What's Driving Change in Customer Services?

The most significant developments to date have been on the organization’s end. Examples in contact centers: The invention of 800 number (toll free) service and ACD routing systems in the late 1960s and early 1970s; the introduction of workforce management capabilities and computer telephony integration in the 1980s; web browsers and Internet-based services in the 1990s; and more recently, the amazing developments in multimedia, cloud-based capabilities, analytics and so much more.

However… we are now seeing a major and fundamental shift. For the first time, developments on the customers’ end – the meteoric rise of smart phones, social media, broadband and mobility – are the most significant factors driving customer expectations and services. Given what is happening, I’m convinced we’ll see more change in the next five years than we’ve seen in the past two decades. We can harness and leverage the trends to our benefit, or we can get tumbled by them. We’re entering the new era of customer relationships.

(From the introduction to the new edition of Call Center Management on Fast Forward: Succeeding in the New Era of Customer Relationships, due out May 7, 2012.)