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FRONT OFFICE Service with a :-) D E S P I T E their best efforts to cut CSRs now working as telephone agents, companies customer support costs during the last will need CSRs working as social media agents, or U.S. recession in 2001, organizations “community experts” (see the Rising Star profile, are looking to cut more. What’s differ- “Clouding Up the Scene,” by Senior Editor Marshall ent this time—thanks to technological innova- Lager). Clearly, social media will play a significant tion—is that they have more options. Instead of role in customer service strategies. merely focusing on cost-cutting efforts that can This is not to suggest that other areas of cus- harm customer relationships (i.e., decreasing call tomer service should be ignored. Companies handling time or offshoring customer service should pay close attention to the latest develop- operations—effectively pushing the ments in all eight of our Service Leader categories customer interaction to another (which start on page 26) as the vendors there seek company), today organizations can to lower costs while improving customer interac- cut costs while providing deeper cus- tions. Some are including enhancements to their tomer engagements. One of the ways on-demand or hosted customer support solutions, to do this is to leverage Web 2.0 tech- an option quickly gaining favor among customer nologies, such as social media tools. service managers. Others are aiming to lower costs In today’s instant-gratification so- by providing fully integrated customer service ciety, customers not only want to solutions, enabling companies to quickly and eas- find information quickly, they want ily transfer end users from a self-service system to
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