Yes, customer service still matters ….Now more than ever!!


After spending years training newbies in Automated Ticketing ,Tourism and Soft skills in the field of Aviation, I can’t help but notice the customer service delivered to me everywhere I go, whether I am shopping, dining, or even travelling. It takes a lot of self-control on my part to stop myself from giving them a lecture on customer service whenever I find them slipping 🙂

While in the academy, the hard core syllabus training imparted was according to the rule book, the soft skill training’s were always done according to the needs of the particular industry. Having said that, Customer Service training was always the top priority, whether it was for the Retail, Banking, Hospitality, Aviation and for that matter, even medical organisations/institutions dealing with forward facing customers per se.

We have all heard that great customer service is the holy grail of any business. There were and are certain customer service skills that every employee must master. Competition in the marketplace has made it crucial for businesses to spruce up on not only their hardware but more importantly their software aka employees.

The best companies have knowledgeable, polished and thoughtful people who have been trained to not only answer questions and solve problems, but to also create confidence with the customer.

When most businesses talk about customer service skills, things like ‘being a people’s person’ tends to take the spotlight. “WOW” the customers is the mantra preached at most customer-centric training sessions.

However today customers are more demanding than ever. They have more power than they used to. They are smarter and have higher expectations than ever before. They are more up-to-date and better informed today, as technology has made it easier for them to do their homework.

Smart customers – empowered customers – know what options they want. Customers are now in the driver’s seat, expecting an experience that is targeted specifically to their demands.  Customers are communicating on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, review sites and more. Freebies, discounts, upgrades, value addition, are just some of the motives which they believe will keep them satisfied and make them want to come back for more.

Today, customer demand is about meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations, hence businesses must be equipped to meet customers on their terms, when and where they want.

Providing flawless service, however, is not always easy. Many corporate’s would argue it’s just as elusive as the unicorn. No matter how many customer service surveys they conduct much of the customer psyche will forever remain a mystery.

The best forward-facing employees work extensively on having a deep knowledge of how their product works. Having that solid product foundation and being innovative in responding to the customer’s needs, is what the businesses should aim for. Change is the only constant in today’s environment, and by being proactive to the customers’ spoken and unspoken needs, means you stay ahead of the curve with them, anticipating problems and acting in advance to solve them. Not only is it important to pay attention to individual customer interactions but it’s also important to be mindful and attentive to the feedback that you receive at large.

Training staff on a regular basis keeps them knowledgeable and in tune with any technological advancements the company is adding. A strong customer service department is founded by solid leadership and empowered employees. Once you understand how current and potential customers engage with your business, you’ll be able to target more accurately and truly understand what they’re looking for from your brand.

The key point to note is that businesses must provide top notch and proactive customer service to keep their customers loyal.


🙂 madhavi

Are we creating a Frankenstein with AI?


God made man. Man made machines. And now man is making a machine with Artificial Intelligence. And isn’t it ironic that man always complains how he hates being controlled and yet now he is making a machine that may not only control him, his life, but also to some extent his livelihood.

The machines haven’t taken over, at least not yet. However, they are definitely becoming a part of our world slowly but surely.

They are affecting how we live, work and entertain ourselves. From voice-powered personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, to self-driving cars, to drones used in surveillance, to gaming options on your smart devices, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is progressing rapidly.

I remember having checked into a fast food chain some time last year in the US. Instead of standing in a queue at the counter to place my order, I was directed by a worker to place my order at a self-ordering kiosk. I could select my food and beverage, pay the price and then either wait for my order being called out or have the option of having my food delivered to my table.

Agreed it gave me a few extra minutes to customize my order, but it also left me thinking if this is going to be the future of the fast food industry, a lot of people will be left without jobs. Because from where I saw it the reality is that automation will be replacing much of the human workforce in coming years.

AI would outperform humans at nearly every cognitive task. But that’s just one side of the coin

Looking at the sunny side, advanced AI and automation is already beginning to tackle some of the world’s complex, and dangerous, problems, from illnesses to violence. Researches are developing software that learns to recognise patterns from large amounts of data and finding solutions. Machines are being ‘taught’ to figure out weather patterns, traffic data, crime data, and even diagnose serious health issues to inform the organizations and institutions known to tackle the source and provide adequate solutions to some of them more precisely.

AI algorithms, aid in planning treatments for cancer by identifying areas of healthy tissue from tumours. The system learns how to identify potential tumours and recommend the right course of action to a doctor.

Certain Airlines use AI algorithms to construe customer data to provide customised services to its passenger’s right from check-in to baggage handling.

Or AI can maximise our use of clean, renewable energy to prevent any further damage on our ecosystem.

A Virtual chef, or creating a music album, or even bringing in sunshine on a cloudy foggy day, who can say, what all AI will make possible.

The question here is will society cope with an AI-driven reality where people are no longer needed or used in the work place? What will people do in a daily growing population with proportionately fewer jobs and no income?

From my simple-minded perspective, and very little knowledge on AI, I am trying to connect the dots about the future of the generations to come.

Will we be living in a world, where a machine may be able to handle the emotions, exude warmth and empathy or think and behave like humans do? Or are we creating a Frankenstein with AI?

Only time will tell!!!