In a newly published report called “Welcome To The Era Of Agile Commerce,” my colleague Brian Walker asserts that multichannel is dead and we are shifting into a metamorphosis called agile commerce. Forrester defines agile commerce as:

An approach to commerce that enables businesses to optimize their people, processes, and technology to serve customers across all touchpoints.”

Brian writes, “Today's multichannel organizational approaches do not reflect the new reality of engaging and serving the customer across touchpoints — from online search to affiliates to marketplaces to branches and stores to websites to mobile sites to call centers to Facebook.”

Agile customer service is the only way forward in a world of agile commerce.

Agile customer service requires fundamentally re-evaluating how customers are engaged and assisted across a growing number of touchpoints. Customers don’t consider the technical or operational complexity behind resolving their issues. They simply want to contact you on the device of their choice and get what they want when they want it. And they expect you to know who they are at every point along the way. To do this successfully, eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals must evaluate challenging questions about key business areas including:

  • Organization and operation: Has a sales versus support structure created silos that your customers cannot break through? Do your success metrics drive behavior that compromises a positive customer experience? Have you empowered your employees to provide exceptional service?
  • Technology: How effectively does your technology support agile customer service? Does each contact center representative have a complete view of the customer? Is there universal access to the same knowledge management?
  • Customer centricity: Is the reality that your customers can be accessing your website from any number of devices while they are at home, the office, the car, the store, or in a stadium infiltrated the core of your customer centricity?

These are challenging issues. Over the coming months, agile customer service will be an ongoing theme to my research for eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals.  As a starting point, I highly recommend reading Brian’s report.