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Posted by Diane Clarkson on January 10, 2011
Customer service has traditionally been defined as the interaction between a customer and a company — either its employees or its online channels — to obtain information or resolve an issue before, during, or after a purchase.
As we enter 2011, I’ve been thinking about how the definition of customer service has been changing. There are three forces that I think are challenging our traditional definition:
This is fundamentally changing organizations’ perceptions of customer service. Customer service was once viewed as an operational function, a cost center composed primarily of telephone reps. For the most part, marketing didn’t want to own customer service. In my experience, we marketers just wanted customer service to work, to be the voice on the other end of the 1-800 numbers we put on brochures.
Today, customer service requires collaboration among marketing, public relations, IT, eBusiness, sales, product development, and legal/governance. 2010 marked the first time I’ve heard people embark on a turf war about who owns customer service.
But while the definition of customer service may be evolving, its goals haven’t changed: customer satisfaction, supporting sales, driving loyalty, and enhancing brand favorability. I'm looking forward to writing about how online customer service can support these goals in 2011.