Designing Technology to Improve the Customer Experience


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Technology and efficiency go hand-in-hand. But what happens when technology breeds inefficiency? Take the example of muzak while you wait to speak to a customer service representative. In this instance, unequal distribution of technology causes an inefficient outcome. The customer service representative has the ability and means to pick a call from a number of callers; the caller, by contrast, must wait on the representative. Not only is the customer devalued by this power imbalance, but customer service representatives have no way to screen for “caller rage.”

The time spent attempting to work with emotionally abusive customers wastes the time a customer service representative could dedicate to a respectful customer. Each of these factors is the result of inefficiency.

Aaron Dragushan of FastCustomer feels the same way, which is why he created an application for iPhone and Android phones that allows customer service representatives and customers to find a mutually agreeable time to connect, muzak-free.

FastCustomer’s strategy is a brilliant example of the Coase Theorem at work. The Coase Theorem, a concept that earned a Nobel Prize in Economics, holds that if trade in an externality is possible and there are no transaction costs, bargaining will lead to an efficient outcome regardless of the initial allocation of property rights.

Call wait times are a negative externality. The service representative wants the highest complaint resolution rate possible in a given amount of time, and the customer wants to spend as little time as possible waiting. The caller bears the burden of the cost because he or she doesn’t have access to bargaining power.

Before FastCustomer, the caller had a major obstacle to bargaining with the representative: lack of technological resources. The answer was simple: you have to wait. With FastCustomer, bargaining between the service representative and the caller is possible – and a mutually-agreeable, efficient outcome is attainable. FastCustomer shows that technology works most efficiently when it fosters a deliberate customer experience.

Additionally, prior to FastCustomer’s service, representatives had an unequal share of bargaining rights, and they were able to dictate the terms of when they would provide customer support because of it. Technology ruled the customer experience. FastCustomer corrects this equation because it puts customer service representatives and customers in a position where genuine two-way exchange is possible. The result? Mutually beneficial, economically-efficient outcomes.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Qaalfa Dibeehi
Qaalfa Dibeehi is the author of "Achieving Customer Experience Excellence" and "Customer Experience Future Trends and Insights". He has 20+ years experience in the customer experience related space with particular emphasis on organisations that have a dual commercial and social/community responsibility. He is Non-Executive Director at Emerge. Previously, he was Chief Operating and Consulting Officer at Beyond Philosophy and Director at Fulcrum Analytics. He has an MBA from NYU and three other Masters Degrees from City U. of New York in Statistics, Psychology and Health Care Administration.


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