A new game?
Last week I had a lovely short break in Portugal and took the opportunity to get some tennis lessons. As someone who has played for a few years in a self styled way I found the new handgrips and feet positioning all a bit weird and after four days could hardly hit the ball over the net!
The temptation was to return to ‘battering the ball around the court’ in a high energy fashion which I have to say often yielded results but was exhausting and unsustainable. The coach explained it well, without the correct techniques and an ongoing commitment to change and practice, I would never progress beyond my current level. If further convincing was needed, another compelling reason for change was to avoid painful tennis elbow due to gripping the racquet too tightly; amateurs without the correct grip tend to do this.
Interestingly I quickly realised that bad techniques means you lose rather than the opponent winning; they simply pick up points from your careless balls outside the court or in the net; a classic own goal.
This week we hosted the latest in the series of popular CCA One Day MBA for Customer Experience with 60 managers who are charged with customer service transformation in a digital age. One of the consistent themes running through each session was the need for a continuous and sustainable focus on service, and an end to ‘initiativitis’ where customer experience becomes board flavour of the month when figures are poor but gets forgotten when things appear to be going well at a surface level.
Discussions focussed around how culture change was the single biggest challenge facing organisations who are trying to win by upping their game in customer service. Outdated and laborious models of clumsy recruitment and boring induction are at odds with a generation who seek congeniality and a true sense of purpose in their work. The urgent need for skilled problem solvers cannot be fulfilled by out of date HR policies which fail to take account of the much talked about, but finally here, change in our workforce planning needs. Expecting a generation used to and skilled at Googling everything to sit at a fixed PC and fight with up to 20 systems to answer an enquiry from a frustrated customer seems ridiculous but it happens all too often.
We heard the challenge posed to the traditional banks by the many new challenger banks now being authorised by FCA, and nimbly setting about their business unperturbed by legacy or physical asset constraints. And yet questions from the audience reminded us that whilst this all seems appealing an increasingly older cash rich generation like the security built from centuries of experience; a challenge indeed. Beware of throwing the baby out with the bath water?
We heard from Resolver, a disrupter in the complaints management market, a friend of the complainant who 'ain't getting no satisfaction' from the original brand.
Nicola Collister from Custerian used the the ‘4 Ps’ of purpose, people, process and priorities to summarise success in a complex service world, stressing the need to select what works best for customer and do more of less.
I doubt there are many organisations that aren't faced with challenging transition programmes, and it is equally doubtful whether transition strategies from 5-10 years ago will work. Like tennis the game has changed to a fast-paced exciting match in which only continuous improvement and a resolve to continue learning, practicing and changing will get results.
Back to my game, I doubt I'll be heading to Roland Garros any time soon but armed with new, correct techniques, who knows!