We know that customers don’t choose to interact with you on a single communication channel from start to finish. They interact with you on whatever the most suitable channel for them at that point in time is — which could be via their mobile device, a chat session, a phone call, email, or web self-service from their iPad. This agile behavior is not limited to customer service; it extends to everything that we do, from buying to receiving marketing offers to getting service. Saying this another way, customers don’t make a distinction between a sales transaction and a customer service transaction. All they expect is to be able to receive the same customer experience every time they interact with a company, over any communication channel that they use. This point is very well illustrated in fellow Forrester analyst Brian Walker's report “Welcome To The Age Of Agile Commerce.”
More than that, customers expect personalized service targeted to their situation at hand. Customers expect you to know who they are, what products and services they have purchased, what issues they have had, over what channels they have used to contact you in the past, and what offers they have been presented with and either accepted or rejected. In addition, they would like to know whether you have read and responded to the feedback that they have given you.
With other enterprise players such as IBM, Oracle, hybris, eBay and others at the table betting heavy on commerce solutions, Microsoft announced today that it is folding Commerce Server and leaving its shrinking pile of chips behind. While others have invested heavily through acquisitions, product investment, partner recruiting, and have been increasing their focus on commerce, Microsoft will walk away and hand over the product to a third party –Ascentium. Oh how much the game has changed; in 1999 Microsoft was the one with the tall chips.
Ascentium, a Bellevue, WA based digital agency and commerce services provider, will be taking over all the intellectual property rights, future product development, marketing, and support of Commerce Server from Microsoft.
What it means for Microsoft Commerce Server clients: