in more places and industries. We find growth through simplification is far from an ageing sport. Though we’ve been at it for (gulp) 13 years in Budd and our book “The Best Service Is No Service” is 6 years old, interest is growing not waning.

book 2 me2b8) Customers do care. If you are trusted brand, you’d better listen hard to your customers. Because if they snap they snap in public and all over the web. Spotting dissatisfaction and being highly trained to deal with it immediately, has become a recognised sport. The emotional content of humans hasn’t changed just because we have iPads. And this is the subject in our next book, on pre order now, looking at me2B – not b2c or b2b – “Your Customer Rules”

9) The job market was changed by Linked In – it’s worth reading their glacial change story. This last year everybody noticed it. Now you can find people and jobs in a different way. But the recruitment experience given by most agencies and companies is pants. There’s competitive advantage in them tha hills!

10) Prospecting by Linked In is an art that most haven’t learned judging by the number of spammers on the increase this last year. There’s a real danger now that Linked In’s feed has become corporate sponsors and the repetitive repetition of the same few thinkers. Time for some new features or a new player in the B2B space.

11) The web is so full of answers that people forget to Google stuff in advance. Alerts to web services fill the inbox. Being a great guide to interesting stuff is very rare these days. Quality over quantity required. Those that do their personal research have noticeably different conversations when we meet, compared to those who don’t research.

iwatchiwatchiwatchiwatch12) Can’t leave with out a mention of wearables, drones and car crashes. When a football match is stopped by a drone, you know they’ve arrived. If Google driverless cars come down my neck of the woods, will they have auto pothole avoidance or better still stop and fill the pothole in? My next fully connected Land Rover will allow me to see the potholes through the bonnet but when will it transmit that data back to autofill the County Council’s reporting tool? An iWatch is my Xmas present of choice – but I don’t want a wearable thanks. Oh and my daughter just booked a drone for her wedding photos – true!