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Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos: Are You Inventing/Re-Inventing For Your Customers?

by John Carroll, CEO, Service Council

Rumors have been circling for weeks and just yesterday, Amazon announced its long awaited HQ2 locations (New York City and Crystal City, ahem Washington D.C.). Lets set aside Amazon's decision for a moment which was starting to resemble Lebron James, "The Decision" (for those unfamiliar, Lebron James, an NBA Superstar, held a primetime TV spot to announce his selection of a franchise to sign with while in free agency back in 2010).

I found this quote in Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos' first comments so profound (particularly the comments in blue):

Maintaining Customer Engagement over the longhaul takes a lot of invention and re-invention of how you service and support Customers, what you offer them goods/products/service and how your organization is structured to support all of the above. In a Service Council research survey in early 2018 on Technology Automation and Artificial Intelligence, we asked respondents "How many Service Automation Projects have taken place in the previous 5 years?" 92% indicated at least 1 project and 1 out of 3 respondents indicating 5-7+ projects in the last 5 years. This data is fascinating as it indicates that many Service organizations we talk to our re-inventing themselves annually.

I pose the question to you: What are you inventing/re-inventing for your Customers in the next 12 months?

John Carroll is the CEO & Founder of Service Council and a is a frequent author on the topic of Smarter Services. Please feel free to reach him @ to discuss the above blog contents or other Service-related inquiries.

Filed under:  Artificial intelligenceContinuous improvementCustomer experience managementService strategyService transformationStrategy implementation 

John Carroll
CEO,  Service Council

Highlights from the 2018 ClickConnect Conference

by Gregory Gibbs, Vice President of Global Customer Transformation, Service Council

Click's 2018 "ClickConnect" conference was held this week in beautiful Miami Beach, with over 300 attendees from around the world, representing utilities, telecom, high-tech and healthcare, to name a few. The theme of the conference: "Lead with Service." Topics on the main stage and breakout sessions included:

  • Employee engagement
  • Customer engagement
  • Innovation in service
  • Best in class field service
  • Keeping up with the cloud
  • The ROI of technology application
  • Field service of the future

Of all the many great takeaways from this conference, which we will highlight in later communications, one of them came from Mark Crook, VP Energy Services, HomeServe USA, a home warranty service organization. When asked what his organization measures as KPIs, his answer was, "We don't measure ourselves against our direct competitors--we have to measure ourselves against our customers' best service providers."

Mark used the example of Domino's Pizza, whose stock has skyrocketed in the last 10 years. Why? Not because of incredible improvements in their pizza, but rather through offering order capability from any device a customer might want to use. By the way, they don't want to use the phone much any more, but they do want to order via text, Facebook messenger, a smartphone app, or tweet, to name a few options. It's all about convenience, or as Shep Hyken, author of the best-seller, "The Convenience Revolution," terms it: a "frictionless experience."

Having been in a variety of strategic and leadership roles over the years, benchmarking other successful companies and organizations was a given, including outside of our specific industry. We would use that information to help us think outside the box and adapt techniques from the outside that our direct competitors had not yet seen.

But the game has changed—our customers are comparing us to the best service organizations they encounter and want us to be as responsive, convenient and frictionless as those service providers. Customers love convenience. Have any of you been asked lately, "Why you can't be more like Amazon?!" And even if you have a good answer, that may not be enough in the mind of the customer.

Not only that, but with social media, and the instant "rate and review" tools out there, unacceptable customer experiences don't go unnoticed. We have to keep our commitments, according to Mark, around the key service elements of speed and quality. These key service elements must also be done consistently over time—it is through consistency that customers become loyal. As Shep Hyken states, "Loyalty is about the next time every time."

Technology tools, such as those that Click offers, to enhance mobility, customer and technical knowledge capture and access, and scheduling and logisitics optimization, are a way for companies like HomeServe to innovate and excel in service. These tools are becoming more and more essential in the fast-paced world of today.

But beyond technology, your entire company must reflect a customer service mindset throughout. "Customer service is not a department—it's everyone's responsibility," according to Shep Hyken in his keynote address. This call to action includes the people the customer sees or talks to, but also the employees that schedule, or process invoices, or even repair the vehicles in the maintenance fleet.

