Service operations has always been a tough business. Traditionally viewed as a back-office cost center to be contained, service operations had an evergreen expectation for annual cost reduction while continuously meeting service levels that delight customers at all times. Nothing has changed, but the pressure is mounting and next level improvement is getting ever tougher.
Today, in an increasingly digital world, service operations departments are being pulled into a “new front office.” In the new front office, consumers are interacting directly with the company’s systems and back office, conducting transactions and servicing for themselves. They’ve learned to expect instant service, immediacy, customization, and round-the-clock access, and they have the tools to broadcast their dissatisfaction if anything goes wrong. In this new front office, service operations becomes part of the customer experience in a way that it never was before. Your job may once have been just to keep the pipes open and flowing smoothly. Today, you need to also delight the customer, create magnetic experiences, enable longterm relationships, and satisfy sky-high customer expectations.
And your old back office job? You still have that one as well, and it’s getting tougher.
What kind of person can do all of that? Let’s call her a chameleon, quickly adaptable, impactful, multi-colored, but quite the opposite of simply trying to blend in.