The original source, says Naumi Haque(Wikinomics approaches to contact centers), is from the book “Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow,” by Chip Conley. ‘It highlights why customer interaction strategies are changing from a transactional approach to one where we focus on the broader customer experience, states Haque.
Level 1: Transactional. This base level meets customer expectations with current customer service passive models. It is reactive to customer enquiries and meets them satisfactorily. Most organisations operate at or below this level of customer service and customers reaction is measureable.
Level 2: Understand and Fulfils Customer Desire. This level is proactive with customer data collection and analysis, taken from a variety of (internal and external) sources to anticipate and resolve issues. Analytic tools and predictive modelling software is now available but customer facing employees are a good source of customer feedback. It is about ‘standing in the customer shoes, only a few organisations operate here consistently.
Level 3: Transformational. This level is about intuitively knowing what the customer wants by almost becoming one of them; making intelligent connections with the experience and knowledge that you have of the customer relationship. Having regular exchange of information through conversations and by interactions; but being in the head of the customer is critical in recognising their needs before the customer does.
My experience while travelling on United Airlines during the volcanic ash cloud May 2010 is an example of a poor level 1 business. My US flight was diverted to Canada and the passengers were left to find their own transport, hotels and rebook their own flights. I was lucky to get a hotel room at 11pm which allowed me to re-dialling the bookings number and by 3am I got booked onto a 7am flight out. The airlines view was that it was not their problem as their only responsibility was to carry passengers from A to B!
Virgin is a good example of a level 2 business, it has embraced social media to help build and engage a solid customer base, the company uses Twitter and Facebook to keep customers informed about flight cancellations and delays, potential weather problems, as well as listening to customer complaints, reimbursing for their delays and sharing good news stories.
Steve Jobs is an example of an instinctive leader that lead a transformational company Apple to level 3. He instinctively understood his customers because he designed for himself and created a fan base (following) among consumers who felt that design and usability was equal (possibly more important) to the technical spec. Apple has continued to transform itself and has left the old (fixed position) computer model behind with the handheld (mobile) iPad, iPhone and iPod.
What can you learn from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Customer Service? Do you have other examples of level 2 and 3 businesses? Your comments are most welcome
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Janice B Gordon: The Problem Solver Business Growth Consultant, Mentor, Speaker and Author. Business Evolution – Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing World will give you the guidance you need to evolve you and your business and exceed your customers wants and needs.