This week I experienced that awful sinking feeling when I discovered that my mobile and me were not together; as I arrived at Glasgow Airport for my two day trip to London and sprinting towards security with my mobile boarding pass. Retrieving it was not an option as allowing extra time in airports isn't in my nature, so I had to go with the flow minus the phone, comforted by the fact that I at least had a laptop.
Luck was with me; the airport was quiet and I was able to get a replacement boarding pass from a really helpful attendant; and a borrowed 'find my iPhone' from a helpful stranger confirmed that the missing device was indeed having time out, safe and snug at home.
Once I had emailed everyone letting them know that this was my channel of 'choice' for the next couple of days, I settled into a new mode of mobile free existence. So how did it go? Meetings were definitely more focussed and I didn't miss the tempting constant alerts from every channel. As an important aside it's fascinating to see how everyone is rushing around squinting at their small screens and/or with headphones, when you aren't doing the same – and less risk of getting run over on a busy London street! I did however have to dedicate set regular times to properly check email, which had became busy but it was satisfying to complete this task and also a relief to avoid the random nature of constant multi-channel communication.
On the downside, I missed my mobile google map, like most of us I have become lazy and slavishly follow the blue dots to get to my destination, even when instinctively I know where it is. Interestingly I suspect that because we all do this we have lost our ability to be able to help anyone, in my experience most people I asked looked blank or were unapproachable due to their headphones.
One of my engagements was dinner with the Cisco team at their annual analyst event. We left the hotel with everyone (apart from me!) clutching mobile maps with an estimated 6 minute journey time to the restaurant. Forty minutes and two taxis later some of us arrived sheepishly at the restaurant (there were two with the same name unhelpfully close enough to have caused confusion). I suspect that a quick chat with the concierge would have provided a first right, second left set of bullet-proof directions, but many of us have adapted our behaviour to a default mobile dependent. This poses a really serious question – is technology actually making us less able to deal with issues? Could we become less resilient to solve those inevitable things that come right at us from the side?
The topic of the day was all about customer journeys and how things can be speeded up for customers by having the correct technologies and processes available when both customer and advisor require real-time information to solve an enquiry. Critically, how can organisations better leverage social contact by better integration of channels; the vast majority of organisations still operate with little understanding of how the customer journey has happened before a voice call – adding to cost not to mention customer frustration.
Common sense however is probably the biggest requirement, a sound understanding of the demographics of one’s own customer base, responsibility and accountability for all customer contact not just the call centre. How does what you say in corporate board speak play out at the user interface – does it?
Only when all of this is clearly understood can technology choices be effectively informed. The good news from CCA research shows that there is a growing, wider responsibility for making investment decisions on behalf of what consumers actually require.
It's not very helpful to hear, 'well we wouldn't have started from here' when looking at transformation, but mostly we are where we are. It seems that the smart thing is to have processes in place to constantly check our organisational and personal agility in order that we are ready and able to respond to things that do and will go wrong.
I'm now safely reunited with the said mobile but might be brave enough to venture out on my own again sometime soon!