As we will see throughout the Principles of Marketing Tutorials, technological innovation has significantly impacted all areas of marketing. Within customer service, improvements in computer hardware and software, as well as rampant adoption of the Internet as a prime channel for connecting with customers, has lead to numerous innovative methods to address customer needs.
For example, companies are finding value in using Internet chat as a way to address customer questions. Typically the chat feature is presented via a pop-up browser window that appears when a customer clicks on a website link, though newer technology using computer programming dubbed AJAX allows for chat to take place right on a webpage and not through pop-up windows. Whether presented as a separate window or contained within a regular webpage, online chat sessions are undertaken in real-time with customers and company service people exchanging text messages. More advanced chat technology called collaborative browsing or co-browsing allows customer service representatives to manipulate a customer’s browser by sending webpages that contain relevant information. For instance, retailer Land’s End “pushes” webpages to customers’ browsers in response to requests for clothing. In this way the service person can offer suggestions and guidance by controlling what the customer is seeing on their screen.