Cost is killing innovation: it’s time to redefine connected services


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Connected services - We think it's time for a rethink

Connected Services, It’s time for a rethink

I’ve worked in this industry for 26 years. A lot has changed in that time and much as it seems obvious, it’s vital that we try new things and constantly challenge to be better. The world is continuing to change and it’s not getting any slower.

“Gartner predicts that by next year, poor CX will destroy 30% of digital business projects.”

What’s more, over a quarter (27%) of the world’s adult population was born between 1995 and 2010. They have never known a world before the era. 1995 saw the launch of Amazon, eBay, Hotmail, VoIP, PHP, SSL and Javascript and HTML 2.0, and even those technologies, that are still hugely important today, will feel antiquated to the 65% of those at school today who will be doing jobs that don’t exist yet (source: World Economic Forum: The Future of Jobs Report 2016).

We’re already in a world that will sooner swipe right than persevere with something that isn’t immediately easy to engage with. In a presentation I saw last year, I learnt that around 65% of people said they would rather stick their head down a toilet than get in touch with a contact centre. That’s some reputation we have when around 2/3 people feel that way, no matter how tongue in cheek the question. And yes, it’s far better to equip customers with tools to help themselves, but when they need something more, it really does need to be a cause for celebration and an opportunity to reaffirm a brand’s worth.

“2/3 of people would rather stick their head down a toilet than get in touch with a contact centre.”

Yet around 20% of customer contact is now outsourced in the UK (CCA Global Study). There is nothing inherently wrong in this approach, it provides brands with an opportunity to deliver service through specialists, where scale and diversity can help smooth out the overhead challenges of needing to house people in buildings and equip them with the right technology. The problem is that the drive for low cost servicing is ever present. Larger players seek to be the lowest bidder, putting technology between people and service to achieve the bottom line. Smaller players offer an approach that cares more but can’t compete with a technology offer.

The squeeze on margins through the procurement process has jeopardised how people relate to service delivery, with disparate delivery creating a fragmented approach that makes no sense to the poor individual who decided to make that call instead of taking the head down loo approach.

“The squeeze on margins through the procurement process has jeopardised how people relate to service delivery”

Customers have become commodities and service a number on a balance sheet. And this cost game is killing innovation.

Fundamentally, the traditional outsourcing model is broken. It’s time for a rethink. It’s time to redefine connected services.

In my next post, I’m going to look at why that’s so important.

Norie Collister
Nicola is the Founder/CEO of Custerian with 25 years Senior Executive experience having worked with UK & Global companies across industries including: Financial Services; Retail; Logistics; Education; Pharmaceutical; Utilities and Technology. Operating on or with Main Boards to transform businesses profitability, by identifying, refining and refocusing the entire business on delivering the customer brand experience that creates the greatest level of sustained competitive advantage – often funded from OpEx savings. Worked with PE companies / PE backed businesses on M&A strategies & plans.


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