[Customer] Service Design

Once you get past the FuturLOLogist job at Jisc (which I still maintain is a role full of interesting possibilities despite the silly title and baggage surrounding Jisc these days) I actually think one of the other advertised roles has even greater potential to do interesting things with.

The ‘Director of Customer Services‘ post is pretty vanilla at first glance;

..ensure the very best customer experience for our customers and communities and that all our representatives covered by the customer services function provide relevant advice, support, tools and guidance to enable customers to make the most of the Jisc portfolio of products and services.

So far, so snooze-worthy.

The thing I think that makes it interesting is that you are essentially starting with a blank piece of paper to design a customer service function for an organisation that is a self proclaimed “expert on digital technologies” and that opens up some interesting doors.

As far back as 2008 I was taken with the idea of ‘customer service as the new marketing‘ that companies like Get Satisfaction and Zappos were talking about and five years later expectations from customers has only grown and the need for a multi-channel strategy for customer service has only grown.

The tools are all out there. Things like Get Satisfaction, Zendesk, Radian6 are now incredibly powerful not to mention the possibilities of using things like Google Hangouts (the only worthwhile bit of Google+ in my opinion) and also the idea of ‘publish not send’ that is one of the really interesting things to come out of the GDS team.

I don’t think you could really go entirely ‘digital by default’ yet though and the reality is you’d still need to cover the phones – but I think the borders between social media and customer services teams in particular would need to come down.

The other thing to think about is that there is a fine line between proactive customer service online and being seen as a slightly creepy, corporate stalker and this isn’t something that is going to get easier.

There is also an element of community management and particularly that idea that all your community, in particular all staff no matter their actual job title, are your ‘spokespeople’.

There was a period where this was very much the case at Jisc – lots of staff embraced social media and became vocal advocates for the organisation. They were honest and not always 100% ‘on message’ but that just built even more trust. It was very successful I think in strengthening ties between the people actually working in the Unis, Colleges etc and Jisc staff. Unfortunately over time this has faded – mainly due to the uncertainty around the future of the organisation I guess but it is a pity and is something that could/should be encouraged again.

Anyway that is my tuppence on the topic. Good luck to whoever gets the gig.

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