Shaw Communications Plan To Dump Staff & Direct Customers Towards Self Serve Channels Is A Mistake

The news is hitting the wires Shaw Communications is offering approximately 6500 Shaw and Freedom Mobile staff buyouts. The buyouts will begin to be offered tomorrow and staff will have until ironically Valentines Day to decide if they will take the buyout. The logic behind these buyouts is this according to Shaw:

“Customers want their services from Shaw to be just like everything else in their life – delivered quickly, reliably, and on their terms,” said Jay Mehr, President, Shaw Communications. “But as good as our customer service and operations are today, we see that we have to make some significant changes to serve customers the way they expect to be served in 2018 and beyond.”

The multi-year initiative is designed to make Shaw a company that can execute quicker, function more efficiently, and connect Canadians to the world around them better than ever before. This program will seek to refocus Shaw’s operations towards providing service more easily through highly capable online and smartphone apps and more self-installed services.

“Our agents in contact centres and our technicians will still be able to deal with more complex questions and situations, but we are committed to listening better to our customers and changing our operating model to better suit their preferences for service when they want and how they want it,” Mr. Mehr said.

So, let’s recap. Shaw is going to cut 6500 jobs and funnel customers to self serve channels because they think it will create a better customer experience and that it’s want customers want.

Uh. No it’s not.

What people actually want is to speak to an actual human being who is effective at listening to their concerns and addressing them. A Facebook bot isn’t going to be able to do that. And an app will only be able to deal with the simplest of issues. Plus no self serve option will be able to do the following:

  • Gather intelligence from customers that can be acted upon quickly: Thus the only time someone who has invested in a self serve channel finds out they have a problem is when it hits CNN.
  • Gives the company a voice that can be branded: Live humans give a company personality. That personality helps them to set themselves apart from the competition. Take that away and replace it with apps and bots and you’ll get a company that people feel is soulless and doesn’t care about its customers.
  • Makes the company easier to deal with: Customers want to hit the easy button. Humans are the easy button. Bots and the like frustrate customers and make it hard for customers to interact with a company. That in turn will send customers to the competition who make it easy for them.

I’m going to call this now. Shaw will cull these 6500 people, roll out their apps, bots and whatever else they plan to, and within 2 years they’ll be binge hiring those 6500 people back because the blowback from going to a self serve model will be epic. I wish Shaw all the luck in the world, because based on what I see here, they’re going to need it.

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