Customer Experience
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Esteban Kolsky
Customer Service in 2012 (And Beyond)
Guest Author, Esteban Kolsky is the Principal and Founder of ThinkJar I am constantly asked, especially this time of the year, what is going to happen next year.  The question comes from everyone I talk to: practitioners, management, consultants, service providers, and system integrators – even other analysts.  And, while it is an interesting exercise to compare notes (we all have our biases and visions of where we are going) to me is far more interesting to aggregate all of them and create a picture of where the industry, the investment, and the growth is going. The first thing anyone trying to see the future needs to do is to define the market we are forecasting.  While Gartner, IDC, and Forrester (as well as Ovum, Frost & Sullivan, and many other analyst firms that track numbers) put Customer Service around $3.5 Billion, the reality is that there are three markets (or rather, sub-markets if you may) that work differently, grow at different rates, and are even investing in different things.
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The customer service industry continues to undergo a transformation through recent consolidations. While these transactions bring great benefits to the companies involved in M&A activity, they can also create service disruptions for customers. Forrester’s Kate Leggett noted in a blog post that issues around service agreement are likely to arise when companies involved in M&A activity have disparate approaches to product vision, sales strategy, and especially corporate culture. Esteban Kolsky, ThinkJar, emphasized in an analysis that the recent M&A activity signals a very healthy customer service market as vendors seek accelerated growth, and Ray Wang, Constellation Research, cautioned customers impacted by M&A deals to request additional guarantees for service level commitments.