Using Technology to Scale Service

Drive service levels with new tech. Customer experience design matters. The customer want's better. We live in a world where you press a button, and a car turns up, you press another one and dinner turns up, and you can press another button and have a new potential partner turn up.

Today's consumer doesn't want to buy, nor do they want to sell. They don't want to use an agent. They don't want to live where they currently are; they want to live somewhere else. If they could press a button and make that happen, they would.

In the new world, you have to redesign your customer service offering so that you can get more of the jobs done. What are the jobs the customer is trying to get done? What are the underlying jobs they also need to get done?

Technology helps to scale service. As software eats into the tasks lists, automation takes over and helps you to do more with less. If you don't embrace new technologies, you get left behind and stuck in archaic time-consuming processes.

The role of technology is to make things easier so you can focus on the things that drive your business, like getting on the phone and getting in front of consumers.

Today's consumer has unmet needs, unidentified needs and unsatisfied needs. The agent that can meet, identify and satisfy those needs is the one that wins. Technology allows you to scale the service by evolving systems. Systems like forms (to capture information), checklists (to ensure consistent service), visuals (to communicate powerful messages) and dialogues (to be more active on the phone) are the essential elements to scale a business.

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No one piece of software will ever be your solution. What you need to build is an app stack. Just like on your phone, it's a group of apps that complete specific functions, so you can minimise stress, maximise output, drive efficiency and personal effectiveness. With API's apps can talk to each other, sharing data, causing trigger events and automating essential elements of service, so you can focus on the real value adds.

When selecting technology look for the following:

1. What's the problem you're trying to solve? What you think is the problem is rarely the problem. When you understand the problem you're trying to solve you can put in the best system in place to get the result. Most people think prospecting is their issue, yet if they served their existing customers well, those customers would lead to more customers. Definition of the client service journey allows you to understand workflow - what needs to happen next? Moreover, who's involved? What technology is required?

2. How does it work/play with your existing app stack? Tech needs to talk, but not all tech is the same. Syncing needs to be two way, immediate and in the moment. As you scale and grow, you need a robust tech platform that can handle the load as you go from one office to many, one salesperson to a team.

3. Is it mobile first? You can do everything on your mobile, make sure every app is mobile first, that way you keep your team mobile and your systems simple.

4. Does it scale, especially to multiple team members? Workflow matters. As your team grows, you need adoption of all of your essential systems. How does the application work with multiple users and ensure there's no wastage?

5. Can you talk to real life users and see it in play? There's nothing like seeing the technology in play and learning from power users who've mastered the tech. Seeing tech in new applications opens your mind to new possibilities. I'm ok with people only using 10% of an app if that 10% solves a significant problem.

You don't need to be the best; you need to employ the best advisors to get the job done. Service is the way of the future, the secret to higher fee's and return customers. Technology allows you to automate so you can focus your energy on what counts - real customer interaction.

This article first appeared in the REINSW Journal