Being intensely customer-focused in a digital world


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“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky

That’s a great lesson for IT Directors and Customer Service Managers tasked with surviving in the changing landscape of customer service, social media, mobile devices and the internet. Anyone not paying attention to the influence these technologies have on customer service and the profitability of the enterprise risks losing serious ground to their competitors.

Empowering the consumer has made knowing where the puck is going to be all the more important today. Some forward-looking companies have already embraced this concept with real action.

One fine example is AllyBank ( According to the company web site, “In 2009, we took the market in a new direction with our online retail bank. With it, we introduced 24/7 live customer care and an online savings account that has been named best in 2009 by Kiplinger’s and “Best Savings Account” by Money Magazine in 2010. Our lines of business include retail and wholesale auto financing, insurance, commercial financing, and home mortgage products — all clearly committed to the notion that being intensely customer-focused is just good business.”

Another good example is the supermarket chain Albertsons. The company has started to remove the self-checkout lanes in all of its 217 stores in seven states. “We evaluated the self-checkouts, compared to manned lanes, and found they weren’t making the grade”, said Christine Wilcox, spokeswoman for Albertsons. “We felt the self-service lanes weren’t providing the level of service we wanted our customers to have,” she said. “So, we are taking them out and replacing them with either a standard checkout lane or an express lane, depending on the location.”

Answering all customer service inquiries with live agents is likely to be impractical and highly cost prohibitive for the majority of banks, retail outlets, insurance companies and other lines of business.

Not doing anything to address customer service levels in the digital world however, could turn out to be the equivalent of a career ending injury for an otherwise good hockey player.

Companies that do not take the voice self-service systems that may greet tens, or even hundreds of thousands of their customers each day are at serious risk of being out of the game before they know it. Social media and the power of the internet can turn customer sentiment on a dime.

Interactive Digital’s Adaptive Audio product and VUI Cloud service dynamically personalize your self-service telephone calls to suit each caller in real time. The technology has been production proven to increase call automation rates and IVR utilization and reduce call handle times and error rates on over 120 million calls.

Daniel O'Sullivan
CEO, innovator and technologist in software engineering and product development. Created and implemented Adaptive Technology and Fastrack Software products that have optimized over 1.5 Billion self-service phone calls worldwide and saved clients over $100M to date. Electrical Engineering undergrad with a Masters in Computer Science. Lucent/Bell Labs alumni. Winner of worldwide eco-design project and received several patents. Currently CEO of Software Technology Partners.Focus: Business Development, Technology Partnering, Mobile, Web and Cloud Technologies and Human-Computer Interaction.


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