I’ve just finished Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s newest book, “Antifragile,” in which he discusses the nature of systems. Some are fragile, like a glass – any shock or disruption destroys them. Some are robust, capable of weathering a great stress, but not necessarily of adapting to or learning from it. And then, others are what he deems antifragile – systems that, when disrupted, actually find something to gain from the disruption, not just enduring it but answering it with aplomb and flourish.
This led me to think about how this principle applies to the customer self-service ecosystem, and the three equivalents:
- Fragile: This is a company with a self-service strategy that hasn’t evolved – perhaps it has a IVR that has had confusing options cobbled onto it over the years and doesn’t support ASR, resulting in most customers becoming frustrated and “zeroing out” to an agent; a web app that doesn’t work properly on mobile devices, whether it’s reliant on Flash or is built in a non-responsive manner; and a Facebook/Twitter profile set up years ago by an ambitious intern, with no one minding the customer comments that come in.
- Robust: The robust company has dedicated extensive resources to being able to “handle anything” – they regularly update (but perhaps don’t personalize) their IVR menus; their Twitter and Facebook profiles are constantly monitored by someone in marketing or support for customer comments that need response; they retain a battalion of agents and legion of servers to protect against downtime and wait times; their website is never down, and they’ve got apps for Android and iOS and maybe even still maintain one for BlackBerry.
- Antifragile: This is the company that learns from its customers. They use analytics to make sure any hotspots of customer frustration are quickly rectified, and learn from customer data how to personalize menus and trees to streamline their processes. They see the proliferation of mobile devices not as a hurdle to support more frequent customer requests, but an opportunity to offer proactive SMS notifications for customer shipments, bill payments, or appointment reminders. They’ve embraced social channels for service that goes beyond marketing, and integrated all of their customer interactions in such a way that a customer who touches multiple channels will have an improved experience, through the form of personalized interactions that know the history of their recent inquiries. And they’ve implemented hosting options that can scale with their business and accommodate traffic spikes.
At Voxeo, our aim is to make sure our customers can build not just a robust ecosystem of customer service options but also an antifragile one – giving companies the ability to develop an application once, then deploy it on whatever channel their customers prefer, and the analytics, integration and hosting flexibility necessary to customize, personalize and scale self-service interactions. These are the fundamental tenets Voxeo CXP was built on.
Have you taken steps to make your customer service “antifragile” and learn from your customers? Let us know in the comments!
- Voxeo and ICMI Webinar: Building a Mobile Customer Service Strategy
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- Upcoming Webinar: Using Personalized Self-Service To Deliver a Better Customer Experience
- New Stats About Customer Service Trends by Aberdeen Research
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