Web 2.0 and Customer Service: Consolidating Channels Into a Single Experience

The economy and Web 2.0 has brought an increasing focus on what industry pundits refer to as CEM (customer experience management), or in short, the customer experience. Web 2.0 in particular has created a wealth of opportunities in this area, with new communication channels such as chat, SMS, Web self-service and knowledge bases, etc.

But it seems whenever you add new channels to a CRM process you add complexities, and it seems businesses are struggling with fostering and tying all these new channels into that seamless experience that the customer can pick up on. I think the contact center industry in general is trending towards the delivery of these channels in a more service-oriented approach.

Breaking down the silos has always been and will continue to remain a key driver of industry software and best practices. Web services, standards-based software, and open source seems to be taking the lead in tackling a lot of these issues, but on the flipside the economy isn’t leaving businesses with a whole lot of cash to pursue these interests.

For the short term future, I think businesses remain in a Catch-22 situation: the economy demands that customer retention and experience is a priority…and thus consolidating these channels into a single experience…while lack of revenue and profits doesn’t leave the financial vehicle by which to accomplish these goals.

One thought on “Web 2.0 and Customer Service: Consolidating Channels Into a Single Experience

  1. I agree that many organizations seem to be facing the dilemma you outline – how to put in place a modern, service based architecture to deliver the flexibility and re-use they need when the financial constraints are all focused on rapid payback. Bringing new channels (including “Web2.0” capabilities) into the contact center is no exception, with perceived risks increased by the fact that many new channels on the web are at an early, experimental stage, so heavy investment in integration might not have long enough to pay back.

    One answer is to employ enterprise mashups to “weave” these new capabilities into the contact centre and its processes, combining them with more established, slow-moving applications. A common approach is to use them to extend CRM applications – whether modern such as Sugar, Siebel or Salesforce – or legacy / home grown applications, achieving “integration without customization” by extending the UI and user workflow of the application. The attraction is that the business results are achieved rapidly, and the accountants are kept happy by rapid payback while the “mashables” created provide re-usable service based components that move the organization towards a new architecture, and business applications can remain more “vanilla”.

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