Nitin Badjatia, Senior Director of Product Strategy, Customer Service Management at ServiceNow, talked about the new, proactive, predictive role of customer service management.
Badjatia began his thought leadership presentation at the 2018 Customer Experience Leadership Forum held on March 7 in Atlanta by stating, “In 2011, Marc Andreessen wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal titled ‘Software is Eating the World.’ Andreessen is the founder of Netscape and a founding partner of Andreessen-Horowitz, one of the top venture capital firms in Silicon Valley,” said Badjatia. “In the Valley, his op-ed piece helped us define where we were going. I think it took the rest of the world a while for this to be adopted as a way of thinking. Only last year did Forbes magazine address this idea of software eating the world. It’s not as scary as it sounds, but it’s definitely an impactful thing,” he said.
“By 2020, over half of the Global 2000 companies will derive the majority of their revenue through a digital service. This translates to between $15 trillion an $18 trillion delivered via a digital capability. This isn’t just companies like Netflix. It’s also John Deere,” noted Badjatia.
“By 2020, over half of the Global 2000 companies will derive the majority of their revenue through a digital service. This translates to between $15 trillion an $18 trillion delivered via a digital capability. This isn’t just companies like Netflix. It’s also John Deere.”
“When we think of digital-native businesses, the ones that come to mind are airbnb, Netflix, Uber, and others that don’t own any physical assets. I’m reminded of a quote by science-fiction author William Gibson, who coined the phrase ‘cyberspace’ in the late 1970s: ‘The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.’ We see this in our daily lives.”
Badjatia continued, “We’re now going to look at customer service through a digital lens.” He then related a recent experience he had while watching a movie on Amazon with his four-year-old daughter in which the transmission was interrupted at certain spots during the streaming. Thirty minutes later, he received a credit from Amazon because of the service issue, even though Badjatia felt the problem was probably with his Internet provider. He noted that his daughter is going to grow up with this expectation about customer service—that, without even making a call to complain, the company compensates the customer for poor service.
“If we’re engaged in digital technology, we’re always on, always connected. So companies should know what their customers’ experiences are and if there’s an issue. This structurally changes the way we think about customer service. Customer service can no longer be on defense. We need to move into offense. This means customer service itself must transform into being strategically oriented with the goals of the business,” he said.
“Traditional customer service was highly reactive. The customer contacted the company with a problem. All the customer cared about was getting the issue fixed and how soon this could happen. There was nothing about building a relationship, discovering permanent solutions, or noting trends,” said Badjatia.
“Traditional customer service was highly reactive. The customer contacted the company with a problem. All the customer cared about was getting the issue fixed and how soon this could happen.”
“To me, traditional customer relationship management (CRM) isn’t about relationships; it’s about records management—logging customer issues. Customer service management should be proactive regarding customer issues and making it effortless for those customers. Connected means everyone in the company is involved in customer service in a proactive way to route an issue to the source of the problem.” Badjatia described customer service management as a team sport that incorporates the following characteristics:
• Making it easy on customers
• Reducing case volume with self-service
• Assigning tasks across the enterprise
• Preventing future exceptions
• Monitoring for issues
“The ultimate goal isn’t to solve one problem for an individual customer but to root out that problem from the entire ecosystem,” he said.
“This new era requires new measures. In the last 15 years, our main focus has been first-contact resolution. The future requires something bigger than just fixing the problem. We’re moving to an era of predictive support—sensing what’s going on and stepping up to solve that issue to maximize customer-realized value. As soon as there’s a problem, the customer perceives a loss of value, so we need to restore that value. Apple is the leader in this regard. Apple’s brand-value perception by customers actually increases the first time a customer has an issue. The customer goes into the Genius Bar, and the problem is solved.”
“The future requires something bigger than just fixing the problem. We’re moving to an era of predictive support—sensing what’s going on and stepping up to solve that issue to maximize customer-realized value.”
In closing, Badjatia noted that one of his customers, The Exception Center, has stated, ‘[Our] new bar for customer service is 80% proactive outreach by 2020.’ “This is a pivot in the thinking of customer service. Digital service excellence is forcing us to think about measures in a very different way.”
ABOUT NITIN BADJATIA:
Nitin Badjatia serves as the Head of Product Strategy, Customer Service Management, at ServiceNow, where he’s responsible for driving the strategic roadmap, field enablement, and go-to-market for the product line. He’s a two-decade veteran of enterprise customer service vendors, having been at Siebel Systems, RightNow Technologies, and Oracle in various sales and strategy roles. Nitin also led business strategy at knowledge-management pioneer Knova Software. In 2012, Nitin was awarded the Consortium for Service Innovation’s Innovator award for his extensive contributions to the industry at large. Nitin is a founding board member of Customer Commons, a non-profit spinoff of Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center focused on privacy and identity in a digitally enabled world. He holds a Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.