Customer Service in the Enhanced Contact Center
- by Wedge Greene & Barbara Lancaster
In the old days telecommunications service providers developed systems that deliberately separated the “talk with customers” and the “act on customer requests” worlds. For example, customer service representatives were the face of the company for all customers, handling calls ranging from “where can I buy used telephone poles?” to “my phone is not working” and everything in between. This kept customers isolated from the groups who would install service, fix troubles, send out invoices, and so on. While the single point of concept approach made it easy for customers to contact the company, it meant that few employees were closely connected to customers.
Today, corporations see the need for increased corporate/client cohesion; and getting closer to customers is considered a good thing. At the same time, customer self service is seen as the best way of driving down costs and satisfying customers who often like to take control of their own service requests. How best to balance the competing needs of low cost, high quality customer relationship management has created significant new markets for vendors of hardware, software, tools and customer service methodologies. Specifically, integrating Call Centers and CRM tools in a collaborative framework is a strong asset to implementing Customer Lifecycle Management.
Part 1 of a 3 part series on Customer Lifecycle Management: Service and the Reintegration of the Contact Center, OSS and business lines in Telecom. [See also part 2: ‘Tit-for-Tat: Meeting Customer Expectations’]