This is a followup to my Social CRM Iceberg post yesterday, which some really smart people built upon:
On being human, I'd agree with Vinnie Mirchindani that we delight when automation makes things possible, but it is when things go wrong that things go really really bad. It isn't just the 1% of the time that we want to interact with a person to solve what wrought. The point of the iceberg is that is far more than the 1%. Its opaque to the enterprise, and thats okay by their measures. Bob Warfield points out that when things go wrong that the problem amplifies into a crisis communications event. But dissatisfaction is far deeper than what gets on that radar. Michael Krigsman catalogs CRM fail from the customer point of view, but not the customer's customer. Paul Greenberg's great definition of Social CRM as "when end customers have control" is refrenced by Bob and Michael. Expect more customers to assert it, tilting towards more Social and more VRM.I don't think we admit enough that automation is failing us. That such intelligent design is not remaking our world as intended. Often I find myself in these kinds of conversations taking a side in an almost religious manner because the other side hasn't been argued except by Luddite circles.
This paragraph is a refrain many have heard before... Automating business processes created new capabilities, but it was sold to drive down costs. Now the supply chains are largely optimized. Everyone can buy the same 15k processes from SAP and implement them with little differentiation. And while some may orchestrate them to fit a business they know better while managing risks, competitive advantage doesn't come from automation anymore. Its how companies handle exceptions to process. Which are inevitable because those processes are out of date almost immeadiately because the environment in which they live in is under constant change.
At the first meeting of the Enterprise Irregulars, Erik Keller told me about an old thought piece of his. He postulated that with an IM system with the right group permissioning you could replace a supply chain management system. And perhaps outperform in exception handling.
Mind you, I will more than admit that Social Software has a long way to go to leverage traditional enterprise software, and make other applications social. But this is just one vector of r/evolution.
Back to point, when we have indicators like a massive shift in trust away from institutions, there is some strong thinking emerging that we (including the enterprise software industry) have been doing something very wrong. And this might require a massive re-education effort.
My CEO often says you can't collaborate with your customers until learn to collaborate within your company. This is where I think the humanizing begins. Without the right people, process/practice and technology within the edge of your organization, your edge will be jagged when building trust with customers.
We've all been exposed to call centers that don't and some of us have been in these call centers and seen this. When the metric of a call center is time spent on the phone, instead of real time to resolution, this design gets hard coded in culture. And people hate their jobs. Its rare to find a call center treated a more than a cost center, when they really should be opportunity cost centers. This isn't about time spent with a customer as efficiently as possible, its about the knowledge brought to bear, and the learning that can occur with every interaction, beyond two people on the phone at a time.
CRM self-service is a good thing. But while attractively justified from a call deflection standpoint, its like having a rude and unattractive waitress making sure there are enough cups for the line at the keg of Bud. We don't need an open bar. Just someone who makes polite conversation, helps us understand the menu while improving it with our feedback, introduces us to others, builds trust through experience. In other words, someone who is incentivized to learn for the organization's long term interest and resolve our exceptions.
Okay, the iceberg metaphor is better than the bar metaphor.