Customer service has evolved from a reactive activity viewed largely as a cost center-based tactical necessity, to a proactive management task that can in many ways set a company apart from the competition.
At the same time, the channels by which customers receive support are growing and fragmenting very rapidly. The telephone is still the primary mode of support, but is steadily declining as text, social media, chat, knowledge bases, email and online communities provide new avenues for customers to get the help they need.
Some organizations are embracing this evolution by implementing technologies that enable them to interact with customers regardless of the channel or the device they’re using. This approach not only improves customer service, but also boosts the brand image and helps companies achieve broader business goals.
Simply put, great products are not nearly enough to maintain a competitive edge. In a September 2012 guest column in The Wall Street Journal, Forrester Research analysts wrote that, in the age of the customer, “past sources of competitive advantage have been commoditized … in this age the only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled disruption: an obsession with customer experience.”