ServiceNow CIO argues against use of CRM as a tool to support customer needs

ServiceNow Proactive Customer Service Operations
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Customer relationship management applications are failing to help enterprises deliver the kinds of experiences customers want and need, the chief information officer of ServiceNow told a local Canadian user conference on Tuesday.

In a keynote presentation that focused on ServiceNow’s recently-introduced mobile app and the “New York” release of its flagship suite, Chris Bedi said the CRM tools most commonly associated with B2B sales teams are often being force-fit to deal with support issues. This, he told the audience of IT and business professionals, does not allow for “a linear path” to customers.

“CRM is not enough. The right customer service experiences drive brand loyalty, retention and growth, and CRMs do not do that,” Bedi said. “You call into an agent, they can’t solve the issue, they record your case (in CRM). It’s reactive.”

There are often line-of-business coworkers a service agent could turn to, Bedi said, including field service or even finance department team members, who could probably help customers in these cases. With no way to connect to those kinds of people easily, however, companies aren’t able to make greater strides towards self-service or anticipating customer needs, Bedi added.

In response, ServiceNow is releasing Proactive Customer Service Operations, a portal-based tool that will track service issues, notify customers and empower those in operational roles to create cases. Unlike a lot of enterprise-oriented tools, Bedi said the product will be available through app stores so that those outside of IT can try it out.

“I want you to take this back to your customer service department and show them there’s a better way,” Bedi told the audience. “They just don’t know, and we need to bring them together.”

ServiceNow is attempting to bring a similarly strong experience internally with employees through its mobile app, Now Mobile, which was demonstrated onstage. Team members can use it to book conference rooms by swiping from a list of what’s available, for instance, and notify facilities management teams of problems with projectors or lightening by tagging common issues. Other options include taking a picture of a broken laptop with a smartphone and generating a ticket request with IT, where the ServiceNow app automatically gathers things like system information.

Customers at the event included consulting firm Deloitte, whose CIO for the Americas Stephen Mansfield joined Bedi onstage. According to Mansfield, 65 per cent of support tickets at Deloitte are now handled through ServiceNow, while call volumes have dropped “almost to zero” because employees are using a chatbot to handle the most common troubleshooting issues on their own.

“They are mobile-first, that’s what they expect,” Mansfield said, referring to the influx of Millennials and Gen Z workers Deloitte has been hiring. “One of our strategies is to enable everything in business through technology. We need to automate everything we’re doing because when we digitize the workflow, we’re in a better position to be driving the value.”

ServiceNow has also been extending its integrations into common martech tools including Microsoft Dynamics as well as Marketo. Bedi said a newer area of interest within the enterprise is finance, where ServiceNow is able to reduce the time it takes to close the books by a day and a half. The company is working on other capabilities that will be offered to CFOs and their teams, he added.

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Shane Schick
Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.