We often hear that Product is King in many organisations, but the reality is it is simply part of the wider reason people buy. I used to present at keynotes to talk about the value of Customer Service, and my point a decade ago is still valid, only now its far wider; “Customer Service is pretty boring; it is rarely the reason you will buy; but it is usually the reason you stay”. This is no longer just a Customer Service pitch, but it’s becoming more and more relevant across wider aspects in a world everyone wants ‘as a service’.
As consumers we want things to be easy, simple, consumable and most importantly we don’t want to waste time doing the boring bit. I have worked in Cloud computing for as long as I care to remember, and while it was initially about our ability to drive down costs and provide flexibility even in the early days at Microsoft running BPOS (the foundation for o365), most customers saw the value in not needing to manage the infrastructure and the low value activities. Organisations that I cant mention even if ‘The Holidays Are Coming’ used BPOS to manage their delivery network, and by giving this to Microsoft their teams could focus on driving value in to the supply chain and applications across the business instead of the availability of core Infrastructure.
Over the years Customers have demanded more and more from the service we provide at UKCloud and it is important that we, as Customer Advocates continue to listen. It is important for Service industries to think more and more about the things we wrap around our product to make it easy to use and to remove the effort from our customers. In essence we want to create a friction free environment. When I started in IT we would often talk about the low value services that were outsourced as items like Pay Roll which ultimately you had to have but typically no one wanted to invest time and money in doing. It was easier to pay someone else to manage it for you so you could focus on what was important. Nowadays services like email, CRM tools, service management and high value applications are the new pay roll.
The challenge is how do you make it easy for a customer when everyone around you has an opinion on what it should look like and has been running these services themselves for many many years. You are in essence asking the Customer to give up control of things they know so they can focus on the crown jewels. This has meant a need for many of our customers to adapt frameworks like ITIL away from control and more on to service and supplier management and this is a difficult transition. Ultimately customers no longer have the ability to veto change or put in a freeze, and large hyperscale providers will not listen to a customer demand for a change to be stopped (assuming they will even tell you).
At UKCloud we are continuing to adapt our service to try to provide something which our Customers can use and gives them a level of control while still taking away the low value add work. We are continuing to adapt through offerings like ‘Monitoring as a Service’ and ‘Managed VM’ as well as investing in our Support Organisation through both AI and actual people. We want to provide scale that works but doesn’t lose the thing that Customers ultimately will always want… a person who loves, trusts, believes and ultimately knows you and what it means to be a customer. We are on a mission to ensure we are not the faceless side of Cloud Computing but stand up front and centre as a company that truly cares about our Customers and invests in ensuring we can help remove the boring bit, while still giving our Customers an element of control and a person who cares when things aren’t going to plan.