Thursday 10 March 2005

New Economy Customer Service Revisited

Yesterday was a busy day as I attended a Telstra breakfast in Wollongong where we had the unusual pleasure of hearing from Michael Ossipoff, Director, Enterprise Capability at Telstra.

I say unusual because I spoke to Michael before his presentation and it isn't very often I meet someone in my adopted home town who has heard of Dave Snowden and even fellow KM consultant Shawn Callahan! Incidentally I now realise that we were both speakers at Corporate Portal World last year (small world, eh?). Unfortunately Michael wasn't speaking about KM. Instead he was there to evangelise about Internet Protocol (IP) based telecommunications networks to local SMEs, so still an interesting presentation from my perspective. While this was obviously a marketing effort for Telstra, the use of video testimonials by real businesses was a great way to help people understand how technology can be applied in practice. So a thumbs up for the effort.

Later in the evening I headed up to Sydney to attend a function at UNSW from students and alumni in the Master of Business & Technology program (I'm just completing my last unit in my masters at the moment). The speaker was Bill Price, Former Vice-President of Global Customer Service for Bill actually worked for a while at McKinsey & Company with Tom Peters. He has a great customer service philosophy along the lines of trying to make it as easy as possible for customers to do business with companies and to avoid what he calls "dumb contacts" and empowering customer service staff to fix problems.

What have these two presenters got in common? Well, the simplicity of IP based telecommunications (from the users point of view) may renew interest in e-business. However, organisations will need to be more considerate of customer service again. Amazon is a great example of a company that empowers customers with it's systems but also knows how to make things right when they go wrong. PS I talked a little about this the other day in reference to Flight Centre.

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