Customer Service Transformation

Transforming Customer Service: Why Netflix is a Good Analogy

By 3 Minute Read

Bad customer service is one of those things that we all like to complain about but unfortunately, it is all too common in businesses today. Companies that receive high marks for customer service experiences like Zappos and Nordstrom are few and far between. So why are companies struggling with transforming customer service?

In a world where finding information should be as easy as a web search, the reality is it’s getting harder and harder to contact customer service when you need them as most companies bury their contact details five levels down on their website. In truth, they don’t want you to contact them because they want you to self-serve. And if you do manage to connect with them, it’s on their terms – when they are “open” (which might conflict with your working hours) and only when they have someone available. Even then, you may not end up in the hands of a person qualified to answer your question, so you will have to be transferred.

Live Chat doesn’t really help either because it operates the same way – it’s usually only available during “open” hours and only when a rep is available to do the Live Chat session with you. Oh, and be sure not to switch screens and do something else while the agent is busy in the background (i.e. helping one of the other 3 simultaneous sessions that they are conducting), because chances are high that the session will be shut down after a single “are you there?” prompt (come on!, they have productivity targets to hit so they have to move on).

In other words, most customer service interactions today can be summed up as inconvenient for you, the customer. In fact, if you’re like the majority of people, you probably find yourself surprised when you have great service experience.

We believe that transformation is, at last, coming to customer service and we like the Netflix analogy – because customer service today feels like it was “Before Netflix” changed our expectations (we shall call it the “BN” era).

Let me explain. In the BN era you were forced to watch your favorite shows the way the networks decided – at a time of their choosing (usually when they were live broadcasting), on a device that they’ve mandated (primarily TV) and in a format they wanted you to comply with ( i.e. 42 minutes spread over 60 minute period with mandatory (but often irrelevant) advertisements in between).

In the “After Netflix” (or AN era), you decide when you want to watch your favorite show – you can watch all at once, you can spread it out over several days, you can stop and start when you want, and you can watch in the middle of the night. All this, you can do on any kind of device, wherever you want. This concept is often called time-shifting, and it affords the customer the option to watch shows at their convenience and at a time they choose.

At ServisBOT, we want to extend the concept of time-shifting to customer service. We believe that you should be able to contact your providers whenever you want, on whatever device you want, and at the pace you want. You should be able to start and stop when it suits your schedule, and if you have to stop and then restart later, it should be without having to explain everything from scratch. And if you feel the urge to connect with a provider at 3am, you should be able to communicate your issue while it’s on your mind – even if they can’t address every issue immediately on a 24×7 basis.


How do we do this?

It’s simple — we use the medium consumers use daily to communicate with friends and family: messaging. And, we transition “chat” from session based to sessionless, or what’s called asynchronous. With messaging as the medium, we can support all sorts of channels and devices – web, mobile, social, voice, digital assistants, and in the future, cars and other IOT devices.

And the “Messaging Secret Sauce” (to quote Mary Meeker from her KPCB Internet Trends 2016) is of course, the “Magic of the Thread”. To explain, this means we remember your identity and track your history (unlike live chat sessions, you don’t have to repeat yourself); we have context; a timeline; specifics; and customer preferences. In short, we have all the things that a great customer service experience should have.

To take it a step further, we introduce AI to help automate responses to common questions and address out-of-hours queries. AI + messaging also helps customers find answers without having to search endless web pages. Our approach is similar to Netflix’s timeshifting but in our case, we give the valuable time spent waiting for the vendor to respond back to the customer.

In the post-Netflix era, we would never dream of going back to the old way of watching television –we believe that once customers experience the new ServisBOT’s Conversational AI solution, there will also be no going back.

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