Voice of the ABC

Further to our previous discussion on designing our business from a customers’ perspective, let’s ask ourselves if we would like to be successful by default or by design. If the answer is by design then we should consider not only listening to our customers but also align the views of our agents and our business to that of our customers. We call this the voice of the ABC (Agent, Business, and Customer).

*Note: The “agent” is considered to be any customer facing consultant.

Omni-channel contact and a single view of the customer

The following few posts focuses on an article by Dr Nicola Millard and takes a look at how those concepts for designing a 2020 strategy are applied in a South African company, for these particular posts Woolworths was selected and their publicly available Integrated Report for 2016 was used for information.



  • Globally: It is believed that the traffic (interactions) via traditional channels will reduce while WebChat, Twitter and others will increase and therefore it is recommended that one should implement an omni channel strategy (Millard & Alcock, 2014).
  • Woolworths: The Woolworths Integrated report of 2016 for their Financial Services portion was incorporated into the Woolworths South Africa strategy. Woolworths retained “Building stronger and more profitable customer relationships” and moved from “becoming an omni-channel business” to offering a “Connected retail experience” therefore simplifying their 8 strategic pillars into 4 and aligning with the rest of Woolworths SA (Woolworths Holdings Limited, 2016).



  • Globally: A single view of the customer reduces the need for a customer to repeat his/her requirement or problem every time s/he switches channels which increases the ease of which they do business (Millard & Alcock, 2014).

*Note: remember the importance of the NetEasy score discussed previously

  • Woolworths: The first strategic pillar “BUILD STRONGER, MORE PROFITABLE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS” and its third focus area of that pillar states that they want to “Build a single view of the customer, enabling customers to be recognised in real time, with delivery of personalised, seamless service across channels” (Woolworths Holdings Limited, 2016).

Easy is the new Loyalty

  • Globally: Consumers in the UK are claiming that loyalty is a thing of the past however they will return to do business if the experience is easy, therefore companies like British Telecom are using an indicator called the NetEasy Score in which they ask customers to rate the ease of their experience. The feedback is used to re-evaluate and redesign processes. British Telecoms have found that 40% of customer who find their service easy are less likely to switch (Millard & Alcock, 2014).
  • General: In the contact centre environment, it is important that you make your processes as simple as possible to minimize customer effort.
  • Woolworths: I reviewed the Woolworths Integrated report for 2016 and they key message under heading “26 / Our stakeholders” is that Woolworths would like to build key relationships in order to create value in the short, medium and long term. Customers are placed in the top right hand quadrant in terms of “level of influence” versus “level of interest in WHL (Woolworths Holdings Limited) activities” which makes customers the key to our success. The report also shows how Woolworths utilised customer feedback obtained through customer satisfaction surveys one example is replacing sweets and chocolates from the check-out isles with dried fruit, nuts and biltong (Woolworths Holdings Limited, 2016).

2020 Customer Service

The following is a summary from an article by Dr Nicola J. Millard on the evolution of the contact centre;

Call centres will evolve from transaction processing entities to strategically important channels and become the beating heart of strategy.

  1. Complex problem solving will become the primary role of a contact centre agent
  2. Communication skills, analytical problem solving and knowledge of products and services will become the essential skills of a 2020 call centre agent.
  3. Customer effort (NetEasy Score) and customer satisfaction (NPS) will become the primary measures for contact centres followed by First Contact Resolution.
  4. Web and App chat will become the core channels of choice followed by phone and emails.
  5. Many predict a mix of dedicated call centres followed by integrated hubs and then home-based agents supported by flexible technologies.
  6. Key technologies are skill-based routing platforms followed by Cloud and Big Data Analytics.
  7. The core / principle function of a call centre manager or performance leads will be guardians of customer experience and to drive Best Practice Procedures. They will also become drivers of fixes related to failures on billing platforms, online platforms etc.

(Millard & Alcock, 2014)

For more information read super-agent-2020-the-evolution-of-the-contact-centre

Organisational culture

The following is an extract from an assignment and introduces the topic of culture within an organisation;

The description of culture varies from organisation to organisation, several different cultures may even exist within a particular organisation (Robbins, S.P, & Judge, T. A., Odendaal, A., & Roodt, 2016). Culture can however be described as three particular levels, the first level is known as “artifacts” and are noticeable to the eyes or ears such as constructions, jargon and dress code, the second level is known as “espoused beliefs and values” and these are the vision and missions posted on the walls of the company for everyone to see, the third level is the “underlying assumptions” which refers to the fundamental believes, sensitivities, opinions and moods of the people in the organisation, these underlying assumptions are formed through experiences which translated into beliefs (Schein, n.d.).  “Seven primary characterizes seem to capture the essence of an organization’s culture namely innovation, attention to detail, outcome orientation, people orientation, team orientation, aggressiveness and stability” (Robbins, S.P, & Judge, T. A., Odendaal, A., & Roodt, 2016).

For more information the-levels-of-culture

Why a customers’ view

Maybe it is time that we looked at our business from the outside in. Let’s look at it from a customers’ perspective. Maybe this will help us design our business so that we provide an unmatched customer experience. An experience that will encourage our customers to renew instead of leave, an experience that will encourage our customers to continue their relationship with us and buy into our products and services.