What changes will customer support see in 2009? Vote now!
Welcome to 2009! As my first post of the year, I wanted to take a poll to see what you think will impact customer service/tech support the most this year.
I think the top change drivers will be:
- The economy. The first question members and partners ask me now is how I think our industry will be impacted by the recession. I’m trying to be optimistic that the mood of the country will change when we purge the White House and seat a new president this month. With interest rates dropping, gas prices down, and a new president who can speak in complete sentences, the recession may be over sooner than expected. If so, the long-term impact to our industry will be minimal. If not, cost cutting could force some innovation this year–think new approaches to staffing, changes to entitlements, push toward more embedded support, etc.
- Web 2.0. In 2007 and 2008 there was huge spending on internal and external community technology, and early adopters are seeing some great results (call/incident deflection, more engaged customers). My favorite success story of 2008 was Linksys ending email support and successfully migrating the majority of interactions to the forum. As more communities are launched, and existing communities grow, 2009 may be the year we see real ROI for community technology. I’ll definitely be sharing those case studies as I find them. Note we added a new Star Award category for Spring, Best Online Community. I look forward to reading those applications!
- Green initiatives. Maybe you are going green because of executive or shareholder pressure. Or maybe it is just about saving money. Either way, more companies are launching green initiatives with real impacts to support policies and processes. Expect to see more emphasis on remote monitoring, diagnostics and resolution for tech support, field service and professional services in 2009. Additionally, with remote or at-home agents seen as a way to cut operating expenses and increase the talent pool, some long-held ideas about support (training, monitoring, coaching) will be forced to change.
- Generation Y. You may be tired of this topic, but I still see big impacts coming to our industry from Generation Y. These folks, aged approximately 21-31, now represent all new support employees and increasingly the target customer for your technology. If you haven’t spent time understanding how big an impact this has on employee relations and product requirements, please checkout some of the excellent resources on the topic. Gen Y will force US tech companies to rethink almost every current process, policy and stated product direction in the years to come.
Please take a moment and respond to the poll, so I understand what you think the biggest driver for change will be! Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts on blog topics for 2009, please add a comment or shoot me an email.