A new CSM paradigm

Business is changing, continuously. Not just in terms of commercial markets and the product and service diversification that happens every day, but in terms of the dynamic within the business itself.

New operational paradigms are forming all the time as users start to identify areas where technology can empower them to work better, faster and more productively. One of the paradigms evolving is that of Customer Service Management (CSM) as a route to solving issues in every business function.

Why do we call out ‘every’ business function so specifically? Because companies are now using CSM where they were previously using ITSM. To put that another way – the IT function used to be the only part of the business that offered service desk support to resolve user requests, but now we can apply service management to every department.

Service empowerment across the organisation

In the transitional phase to the new CSM paradigm, we often see the IT desk getting non-IT service requests. This is only natural, the ITSM function is well regarded (hopefully) for its ability to fulfil service requests.

However, the near future sees us work with an enterprise service desk for all business functions – and it’s not just big enterprises, small businesses will work with the same tech DNA at the heart of their operations.

Enabling HR, finance, admin, sales and other business functions with service management excellence is only possible when we can ensure that good quality data exists; there’s no service empowerment without information validity and veracity.

When a business runs on an intelligent data backbone, the CIO can start to arm the COO with enough confidence to take strategic long-term plans, rather than tactical short-term fixes and tweaks.

Towards an AI-driven CSM

Let’s take an example of a flight cancellation. We can now use CSM driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect when a passenger starts a live chatbot chat and indicate it is likely to be due to the cancellation. We can then immediately escalate the interaction to a human agent to arrange an alternative and deliver a superior service. The by-product of all of this is that we start to take predictive business actions and work to change business KPIs to be able to continually evolve and improve business management.

It is, if you will, a new cadence for KPI management. We used to set KPIs once a year, but that cadence can now run in a far more continuous cycle.

The AI Human factor

The longer-term impact of AI on CSM is that humans are empowered to be more human. The role of customer care professionals is elevated because we can take the repetitive work away and automate a good deal of that with intelligent service management.

The research commissioned by ServiceNow and Devoteam shows that 64% of organisations will work to extend the range of queries that Virtual Customer Assistants and chatbots can handle. Customer service professionals will very quickly start to understand how much more they can get done in any single working day.

Employee retention means customer retention

This provision of an effective CSM support layer with a holistic view of information has an impact on employee retention. We want to make sure that once an individual is fully trained up and aware of his or her CSM support layer, that we remain at a point where that worker is compelled to stay in their role and make a positive contribution to the business. And happy employees, in turn, retain customers in the long term.

The trust factor in AI-driven CSM and automated services management is only set to increase. Our research confirms that customers show a very high level of acceptance of AI-driven technologies. We might even suggest that we’ll soon reach a point where we are disappointed if our basic customer request is handled by a human.

Like we said at the start, business is changing, continuously.

Paul Hardy

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