As we will see throughout the Principles of Marketing Tutorials, technological innovation has significantly impacted all areas of marketing. Within the customer service function, improvements in computer hardware and software, as well as expansion of electronic communication networks, such as the internet and mobile networks, has led to numerous innovative methods for addressing customer needs. These methods include:
Next to phone conversation, the most popular method for organizations to address customer questions is though live chat sessions. The primary form of live chat is via text entry within a pop-up browser window, however, more companies are using video chat as a way to offer a more personalized customer service experience. Whether presented using text or video, live chat is undertaken in real-time between customers and customer service representatives. More advanced chat technology, called collaborative browsing or co-browsing, also allows customer service representatives to manipulate a customer’s web browser during a chat session by sending webpages containing relevant information.
As part of customers’ desire to be more involved in solving their own problems, companies have moved to offering technological solutions in ways that appeal to customers’ desire for self-service. The predominant method for doing this is by maintaining a collection of answers to commonly asked questions. The collection may be part of a Knowledge Base that is accessible either online, through such methods as frequently asked questions (FAQ), or through a call system where an automated helper or virtual attendants guide customers to an answer.