ServiceChat is Live.

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I’m delighted to announce that I have now released the first public version of ServiceChat – the startup I am building to help businesses delight their customers with improved engagement. I say public, but I actually mean beta (which is public too).

What is ServiceChat?

The older I get, the lower my tolerance for terrible customer service. I don’t have this ‘everything must work perfectly’ BS mentiality.  Life teaches us that things might be perfect some of the time, but not even nearly all the time. My experience teaches me that for those numerous times when it doesn’t it is the strength of relationships that make resolution emotionally possible. And conversation is the cornerstone of relationships. Conversations between people.  Businesses are made of people, customers are people.  For years the transaction of business has masked the need for people to keep conversing.  Great customer service begins with being willing to have the conversation, making the offer and then actually having a conversation.

ServiceChat is the first tool I am working on towards the vision of disrupting what Customer Service has become – transactional, defensive and dehumanised.  More on this vision later – but for now let me say we live in an age that Customer Service is outdated. It is time for Customer Delight, that taps into the passion and art that is at the essence of being human.

While I can’t currently help the ‘willingness’ part of great customer service.  I can encourage it by writing about and celebrating businesses that demonstrate a willingness to engage in conversation with the people who are their customers.  But I cannot make anyone be willing to do anything.

ServiceChat is an attempt to provide a means to make both the offer and to actually have the conversation – without technology getting the way.  My video explains this better:

What Next

Now begins the real work – learning how my customers want to make the offer, how they want to have the conversations and what they want to do next. It is my privilege to help them.

I will be working to create content (I have some ideas on helping great unsung businesses share their passion with the world) that will inspire, inform and celebrate customer delight.

As my early adopter customers increasingly use ServiceChat, I will be learning, tweaking, inventing, re-inventing and supporting them to have the most delightful experiences with their customers as possible.

I Need Your Help

I cannot do this alone.
If you have a great customer experience – let me know. Let us share it and inspire the world.
If you know a business that loves and delights it’s customers, treats them with respect and dignity, has conversations – introduce us.
If you have a terrible , uninspired or downright rotten customer experience – suggest they have a conversation with you on ServiceChat – I will offer them 3 months free and work with them to explore how they can improve (I am after all a coach!).
If they say ‘Yes’, I can guarantee huge improvements!
Please help me tell companies you know well, to check ServiceChat out. It is desperately important that as many people as possible know that there is a different way.

Agile coach as recogniser of courage

An Audience for Courage

At my current client, we have a weekly Scrum Master Community of Practice meetup. This week on the agenda was an experience report proposed as the results of an experiment. So far, so good. I was sold on it – anything with experiment that didn’t involve animals and/or genitals was fine by me.

Anyway this Scrum Master tells a story that to me sounded like exercise in complicating the simple, he highlighted many deeply dysfunctional practices that exist in his team. No reviews to speak of, month long sprints, hardly any retros etc.

The assembled community members were stunned at some of the things he shared. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the entire thing.

I caught up with some of the members later and overwhelmingly they all said it was a tremendously courageous thing to do. To bare one’s dysfunctions to an audience one hardly knows (the community is young and memberships has not stabilised).

Agile Coaches recognise and acknowledge courage.

So today, I went to this SM and told him how much I appreciated the risk he took and that he demonstrated immense trust and openness to his peers in sharing his experience and seeking help. He was taken aback, I don’t think he expected anyone to do this. His reply convinced me that despite the monstrosity of mega-corporations, there are individuals who will rise above the pettiness of self-interest, take risks to build trust and grow sustainable communities.

He said ‘we have to start somewhere, so why not with me?

In many organisations, we have institutionalised what we recognise. In rewarding delivery competence, we have undervalued learning and the relationships that foster community. We have made it harder for people to be courageous and to take risks to help their teams, communities and companies grow (and I mean knowledge and goodness growth, not merely financial!).

Coaches need to be good observers of courage and be explicit in their recognition of it (if not publicly, at least privately to the individual concerned).

So I challenge you to look around your team or work colleagues and seek out the examples of courage amongst your colleagues and celebrate them in whichever way makes sense to the person. What would your organisation look like if you did this?