Customer Service Considerations For 2025

OK, enough bashing plagiarists… let’s go back to real work.

Last year (I know, sounds like way farther back than it really is) in November I ran a research project for one of my clients.  The Microsoft Dynamics CRM team (customer service branch) asked me what I thought were the most interesting questions I had collected over the year in Customer Service.

In chatting about them, and the outlook for Customer Service, I was asked to write a position paper on it; something with thought leadership flavor about what to expect in the next decade.

Let me be the first to say, I hate, hate, hate prediction pieces.  I once attended a presentation by Steve Forbes where he did an amazing job explaining how economists not always get their predictions right (I was an Econ major in college, Mr. Forbes is being charitable).  He said he prefers to make five year predictions versus shorter time.  When asked why he commented that if he was right, its a great privilege to be correct in such a long-term prediction.  If he was wrong, there was sufficient time that he could deny it or correct in the process.

Except for the part about being wrong (I was only wrong three times), I agree with him.  Its a lot more fun to reach long-term conclusions.

I like to reach conclusions from the many conversations and projects I work in every year.  It is one of the most fun things I get to do in this job.  Creating visions of the future is fun, interesting, and challenging.  Being able to synthesize the almost 1,000 structured inquiries and many other conversations I have ever year gives me the chance to influence the market and to set a vision for how things can be done better.  It’s most likely the reason I started working as an analyst in the first place.

In that spirit I wrote the paper.  It is a short, fun read (clocks in at roughly 3,000 words) if you are in customer service – and it provides you with a great perspective of what is going on in the world of customer service – and the challenges we face.

From the paper.

The model has indeed changed from simply delivering a single, well executed (from the operations point of view) interaction to accumulating these interactions into experiences (how well the company delivers over time – not in a single interaction), to eventually reaching a state of engagement with customers.  This model has become quite complex as every single interaction has a long-term outcome – when done properly – and many data points and metrics to track its performance (and potential correlation to effectively monitoring interactions).

We also discuss how to combine agents, technology, and engagement-as-an-outcome to deliver a new model, a new framework for customer service built on four stages: centralization, automation, focus, and extension.

I promise its a worthwhile read – download the paper and let me know what you think.

disclaimer: I will make this one short, you read many of my disclaimers already.  If you did you would know that yes, I do take money from my clients to help me pay for my vices (feeding my kids, giving them a place to sleep, saving for retirement, etc).  In exchange, they get to work with me either on strategy, content, or both (Oxford comma well placed, thank you very much).  I’ve been working with Microsoft for several years – and yet, not in a single instance they did anything more than ask for research or content, let me do my thing, and never even attempted editing my content.  All errors, typos, omissions, and problems are entirely mine – they either don’t want to have anything to do with them… or they are truly supportive of my work and my research and respect the fact that clients don’t get to tell me what to do, how to do it, or what to say. I know its the latter, thanks my friends (and, yes – this is a short disclaimer).

Jacob Morgan Is An Idea Thief; He Should Be Stopped

update (01-26-2016, 16:30): I received via twitter a comparison of the two charts in the picture below.  i don’t use other people’s names without their permission, won’t quote them here, but they have my most sincere appreciation.

Models Comparison

update (01-26-2016, 14:00): the editor for Forbes Magazine maintains there are no sufficient similarities between the charts, will post them for you to make up your own mind; please let me know if I am wrong, seriously.

update (01-24-2016, 15:00) Mitch Lieberman, a friend and fellow victim to Mr. Morgan plagiarism, wrote a very good post on Linked-in about sharing and attribution.  thanks.

original post below.

Imagine my surprise on waking up this morning and discovering this tweet.

A Framework For How Any Company Can Design Amazing Employee Experiences #FutureofWork https://t.co/2apz47obpy pic https://twitter.com/5m1o0RNgvL

I first I thought it was a mistake, or somehow Mr. Morgan had forgotten to properly credit me for my work.  I thought to myself this would be easily fixed – just ask him to credit me and it should be easily solved.  With very few exceptions, that turned not-so-well for the supposed-authors, many discrepancies in the past few years have been solved this way.

This is a popular chart, for some reason.

Then I remembered, back in 2009-2010 we had the same problem, with the same chart.  Back then he also did the same, took my chart (the same one) and added his copyright to it and claimed it to be his.

Back then it could’ve been a misundertanding: I was getting started, was short of funds (I think we call it broke now, but I digress) and was trying to help Mr. Morgan get started in the world of CRM (and back then SCRM).  He offered to have his designer improve the graphic quality of my chart (which was the same, and it was derived from my short — well, not so much — series on Social CRM, check out part 2.1).

I agreed, but when I got the results from his designer had both our copyrights in it (he worked as chess media back then).  We talked (it wasn’t short) and I explained to Mr. Morgan that intellectual property is not simply about putting nice colors and better pictures to an idea, but rather about the idea itself. Eventually he agreed, but not before damaging his reputation in the SCRM/CRM/Enterprise Software communities… which to this day continues to haunt him.

We had a set of private conversations about it that time.  Next time it almost happened we had a very long strong-worded conversation about it.  He blocked me on Twitter, I blocked him, and we have not talked since (we crossed paths in conferences, I hold no grudges, we shared some meals, we chatted – but never worked together or collaborated again).

The same thing happened with other people, his standing with virtually anyone in the Independent Analysts groups is poor – at best.  He is thought of as a copyright thief (one of the worse possible problems to have when you try to make your living as an “thought leader” and generator of ideas).

I thought for a while about this, I wrote an email to Forbes providing them with prior publication of the same model, asked them to take it down and to remove him from their ranks.  I will pursue it further within other publications as well.  I am not spiteful – but when you find someone that cannot understand what he does wrong – even after several people tell him and document for him its wrong — something has to be done.

Jacob Morgan, you have to stop stealing ideas and pass them as yours.

How Crowded Is “The Cloud”?

A few months ago I asked you to help us (Famous Analyst to the Stars and partner Denis Pombriant and I) with research we were conducting around cloud adoption.

I told you our initial thesis was that cloud adoption was – er, well.. complicated.  We are not even talking about cloud architecture (public versus  private versus hybrid – pardon my french) but rather the applications and the databases that are attached to those applications.

Would it surprise you to learn that just 15% of companies use only one provider for their cloud applications? or that 46% use four or more applications?

The study yielded a very interesting perspective on how companies both use cloud applications and how IT departments and business units interface.

Not just because Denis and I wrote it, but definitely recommend it.

Where to get it? glad you asked…

Our friends at FinancialForce (who sponsored the study, thank you!) made it available for download at this link.

We are also getting some great coverage in the press for the study (see some of the links below, will continue to update as we get more) if you are not into reading pages and pages of data and analysis.

But more important, what do you think? Is this in line with your experience? Would love to see your thoughts below…

disclaimer: aren’t you getting tired of reading this? my disclaimers don’t change, just the bad dad jokes in them… yes – FinancialForce sponsored the report, yes – both Denis and I have families to feed and vices to rule our lives (mine is research, Denis is more balanced… he likely has a real hobby), and yes – they get to contribute to the thesis via discussions… but man, let me tell you – those are not easy and nice discussions where we roll over and do what they say.  we own the thesis, the questions, the data, the interviews and everything else — including the final content and total veto on how to use it.  they get to sponsor us so we can take care of our families and vices (we forever thank them), but they don’t get to say much on what we say or how we come to those conclusions.  basically – this report is independently thought-of, authored, and approved by two analysts for the benefit of our friends at FinancialForce distributing it and enhancing the conversations… and they sure do enhance them.  thanks for reading.