So, how do you make it convenient for the customer? Hyken offers 7 clear steps:

  1. Reduce friction
  2. Leverage the latest technology
  3. Offer self-service as much as possible
  4. Look to where you can provide subscription service—customers are becoming more open and accepting of this
  5. Delivery—take it to the customer, don’t ask the customer to come to you
  6. Have convenient hours – meaning convenient to the customer, not your staff
  7. UPOD—"under-promise and over-deliver." Set expectations but exceed them

Question: Have you optimized the convenience factor for your customers? Are there things you could learn and adapt from companies like Dominos or Amazon? Regardless of your answer, it would seem that the expectation has already been set by the customer.

For more information or details on the topics in this blog, please contact Greg Gibbs at

Filed under:  Business insightCustomer experienceCustomer feedback managementCustomer loyaltyCustomer managementCustomer serviceData analysisDigital transformationEmployee engagementField service deliveryField service metricsField service mobilityField service technologyITService cultureService growthService leadershipService strategyService transformationVoice of the customer 

Gregory Gibbs
Vice President of Global Customer Transformation,  Service Council

The Connection of Employee Engagement and Experience

by Gregory Gibbs, Vice President of Global Customer Transformation, Service Council

The Service Council just completed its 2018 Employee Engagement survey findings report, to be published the week of October 22, 2018. Within the context of our guiding principle, "Service is Humanity," we wanted to better understand the degree of employee engagement within our members' organizations and provide insights to help them improve in areas of opportunity specific to their organization.

Why is employee engagement so important? As we state in the Employee Engagement Findings Report, poor engagement costs U.S. businesses over $500B per year. (Gallup, 2017). On the flip side, companies with high employee engagement experience many business benefits, such as increased productivity, higher profitability and lower attrition and absenteeism, to name a few. In today's business environment, fighting for and keeping top talent is now the norm. Whether it's retail, manufacturing, hi-tech or service, the same challenges in attracting and keeping talent exist and focusing on the employee engagement is more important than ever.

But there's even more value to improving employee engagement than meets the eye--a more hidden but very key value-add lies in the connection of the employee experience, EX, to the the customer experience, CX. First, let's define the terms, "customer experience" and "employee experience." Simply stated, CX is the sum total of all interactions a customer experiences with an organization. These interactions can be either positive or negative, hence the term coined by Jan Carlson years ago as "Moments of Truth."

Similarly, EX is defined as the sum of everything an employee experiences within an organization--the interactions with the organization's people, processes, tools and data." Or as one HR consultancy defines it: "The Employee Experience is the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organization in which they work."

What EX is not:

  • Perks/fun events--these are only a portion of the total employee experience
  • New approach to HR--the employee experience is not just an HR function; it is about culture change that leaders support and guide and the employees own
  • Employee engagement--engagement is an end goal of an optimal EX approach. If engagement is low, the EX needs to be examined, what motivates employees identified and then built into the redesign of the employee experience
  • Employees as customers--this was a prevalent concept in the height of Six Sigma era. It added value to viewing employees as more than just resource that was a cost, and began the shift to seeing employees as valued assets. But even this is an incomplete approach

So, to tie the main element together--here's how it works:

Employee Experience => Employee Engagement => Customer Experience

If we can optimize EX, then then EE will increase and an improved CX will be a result of the two. According to Dr. Tracy Maylett, co-author of The Employee Experience, “The customer experience is a direct result of the engagement and the behaviors of your employees.

Improving this equation will lead to tangible business results as well. In his research, Jacob Morgan, author of the 'Employee Experience Advantage," organizations that focused on EX were:

  • Listed 2.1 times as often on Forbes list of the World's Most Innovative Companies
  • 2X more often foucn in the American Customer Satisfaction Index
  • 4X the average profit
  • More than 2X the average revenue

In summary, if you are in the business of customer service, where employees (or partners) interact with customers in any way, it is essential you examine and look to improve upon Employee Engagement. We look forward to presenting our 2018 Employee Engagement Survey results next week.

Filed under:  Continuous improvementCustomer experienceCustomer experience managementCustomer serviceCustomer supportEmployee engagementEmployee retentionEmployee satisfactionService cultureService innovationService profitabilityService revenueService transformationStrategy implementationTalent developmentTalent managementTrainingVoice of the customer 

Gregory Gibbs
Vice President of Global Customer Transformation,  Service Council


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