Monthly Archives: June 2017

In my earlier posts, I barely scratched the surface of chatbot revolution in customer service. There are ultimately various reasons why chatbots have become to dominate the discussion on the future of customer service, and why engaging the revolution of conversational user interfaces is so important. Customer service, per definition, requires one to assume a generalist role in the organizational matrix, i.e. it’s not just about receiving inputs and generating outputs based on logically construed rules but rather it requires one to be able to offer service (not a service). It’s no wonder that customer service roles are often perceived as stressful, and of course, different client-facing service positions require a different set of personal and organizational measures to prevent excess stress (Sidle 2004; St-Vincent, Denis, Imbeau & Trudeau 2006; Julian 2008). As a 2005 study published by British scientists points out, “Of the 26 occupations included in the research, … customer services…

Read more

There are certain things you learn the first day at business school: all firms compete at some level with each other for revenues and to outperform their competitors, companies need to have a competitive advantage (and sure, there are various forms of coopetition). In today’s fluid, dynamic and highly uncertain competitive environment, businesses constantly need to prop up their game to keep up with the sudden changes we are now witnessing. The fundamental question, after all, in strategic management, is not why competitive advantage is so crucial but instead how to gain and sustain competitive advantage over time (Helfat et al. 2007; Teece 2009). Competitive advantage takes various forms, but something that has been stressed over and over again in the academic literature is the paramount importance of continuous innovation to achieve sustainable competitive advantage (Lengnick-Hall 1992; Lord, deBethizy & Wager 2005; Afuah 2009; Betz 2011; Dereli 2011; Weerawardena & Mavondo 2011; Pisano 2015). The wisdom of this maxim…

Read more

It’s not particularly uncommon to come across organizations, businesses, and people who still implicitly perceive customer support and customer service as something not really worth investing in. Just a couple of days ago, I faced a problem with a Nordic low-cost airline carrier that has almost every year won several prizes and other forms of recognition. My problem was that I was unable to change my password on their website; I followed the instructions to reset my email, and after I couldn’t do this by myself, I decided to give them a call to get it done. I didn’t have to wait a long time to talk with an agent, but then the problems started. The agent was unable to retrieve my information, and I had to spell my name out in various ways. I don’t consider myself as fluent as a native English speaker, but I always get things…

Read more

Mikko Leskelä recently asked for some recommendations on books, articles and other (digital) resources that cover design thinking and business anthropology. While I think that it’s actually much more important to get things going rather than just reading and studying them, I have to admit that the complexity of design thinking can be quite overwhelming for most of us. There is no reason to overanalyze design thinking (or business anthropology), but at the same time, things should not be done on the fly, instinctively without giving any rational thought on the things you really want to accomplish. Design thinking, thanks to the fluidity of the design itself, is not a carved in stone by anyone, and therefore it’s important for everyone to expose oneself to a wide variety of perspectives. Design and innovation companies, like Fjord (acquired by Accenture in 2013), Lunar (acquired by McKinsey & Co in 2015), Heat (acquired by…

Read more

It’s well-known that retail payments, accounting, e-commerce solutions, merchant acquiring and retail lending are the most well-developed and quickly matured segments of the fintech industry, both regarding executed deals, the number of investments, and compound annual growth rate (see Tanaya Macheel’s post on fintech funding). This should not be very surprising as there are still various low-hanging fruits ready to be grabbed by innovative new entrants. It's important to have a plan for #fintechs. Growth is coming from #insurtech & #assetmanagement. Don't forget #regtech #finnishfintechtalks pic.twitter.com/rMDblb82UV — Thomas Brand (@thlbr) May 4, 2017 We are still waiting for similar momentum to gather pace in coming years in multiple other parts of the financial services ecosystem, e.g. corporate finance, corporate payments, SME lending and asset finance, and insurance. It’s true that from the perspective of basic banking products and services, financing and credit have already been hit hard by the fintechs on all fronts by alternative finance…

Read more

5/5