Great collection of predictions curated by Peppers & Rogers on key trends that will alter the customer strategy landscape this year. They queried on which customer strategy trend would make the biggest impact in 2011 in four specific areas: customer service, mobile, multichannel marketing, social media, and voice of the customer.
"We will see a growing number of e-businesses contacting customers through social networks to proactively detect and resolve customer service issues. We have [already] seen some leading companies achieve service and brand success with online support communities. These companies tested the waters and we can expect to see a growing number of companies jump in during the next year, so look for an increase in peer-to-peer support." – Diane Clarkson, Analyst Serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals, Forrester Research
"I see 2011 as the year of mobility and immediacy. No matter what channel a customer wishes to communicate across—whether it be email, SMS, voice, social, chat, or a smoke signal—companies must be ready to support these multiple and mobile channels with the service levels expected by consumers today…and be personalized. Companies must know their customers and understand how to communicate with them in a way that is beneficial and meaningful to both parties." -- Mary Cook, Director of Contact Center Solutions, Varolii
"As companies are all trying to figure out what to do with social media and how to capture its power, the call center will be well positioned in 2011 to help them with three fundamental things that we've all become accustomed to: listening to customers, monitoring the conversation around the company, and taking the next step to engage customers in an intelligent way…. Social Media is like word of mouth on steroids. Ignored or wrongly handled, and a consumer's opinions online can whizz around the globe in seconds damaging a company's brand and even market share. Businesses will require more tools, more expertise, and more engagement into capturing every customer word online." – Joe Doyle, Marketing Director EMA, Sitel
"I don't think anyone can ignore the fact that social media will play an increasingly important role for any marketing or customer care program in 2011. Social media has become another highly trafficked marketing channel, and organizations will continue to align systems and strategies to affect better customer engagement through it. As with call centers, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook present marketers with the opportunity to personally engage with their customers. However, it's crucial that as organizations integrate social CRM across their channels their marketing messages remain highly targeted and tailored to each customer. —Mark Smith, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Portrait Software
"Customers are now reaching out to companies through many channels and even multiple social media sites. In 2011 businesses will need to enable a multichannel social media approach for customer service if they're going to actively reach and engage in conversations with all of their customers. By being active on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, and elsewhere, retailers can interact with and engage shoppers in ways not possible just several years ago. Social customer service is also replacing the comment card; consumers who use social media express honest opinions about what they like and don't like, and businesses need to take these comments seriously, especially because of the viral nature of social media sites. Doing it right when it comes to social media will increasingly mean getting customer service and call center teams to help." – Duke Chung, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Parature
"A lot of people will be talking about experiences they had via mobile. By next year…there will be a lot of dynamics and challenges and there will be far more people transacting on their mobile devices. The question is, 'How do you support them?' The agents will have to say, 'What version of phone are you on?' 'Are you on 3G or not?' Are you on Wi-Fi?' There are a lot of things adding into layers of complexity, making it hard to get their arms around.
– Geoff Galat, Vice President, World Wide Marketing, Tealeaf
"What we may see is the blending of the role between traditional service and sales…. Another factor at work is the increasing use of text-based interaction over voice. In a customer service setting, there are clear advantages in the customer service agent interacting with multiple channels simultaneously." – Steve Castro-Miller, CEO, Bold Software
"Customer service will become a valuable moment of truth. As more companies do customer journey mapping, they will realize that customer service has a disproportionate impact on customer perception and loyalty. Companies will begin optimizing customer service interactions to build long-term loyalty, no longer obsessing about squeezing 50 cents out of the cost of a call. Say goodbye to average handle time as the key metric." – Bruce Temkin, Customer Experience Transformist and Managing Partner, The Temkin Group
"There will be an increase in proactive customer service in 2011. Proactive chat and click-to-call have been associated primarily with sales objectives, but e-business leaders will increasingly explore proactive live help technologies to assist with customers with service issues."
– Diane Clarkson, Analyst Serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals, Forrester Research
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"In 2011 customer service will start to be recognized as a critical part of the customer experience ecosystem. Executives will stop treating customer service as a cost center and will instead leverage it as a high-touch loyalty driver and, wherever possible, a revenue generator. We'll also see customer service employees gain stature in organizations as a resource for prized customer insights." – Kerry Bodine. Vice President, Principal Analyst, Serving Customer Experience Professionals, Forrester Research