In light of the high-tech and global economy of today, it seems as though personal creativity and innovation are buzz words to lift the quality of personal performance in business. With this in mind, the primary focus of this discussion is to analyze oneself as an online customer care agent in terms of business behavior, to determine the personal level of creativity. In review of the recommended text wise words were induced. Judy Estrin in “Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy” insists that “creativity and imagination” are drivers which are “indispensable aptitudes of the right brain,” but that even left-brain companies such as FedEx are well managed due to a visionary commitment (p. xi). This introduction furthermore acknowledges the use of additional research articles in conjunction with an exploration of various websites to aid in this analysis.
Several aspects are discussed. The following shall specifically be addressed: a) An assessment of my level of creativity, b) A determination of the role of creativity in my profession, c) An identification of two business situations in which innovative thinking might enhance solutions opportunities, d) One thing I need to do differently to foster innovative approaches in terms of a business strategy, and e) To identify 3 actions to pro-actively take to increase personal creativity as relative to my business acumen. Personal creativity and innovation must be embraced and implemented to deliver the best online customer service care possible. Although the preceding thesis may seem deceptively succinct and simple, innovation is not always easy and requires thinking outside the box. The first realistic task is to assess my creativity level.
Taking inventory of one's personal skills is the first step to measuring how much you must veer away from bad habits, and unproductive stale modes of acting to better outcomes in delivery of online customer care. I try to take personal responsibility for my actions, and not always wait for a supervisor or manager to point out possible steps in creativity to do something differently or better. For example, I try to consider the online environment in which I am delivering online customer service. If I am in a live chat then I like to be creative and responsive, in making a happy face or exclamation point to express a personal understanding of the customer's problem or concern. Sometimes, depending upon the individual a customer may feel the need to chat longer or seem to be open to clicking upon a helpful link I might provide. It just depends on the situation.
Another example of assessing my creativity level is if I actually need to speak to an online customer via telephone. Should there be a special need to step out of the online live chat environment and communicate with a customer by phone, I find I am willing to help him or her within the protocol of the company. I think I could be more creative if given the freedom to – for example – give a higher monetary number of coupons for future use if a customer has been experienced a mistake by fault of the organization. Damanpour and Schneider maintain the importance of “the relationship between innovation and manager characteristics and innovation adoption” (p. 496). If you think about it a subordinate needs the support of his or her manager despite a high level of personal creativity, or the willingness to attain or develop it.
Creativity in my role and profession as an online customer care administrator involves keeping the importance of my contribution to marketing in the world of e-commerce. In other words, creativity in my professional role in delivering online customer care may involve suggesting an additional product that might help the customer achieve a desired goal. In this way creativity is utilized by integration with marketing efforts that may result in a best outcome. For example, if I am helping an online customer via email in response to not having been able to download a purchased software, I may offer a free report and tell about an available paid newsletter with valuable information to help them. Dotzel, Shankar, and Berry in a peer-reviewed article in “Journal of Marketing Research” admit that as marketing and innovative creativity go together “e-innovativeness has a significantly positive net effect on firm value” (p. 260). Nowadays, it seems as though marketing and creativity in job performance of customer care online go together.
How can innovative activities and creativity provide greater solutions, mitigate roadblocks, and implement problem-solving in business? One way in the first place is to recognize the possibilities. The fact of the matter is that you have the responsibility and ability to use your mind in ways that go far beyond reacting in the same old humdrum ways you may have been accustomed to doing without thinking. Especially when it comes to finding better solutions and problem-solving, innovation and personal creativity are necessary. It is a matter of utilizing all the resources at your disposal, within the business environment. It all starts with actual business operations when dealing with and helping customers in the online service endeavor.
One example in business of how innovation or personal creativity leads to a solution might be as follows. Given that a customer has order a piece of software to be delivered physically to their home, but never received it and he is now getting in touch with online customer care and is very angry. To get to the best solution in this situation of an irate customer who never received his software disc in the mail, you offer for him to instantly download the digital version. In addition, it is appropriate to mail out a copy again. Part of creativity in this situation would go the extra mile – offer to send a couple of children's learning games free if he has a family – and this way, he knows you're paying attention and have given him a personal customized response. Sometimes you automatically think about creativity or innovative solutions to be huge, when really, it's the little details that can often make the difference.
