Monday, May 2, 2011

Life Span of Innovation

Since its launch in India, the telecom player TataDoCoMo has been a Market changer. The launch was bundled with the 1 Paisa/second tariff which changed the market dynamics by forcing all the Telecom players to match the tariff and thus start a price war. And now it has come up with another bunch of services. An ad of one such service gave the food for thought and the result is this post. The ad talks about talking to customer care directly instead of going through the various menu options.
Nope. I am not going to discuss the ad or the services offered by TataDoCoMo. No that's not the motive of this post. I am more interested in the idea behind this particular ad.
But if you ask a veteran who has been in the Customer service industry for more than a decade or so would say its the same old thing we used to have. Yeah, when the concept of call centre initially came up, the long tree structure of options was not there. But as the customer base grew, the number of calls landing up on the call centre grew and each call costs money. So the race started to find the ways to reduce the call traffic at the call centre.
The solution was to have automated system that could solve the very common queries of the customer. And if still needed, let the call pass on to a customer care agent. The automated system is called IVR ( Interactive Voice Response)
Awesome…that's what the industry shouted and everybody has some or other form of IVR in place. This system was one of the finest innovations which could reduce cost, solve customer queries in less time. It was a brilliant piece of technology.
But with time, the services increased and so the options in the IVR system. I have myself experienced the complex menus when calling Bank and Credit card support. At times you get lost. And the option to talk to somebody human is buried deep down somewhere.
This particular telco player is trying to make the customer care agent easily accessible by going back to the good old days.
The point I am trying to make is like everything else, innovation also starts to die as soon as its live. Its lifespan is further decreased if its caught by the disease which has the symptoms of being totally different from what it was meant to be. People tend to overdo the innovative idea and so it loses it charm. An example of this is the usage of Banner ads on websites. Over the period of time, the effectiveness has decreased significantly. Thanks to the overdose of distracting and irritating banners from desperate advertisers.
So does it mean that there is no point in being innovative, supporting innovation. Absolutely no, rather I want to emphasize and reiterate that Innovation is an on-going process and one has to be innovative all the time throughout the time. Isn't it in sync with the old saying “Change is the only thing constant”

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