Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rise and rise of machines

"The customer is King"

A new fad in business management?

Actually businesses have been saying this for decades.

Some companies have also achieved some success in this area.

Many, many however have not.

We can all hope that now it is the latest fad that they can actually do better than many are doing at the moment.

Unfortunately there are powerful forces tugging in the other direction. 
Customers like low prices.

Customers also like good service.

And many of the things companies can do to cut costs make the “customer experience” painful. 
Supermarkets make you check out your own groceries reducing the number of human check out points by the month, installing ever more self check out points.. 

When your washing machine or internet connection breaks down, the only help you can get is from someone in Hyderabad who speaks little or no English. 
Bosses like to think that big data will help them understand their customers better. 
But often they use new technology to build barriers between themselves and the paying public.
It is, for example, almost impossible to call a company and talk to a human being. 
First you spend half an hour finding the carefully concealed telephone number. 
When you dial it, an android answers. 
Frustrated grumblers have set up websites with tips on how to get past the robo-gatekeepers. 
You’d think companies would take the hint. 
Instead, they have made it even harder to reach a human and set the machines to work on more complicated tasks, such as selling tickets. Wow.

These infernal devices do at least perform one useful function: they let customers measure the value of this new management fad. 
Phone a firm that has appointed a chief customer officer and see if you can reach a human being. 
If not, that CCO might as well be tossed from an executive-floor window, no doubt clutching his collection of “journey maps” and “customer archetypes”.
Imagine the present generation are growing up thinking that this is normal.

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