There is growing urgency among eBusiness leaders to consider the impact of agile commerce on customer service. In the weeks since my colleague Brian Walker’s “Welcome To The Era Of Agile Commerce” was published, I have had many conversations with eBusiness executives and leading customer service vendors to discuss on agile commerce’s implications to customer service.  The result of these conversations is my recently published document called “The Metamorphosis To Agile Customer Service."

Technology has had a dramatic impact on when, where, and how consumers want customer service:

  • The number of connected devices is increasing. Today 59% of US online adults have more than one device that is connected to the Internet. One in five US online adults — or 37 million people — own five or more devices that are connected to the Internet. (For more insight into this, see our January 25, 2011m "Welcome To The Multichannel Multi-Connection World" report.)
  • Consumers are connected everywhere. Mobile phones are nearly ubiquitous: According to Forrester's US Mobile Technographics®, 88% of US adults own mobile phones, and 21% of US adults are Superconnecteds who use their phones for information, research, and commerce.
  • Online commerce is thriving and extending into multiple devices. Six percent of US consumers say they have used a mobile shopping app, and US mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016. (There is more information on this topic in our June 17, 2011, “Mobile Commerce Forecast, 2011 To 2016” report.)
  • Online customer service channels are expanding.  eBusiness leaders have driven increasingly robust online customer service capabilities. As consumers adopt more devices and more connectivity, there will be an increasing stream of innovation and both interactive and live customer service touchpoints will flourish.

eBusinesses have typically been built on multichannel models with a goal of duplicating capabilities within separate channels. The result is maladroit organizations that will struggle to achieve the agility required to meet customers’ increasingly multi-touchpoint, multidevice service expectations.

eBusiness leaders must begin the metamorphosis toward agile customer service by embracing the three key attributes of agile customer service, characterized by the three C’s:

  • Contextual. eBusinesses will offer customer support when and where consumers want it, in context to their customer service issue, their location, and their preferences.
  • Consistent. Customer service will be a consistent brand and value experience across all touchpoints.
  • Crosstouchpoint. Customers will be able to move seamlessly between touchpoints or devices in a customer service conversation.

Achieving agile customer service will require re-visiting how organization, technology, and strategy can meet customers’ increasingly multi-touchpoint, multidevice service expectations. This is a massive undertaking and requires shifting from multichannel organization to adopt a customer-centric approach. As challenging as it is, there are several examples in "The Metamorphosis To Agile Customer Service" of contextual consistent and cross-touchpoint service where customers can engage in an unfractured customer service conversation from the pre-purchase stage through post-purchase. I hope you find the document helpful.