Services Trends Impacting Customers
Blog manager’s note: Two of our favorite InFocus bloggers, Alan and Frank, were recently in Las Vegas for the annual Technology Services World conference. Once they got back (and somewhat recovered) they started comparing notes on what they learned and what it all means.
“Alan, congrats on winning the STAR Award for Best Practices in Delivery of Field Services! A photo of your victory speech even made the TSW highlights site. I knew you were going to win because I asked Zoltar the night before. It was the only lucky machine I found all week…even if it didn’t grant my wish to be Big. 🙂
It ties really nicely to the work we do now! But you already know that, of course, since you referenced it in our TSW video. 🙂 ”
“Thanks Frank – it was a huge team effort – but accepting the award on stage by myself felt odd, considering the phenomenal amount of work done by everyone to earn the award. The whole team deserved to be recognized on stage. But it looks like the team at TSW got on stage for a photo after I left.
TSW was great this year – a few notable things stood out for me, which we mentioned in the video.
- The sheer pace of digital disruption and our need to stay in front of this.
- Our current business model is in line with industry leaders
- Just how much our customers are being disrupted and in need of the right guidance on their digital transformation journey
You and I experience this from slightly different angles – obviously being immersed in Big Data (swap this for any other comment you wish) and both seeing and driving trends – it really does give you an unparalleled perspective to the trends and impacts on customers. On the other hand, I get to hear that customer experience first-hand in my daily customer engagements and their business challenges. Although we come at that from different sides, these experiences complement and validate each other when it comes to strategy.
At TSW I saw a few anxious faces when discussing the future service roadmap – which I, personally, find fascinating. Generational change at this scale brings unprecedented opportunity and I honestly believe we’re in a unique place to take advantage of it. What’s the biggest trend you see right now?”
Let’s just say I’m glad you kept it short and sweet. Seriously though, you did great!
The conference really hit home with me around enabling customer impacts and the importance of customer intimacy. Big Data is just another tool to better understand our customers’ needs and help them along a path to success.
Heck you live in the trenches supporting our customers, ensuring their business continuity. Hopefully you are starting to see more proactive work being performed directed by advanced analytics / data science. We are working to build these models into workflow applications, which is changing the way we work.
I’m excited about Customer Service’s role in the future as well and those anxious faces at TSW are probably behind where we are now. If we keep our focus on “Enabling Customer Impacts” as we heard a million times at TSW, we will be in good shape!”
“Ha! – Thanks Frank. On-stage, and when we filmed our video, I felt like Frank the Tank when he debated James Carville in “Old School” – especially his comment at the end about blacking out.
I agree with the enabling customers view below – this is where that view of “Service is the new Sales” mantra is coming from. As a Services team we have an unparalleled view of our customer’s business. We used to hear customers says they “didn’t want a customized service” because it couldn’t scale.
A lot of that is correct, but the caveat is that was before we had the tools and technology. Advanced analytics and data science are enabling our customers in unprecedented ways and it’s a catalyst for the disruptions we’re now experiencing such as purchase patterns, tech refresh, and digital transformation strategies.
The “Zoltar” approach you referred to is suddenly becoming a bit less popular! I’m not saying we’ll evolve to a fully customized service experience for every customer, but I think service models will evolve and more tailored offerings will become a new normal. That was also a clear message at TSW, under the umbrella of “Outcome Engineering”. BTW, I’m still laughing at your Madam Zara graphic. It captures the situation perfectly.
“Enabling Customer Impact” sounds very techie though, doesn’t it? In reality we’re giving customers tools and insights that help them be more efficient, identify risk and prevent it, better use their technology and make more informed business decisions.
This approach can be leveraged in any industry or vertical so there’s a lot of common sense in this approach. The exciting aspect is being in position to lead that change. We’ve said many times that the rate of digital transformation is unprecedented.
Being able to partner with customers and lead these discussions is a big change from traditional break-fix support models. Our Services teams have hundreds of years of customer experience to tap into. Now, as we continue to add in analytics / data science, I’m genuinely excited to see where that leads us.”
“When I heard “Enabling Customer Outcomes” I thought of it more like helping our customers do their core function. Customers don’t want to worry about the servers or software, they just want to do their job. Similar to us in the Data Analytics space: we don’t want to worry about storage or tool issues, we just want to be able to discover, model, predict and operationalize our results.
When I think about Customer Service as my customer, they don’t care how my models are made, they just want to support our customers in the most impactful way. It sounds so obvious but I can see how people get overwhelmed with all the technology and lose sight of the real goal, our customers success.
I’m done, back to work..”