Sunday, 9 February 2014

Customer Service - How We Will Be Working In The Future

In the years when 'youthful' was an adjective that could reasonably be applied to my personage, I used to occasionally (and pretentiously) declare myself a "Zeitgeist surfer". By this I meant that I always seemed to be up there with the trends and current thinking. While I'm certainly no longer a tastemaker, or hip-to-the-now in the worlds of music and fashion, I still seemingly retain the ability to spot the next interesting thing in other fields.

I rather fortunately moved into data and business intelligence (BI) around 2006/2007 just at the time when it was getting ready to boom. Because of this I have enjoyed some rewarding contracts over the last six years. As is always the way in IT, the sands are shifting and the market for building data warehouses and reporting suites seems to be on the wane (saturation?), while anyone with a bit of SQL knowledge is selling themselves as a BI specialist. It's only those who understand predictive analytics (i.e. real multivariate statistical modelling) who can command the big bucks these days.

However, since 2009 I've also been deeply concerned with all things people-related in organisations and especially in service related IT functions - that is, the sub-sector known by the term  IT service management (or ITSM). I spent a large chunk of 2011 writing a thesis about organisations, staff and good service provision. This was never published but provided the inspiration and basis for a book that I have recently completed. Its themes are similar to the earlier thesis, but the conclusions are clearer and I believe it contains an interesting and radical proposal for customer service thinking in the 21st century.

Naturally when I began that thesis back in 2011, I wan't thinking that commentators would be labelling 2014 the year of #customerservice. It' just serendipity that things have turned out that way - or maybe it's just that my Zeitgeist-surfing abilities remain intact. Anyhow, the book is entitled Making Light Work: Rethinking The Service Organisation. It's published by Fairday Books and will be available in March at the ridiculously cheap price of £9.99 ;-p.

The few people who were present at a talk I gave at The Service Desk and IT Show in April 2013 received a preview of what the book describes, an approach to service which I have termed Lumiere. They seemed to like it; one member of the audience was James West the editor of and his view of Lumiere follows.
“The ITSM industry is struggling to adapt and solve today’s business IT challenges because it is seeking answers from inside the very structure it is needs to rebuild.  Peter’s pragmatic, radical and yet practical approach is exactly what ITSM needs to drag itself into the 21st century of business technology.”
I really couldn't have put it much better myself.

So, in addition to the book, I'll also be speaking at the Service Desk and IT Show again this year (#SITS14 in April) and will also be banging on about these new ideas at the Tomorrow's Future Today global webinar thing on February 18th. I hope you'll be able to join me at one or other of these, or perhaps just read the book. Maybe - if my Zeitgeist-detecting skills are still on point - you'll be able to get a little glimpse of what the near future is going to look like.

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