For example, one crucial way in how innovation actions and applied personal creativity can lead to better solutions is by listening. Good listening skills, whether in a live chat online customer care situation or responding to a personal inquiry via email from a customer is a foundational key to success. If you don't hear what is truly going on or listen to what the customer's complaint is in the first place, the ball has been dropped in the beginning. It is common knowledge that Benjamin Franklin has been credited with stating that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Could this be truer in a business situation involving the use of innovation that leads to better solutions or opportunity achievement?
The bottom line presents an opportunity to act wherein the rubber meets the road. In other words, things must be done differently in terms of applying personal creativity to foster an innovative business strategy. Change is not always comfortable and resistance often occurs. In fact, depending upon the level and intensity of the change can be downright painful. However, in the global economic environment of today where change is part of rapid developments all over the world, you need to grow accustomed to and willing to engage in doing things differently in business. In spite of the emergence of the importance of social media, there is one amazingly creative reinvention of service as reported in a 2012 article in the “Harvard Business Review.” The story briefly told in the next paragraph can truly motivate in taking steps to foster innovations in business strategies for improvement.
The example occurs in the Cardiology department of the University of Virginia Health System (UVA) in which heart patients would normally see a doctor one-on-one for 30 minutes, but the change entailed a small group of patients in consultation – no more than say, a dozen. Here is how it worked. Obviously, patients had a private examination time first. Ramdas, Teisberg, and Tucker describe the “radical innovation in the delivery of preventive cardiac health care,” and that The Club Red members gather in conference rooms in a shared appointment (p. 100). The doctor may actually see 10+ patients in a limited span of time rather than the tradition 3 or 4 people separately. Ramdas et al., exclaim that patients seem to prefer the new innovative system as well, wherein “satisfaction is at about 98%” and “counterintuitively, Club Red members develop a stronger connection with the doctor,” as witnessing physician expertise and empathy in dealing with many patients (p. 100). It's a matter of not being afraid to re-think your model.
One radical thing to do differently in my online customer care environment might be to suggest to management or foster the innovative change of offering customer live chats to have audio voice or web camera options. Every customer may not like it, but for the blind or sight-impaired alternative choices may be a plus. The main point, in the end, is to implement actions to get personal creativity to actually be applied.
There probably are a myriad of pro-active steps that may be taken to increase my personal level of creativity and apply it to my business life. Herein however, are 3 actions to reduce confusion and counter-productivity while simultaneously raising the bar to better business practices. The first is to commit to and initiate better, more frequent, and honest communication with team members. The workforce is only as pleasant and effective as is the whole. If employees are grumbling because the Information Technology (IT) apparatus has too many glitches, is prone to online viruses, or otherwise makes their job harder instead of easier – this needs to be communicated and brought to the attention of all involved.
The second action to increase my personal creativity is to stay aware, by reading, attending seminars or supportive webinars to stay abreast of industry changes or advances in monitoring social media impacts as pertains especially to my business field. Many diverse businesses may use social media, but not all in the same way. I must use my personal creativity to stay on top of new Twitter developments and learn new skills if necessary. Stew Bloom, in a discussion of reinventing customer service with social media declares “the speed of customer response has also pushed companies to monitor social media 24/7.” The third action is to listen to customer suggestions and consider their input and perspective, and maybe create a “Tweet Retreat” online workshop for them for fun and as a way to better connect with current customers to drive word-of-mouth expansion.
In conclusion, personal creativity and innovation should definitely be embraced and implemented to deliver the best online customer service care possible. It matters little if the online customer service occurs via email response communication, or in a live chat in delivering customer service – one must be dedicated to creative change to improve business life. At the end of the day it's all about forming a win-win situation for profit, happiness, and sustainability.
Bloom, S. (2013, April 10). How social media is reinventing customer service – social media already changed how companies measure success. Now, it's changing how companies deal with failures. Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/3008072/how-social-media-reinventing-customer-service
Damanpour, F., & Schneider, M., (2009). Characteristics of innovation and innovation adoption in public organizations: Assessing the role of managers. Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, 19(3), 495-522. doi:10.1093/jopart/mun021
Dotzel, T., Shankar, V., & Berry, L. L. (2013). Service innovativeness and firm value. Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 50(2), 259-276.
Estrin, J. (2009). Closing the innovation gap: Reigniting the spark of creativity in a global economy. New York: McGraw-Hill.