Customer Service: Out With The Old…And In With The New


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Customers dream about personalized, contextual, proactive customer service experiences – where the experience delivered is tailored to their persona, their past purchase history, and their past customer service history. They want each interaction to add value and build upon prior ones so that they don’t have to repeat themselves and re-start the discovery process. They want to be able to choose the communication channel and device they use to interact with a service center. They want to start an interaction on one channel or device and move it seamlessly to another. Check out RightNow’s vision video that brings these points to life.

Most customer service organizations are still struggling with the basics – the hygiene factors in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – in meeting their customers’ expectations. There are benchmarking tools that you can use to figure out how well your organization is doing and to get actionable recommendations on how to do better. But, as you focus on the tactical improvements that you need to make this year, it’s important to keep tabs on the optimal experience that customers would like you to deliver to help share your long-term, future direction for customer service. Here’s my abbreviated personal list:

Out With The Old….

…And In With The New


Siloed customer service experience

Cross-touchpoint experiences: Blended sales, marketing and service experiences

Customers want to seamlessly move through all types of interactions with a company and receive the same engagement experience

Social CRM


Social channels are just another way that customers have to interact with companies. SLAs and customer experiences across social channels should be in-line with what is delivered across traditional channels

Multichannel communication

Agile communication

Customers do not want to be restricted to having conversations about an issue solely on a single communication channel

Single-mode communication

Multimodal communication

Customers want to be able to simultaneously engage with a service agent using more than a single channel – for example speaking to an agent on a mobile device while reading a service alert on the same device that the agent has just sent the customer

Curated knowledge

Social knowledge

Customers and agents need to be able to create and modify knowledge to ensure that it evolves in-line with customer demands

Basic customer profiles

Social profiles

Agents need a full view of the customer’s profile over traditional and social channels in order to effectively tailor the delivered service experience

Basic rules-driven offers

Real-time personalization via predictive analytics

Experiences must be custom-tailored in real time. Predictive analytics coupled with techniques to manage big data allow for this to happen

Customer service without BPM (or overly reliant on BPM)

Dynamic case management

Service experiences must be standardized with the help of BPM technologies, but must be agile enough to handle exceptions

On-premise deployments

Cloud deployments. Better yet, agile deployments that can be easily migrated between on-premise and in the cloud

Why should you be responsible for the maintenance of vendor software?

Average speed of answer metrics

First closure resolution metrics

Customer satisfaction is more important than getting the customer off the phone quickly

Disengaged agents

Engaged and Empowered agents

Agents must be empowered to do the right thing for the customer within the process guardrails without being penalized

Heavily structured, tiered support models

Swarming models

Swarming brings the right skillsets together to resolve quickly customer issues

Customer service organization as a cost-center

Customer service as a strategic differentiator for a company, and a revenue center

Good customer service is good for business. It increases cross-sells, upsells, recommendations and brand loyalty

Thoughts? Comments?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Leggett
Kate serves Business Process Professionals. She is a leading expert on customer service strategies. Her research focuses on helping organizations establish and validate customer service strategies strategies, prioritize and focus customer service projects, facilitate customer service vendor selection, and plan for project success.


  1. Actually, I think that what you’ve written is where you, and perhaps a lot of the major companies messing in the customer service space WANT it to go, because there’s “gold in them there hills”. Whether it IS going there is debatable, despite efforts to push, cajol and cram this stuff into corporate America.

    I have to be really hesitant about situations which include “references” that can only be read if one pays a hunk of money to read the reports.

    It cheapens the message, me thinks, but I’ve written elsewhere on CustomerThink about the really bad research published by companies that have a vested interest in the research findings coming out a certain way.


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