Not long ago, waiting in line was accepted as part of our daily lives. For public services, banks and retail, concert or sporting event tickets – waiting in line was the order of the day. Thanks to modern software, the Internet of Things, and more efficient customer service models and new organizational structures, the norms being challenged. Are you still seeing a line? Something must have really gone wrong!
“In the good old days, everything was better.” It is not only the older generation conjuring up this cliché. Even young executive managers become exasperated by the unstoppable growth of customer demands. Digital processing has enabled new business models; small businesses and international organizations have had to adapt and revise their approach. In a world where daily necessities can be accomplished by touching a screen, waiting in line for service is old fashioned.
Three scoops of the most delicious ice cream in town, tickets for the upcoming Stones concert or owning the latest iPhone before your best friend does….. for certain things, people will not mind waiting in line. However, nobody is willing to wait in line to deal with a routine issue. Relying on your patience isn’t the answer.
Waiting in line is outdated
Are we crazy? We line up for the DMV or stay on the line with our cable provider until someone deals with our issue by typing all the relevant details into a database every time we call. This is “media discontinuity”. What if we could input our own information? The good news is that as back office systems become more integrated and available those media discontinuity encounters will become fewer.
Due to the implementation of innovative technologies such as self-service, our waiting times have been reduced. Packages are collected at our home or office; clothing, small appliances, electronics and tickets are be bought on the Internet. We can avoid visiting our bank branch and deposit checks with a smartphone, withdraw money from any ATM or view our balance online. Service orientated organizations have streamlined their processes and increased the number of offers available through self-service. Even telephone customer service offers customers friendly callback options.
Interconnected Customer Service: A new approach
In the near future, businesses will embrace new business models, from product development to consumer usage, that employ cross linked systems. By doing this, important information will be constantly shared. Where are the necessary pieces to be found? What is their status? When will they be delivered? What are the payment terms? These digital ecosystems challenge siloed organizations and systems. In this new world business processes will be automatically adjusted as media disruptions and information exchange between systems borderlines disappear.
Personal attendance and self-acting processing are not contradictory in upcoming service ecosystems.
If we purchase a product or a service, our financial apps will automatically remind us of any unpaid invoices. Without any effort on our part, the delivery date is recorded in our digital calendar and returns or guarantee claims are managed automatically monitoring tracing numbers and emails correspondence. The digital ecosystem's push messages will keep us up to date, as they quickly adapt to our communication habits.
Furthermore, interactions between business owners and clients initiate background processes, which setup operating sequences in merchandise management, accounting or CRM. By informing clients about every relevant step of the process within the space of the digital ecosystem, uncertainties vanish. By combining the right channel and the appropriate offer, companies satisfy customers' individual demands in an optimal way.
The need to invest
In order to become part of these emerging value-added supply chains, businesses and customers must become networked. It is only within these digital ecosystems, that the offers on products, services, communication and incentives can be put into the context of the client's value system and finally be realized.
Nikki Baird of Retail Systems Research noted recently that several trends are driving disruption in retail customer service. These trends will require investment in infrastructure to enable mobile in support of the mobile shopper. IT systems will need to enable a cross-linked interaction of content, devices and capabilities. Intelligent analysis of events can provide shoppers with relevant status and enable managers to spot trends and correlations in real time. By employing the latest artificial intelligence and content analysis software, IT systems can track content and events and provide managers with actionable information in real-time
Consumers are ahead
When it comes to digitization, consumers have left companies that serve them behind. Mobile devices are always on and allow the user to choose their method of communication combined with a broad selection of online services including apps for payments, contracts and product comparisons. There is a strong need to simplify these transactions; this will push the retail industry, financial service institutions and other organizations to revise their systems. Smart mobile devices can scan and allocate documents and receipts. They can “think” on behalf of their users’, facilitating decisions and executing routine affairs.
Providers, such as fileee, offer free apps that manage annoying routine paperwork. Their services include automated scanning and archiving letters and digital documents. Users receive reminders of appointments and benefit from easy communication options with participating companies. In time, invoices, receipts, documents and mail can be recalled from a virtual database. Conceivably, this approach could drastically reduce wait times from our daily lives. If an organization’s software and a user’s smartphone are permitted the option of acting independently, computers can carry out specified processes on behalf of their owners. Maybe getting three scoops of the best ice cream in town will become completely hassle free!