The Rise Of Customer Service

“The consumer, wants marketing that helps. And one thing that stood out in the research is that customer service, exclusive offers, and charitable giving [impresses] consumers far more than celebrity tie-ins and guerrilla advertising, the sort of thing that does well at Cannes every year.”

Colin Mitchell, Worldwide Head of Planning, Ogilvy & Mather 

Brands wage “shock & awe” campaigns against competitors each quarter or each year, some of which are being celebrated this week at Cannes. But every day, a “hearts & minds” campaign is being fought in contact centres and in social media and hearts & minds is winning.

Dawn is coming on a new era, the Era of the Service.

The magic of good service

The power of the brand is dwindling. Customers are more informed through social media and are much more media savvy. Whilst it’s not doomsday for the power of the brand yet, winter is coming.

Let me ask you some questions.

Think about the last piece of advertising you saw from your carrier. Do you even remember it? How did it make you feel?

Now remember the last you asked them for help, were they helpful? Was it exceptional? Was it terrible? How did it make you feel?

I would wager that the service experience is more salient.

“But we have a great call centre!” I hear you protest.

So here’s another question.

“When was the last time you saw a millennial make a phone call?”

And yet, we have hundreds, sometimes thousands of people sitting in call centres, in environments that haven’t seen any major changes since the 80s.

“But we have community managers! We do social!”

True, some of you do. But can the community manager go into your customer’s bank account and help them do a transfer?

Community managers in most organisations are go-betweens. They consult with the business and craft emotionally intelligent responses for the organisation. They usually can’t solve the underlying problem.

Furthermore, conversations by most community managers aren’t being tracked in the same CRM and audit systems as the call centres.

Now Facebook is promoting Messenger and bots; but Messenger is not used in one of the biggest markets in the world, China. Then there’s AI, Twitter, LINE, and WhatsApp.

“Where the hell do I start?!

It’s okay. The solution is not difficult it just takes some work and some experience.

Over the last two years we’ve been working with our innovation core—a group of forward looking clients who are willing to invest in what’s next—to solve this problem.

Here’s what we learnt in a nutshell and what you can do about it:

1.    Take stock of where you are as a business. How integrated are your customer service, operations and social media teams REALLY? Do they sit next to each other or are they in different buildings? Are their tools integrated?

2.    Where does the business want to be? Outside of just social media, how far along the customer experience planning journey are you? Is it a hallway conversation or do you have a cross functional customer experience team?

3.    Get senior buy in. The biggest stumbling blocks to success are departments that think they’re already doing it, or in large businesses parallel service projects working in silos. Remember, the customer doesn’t see you as different departments, just BRAND X. Buy in at COO level at a minimum is required for success as it will actually impact every part of the business.


If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me over email or Twitter.

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