A thought on social customer care & 21st century ‘fluencies’ #socialcustcare #custserv


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I came across a post by Tony Reeves on his blog – Techtrees – a moment ago – Global Fluency and 21st Century Skills. What interested me was the model he had adapted from elsewhere, which I have copied below (I hope you don’t mind?).

The fact that he had taken and adapted someone else’s model reminds me of Wikinomics and the idea of ‘a shared canvas where every splash of paint contributed by one user provides a richer tapestry for the next user to modify or build on’. I love, that’s a strong word to use in connection with the internet, the idea that in this age when we start to create, when we start to write, the idea of the ‘shared canvas’ is built into the very fabric of what we are creating. To think otherwise is naive. We create for others to build on, to create something new, to take something and refresh it, add a different perspective, sometimes to even make it better.

But back to Reeves’ adapted model.

21st Century Skills - Tony Reeves

Reeves went on to write: Business and the global economy need workers, managers and leaders who can organise information and work collaboratively to find rapid solutions to complex problems.

This got me thinking about the skills needed for social customer care, or indeed, using Reeves’ terminology – ’21st century interaction skillset’. I’m slowly moving away from the phrase ‘customer service’. Someone yesterday mentioned it’s all customer experience anyway. I’m using the phrase ‘customer interaction’: ‘interaction’ as a placeholder (interaction is an ugly sounding word, but you understand what I’m talking about), and actually I’m also wondering whether we need the word ‘customer’ either. I think it was Lyle Fong (Lithium) who said in an interview with Ray Wang (Constellation Group): What happens when we treat customers as part of the company? I’m not sure yet what’s coming next, what ‘customer service’ will look like, but I do feel the underlying model is changing.

I’m thinking less about service as a fixed entity: fixed set of people, fixed location, fixed time period, fixed resolutions. I’m thinking about all the different interactions that could take place by all the different people that could participate. I’m thinking about something that is more fluid, flexible, ‘on the fly’.

So what I’m wondering is whether at a time when the way organisations have provided ‘customer service’ is so obviously shifting and changing, to what degree these same organisations are thinking about the different skills, literacies and, to use Reeves’ word (albeit in a slightly adapted way) ‘fluencies’ required for 21st century ‘customer service’.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Guy Stephens
Guy is a social customer care trainer/consultant who has been in the social customer care space since 2008. He is also the Co-founder of Snak Academy, which provides online social customer care microlearning for individuals and SMEs.


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