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Unless your company is the only game in town and you have zero competitive pressures -- happens all the time, right? -- you know that you have to make your customers happy in order to retain their business.  That’s called customer service -- which used to mean the call center .... Now, thanks in large part to emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data, industry talk has evolved to a customer-centric “experience.”

Does that mean you add voice response and a chat bot and call it a day?

Keeping out in front of competitors requires more rapid adaptation than ever. The struggle to retain existing customers and attract new business has never been more real. With rapidly changing technology advances, you have to refresh your customer service strategy before a competitor beats you to it. If you don’t provide a service that customers have come to expect, they will take their budget spend to where they’ll get it.

“Customer-centric” is a strategy that puts your customer first and at the core of your business. It means that the customer experience journey is no longer dictated by the organization’s operational needs, but literally by the customers’ point of view: how they want to interact with your services, how you recognize their patterns, anticipate their needs, and alleviate their pain points.

The fact is, a world-class customer experience journey requires you to support new and different types of requests on more and more emerging channels. Providing customer choice means delivering value through user-friendly digital tools and instant access to information.  

Functionality must facilitate customer self-service, as well as enabled technicians, including real-time updates, accurate entitlements and service records, and smart scheduling that sends the right person to the right job at the right time. It also must support fully integrated teamwork and best-in-class knowledge management tools.

The other customer experience secret that you have to consider is the flip side of technology availability. The readily available technology that is raising your customers’ expectations is also leveling the playing field. Technology allows smaller companies to be incredibly nimble, while possibly undercutting your business model. The service that your customers now expect can be provided by any company – and often the smaller upstarts can be much more agile than a well-defined organization with a robust approval chain and deliberative top-down management.

In addition, connected customers present both challenges and opportunities for field service organizations. And, by simplifying service delivery, companies can be in a position to maximize profitability – all the way from streamlining back-end operations, to optimizing labor and parts together, to driving revenue through customer acquisition and retention.

If your bottom line focus is not on the customer point of view, you are losing today’s greatest opportunity to grow revenue and maximize profitability. Your customer is #1 and is the  competitive differentiator that keeps you on top of your industry, where you belong.


Topics Blog
Charis Warchal | Service Power
is an award-winning writer, strategic planner and corporate communications Vice President with a successful record of integrated program development, implementation, and evaluation.