I attended ServiceNow’s Knowledge18 conference, held in Las Vegas on May 7–10. It’s a well-attended conference, by 18,000 people who use one or more of the company’s cloud service management, HR, security, and customer service products, which are all built on an enterprise-grade platform.
At the conference, there was a lot of emotion spent talking about ServiceNow’s rebranding and the importance that the company places on differentiated employee experiences. The execs talked about how, in a world of automation and AI, people are the future of work. Employees spend a third of their lives at work, and work experiences should matter.
What interested me more than the rebranding exercise was ServiceNow’s take on customer service. This company launched a new customer service product in 2016 into a crowded market — competing at the enterprise level with the likes of Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Pega, Verint, and others. These vendors all offer mature solutions that have been battle-tested by customers for years, and ServiceNow has a ways to catch up.
However, unlike its competitors, ServiceNow takes a different approach to customer service. It says that customer service is not only about differentiated engagement; customer service is about finding and fixing the issue, too. It’s the full life cycle, from having a customer report a problem, to collaborating with other departments like engineering and QA, to actually fixing the problem. The full life cycle also includes steps to communicate to the customer the time to fix, issue the fix, and then go a step further to proactively fix the issue for other affected customers. It also includes using the knowledge of product issues reported by customers to improve product quality and evolve products in line with customer demand.
This isn’t a message for every industry; however, for products-based industries such as consumer electronics or high tech, it really makes sense. These industries also need the usual trappings of customer solutions: omnichannel engagement, knowledge management for agents and for self-service, chatbots, automation, workflow, and more — the foundational components of classic customer service solutions.
This message and positioning is a novel take on being customer-centric, and I enjoyed seeing how this new product is being appreciated by the customers who use it today.