Natalie L. Petouhoff, Ph.D. By Dr. Natalie Petouhoff

From my inquiries with customer service professionals, I wanted to get a generalized view of where companies are with respect to implementing the very best of customer service initiatives. It's become pretty clear that most are stuggling with outdated technology, systems that are not integrated together, outdated or no knowledge management technology systems, they haven't deployed proactive chat or ventured down the social media path and are unsure of how to document how much these factors are increasing operational costs, reducing customer lifetime value and lowering sales, revenue and profit margins– or how to make the business case to show that if these types of things were changed– that the return would be positive and in many cases, very large.

On the flip side, their organizations are expecting them to provide great customer experience despite these huge handicaps.

Time for a Change! Seems like something has to give. Doing things the same way and expecting different results is the definition of insanity! The question in my mind was how to collect this information I was finding in the inquiries. "How can I help to bridge the gap between what companies must do to provide great customer experiences and where organizations are at?"

Customer Servive and CRM FastForward Innovation Frameworks. Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Bill Band created the FastForward Framework for CRM. It seemed one of the best ways to document what we were hearing is to take Customer Service, as a subset of CRM, and ask specific questions that focused on the multi-disciplinary requirement to set customer service up for success. So we created the Customer Service Innovation Framework.

What Can You Do? Take the Customer Service Innovation Surveys! We want you to know that at Forrester, your opinion counts! And your voice will be heard! Not only will you be one of the first to see the results of the survey, but Elisse Gaynor (who covers Customer Service – Field Service) and who has been invaluable in making the survey available to you, will provide you with some extra goodies for participating!

It's our way of thanking you for helping us document and prove to executives what must be done to advance and innovate one of the most important departments in any company- Customer Service… i.e., the department that is the MOST customer-facing groups of all departments…

How Do You Do That?  It only take 10 minutes. This is the first of five surveys. We need you to participate in all 5. Each survey is on a specific aspect of customer service and in total they provide the whole picture required to innovate companies and their customer relationships.

Log on here: Contact Center Agent and Staff Leadership Survey– Take it Now!