About hundred and fifty years before in the name of customer support, the shop owner was the contact point to solve the problem with the product purchased. Most interestingly the customer also had the connect with the local post man, barber and perhaps everyone in market.
Due to the Industry Revolutions, the situation gradually changed and at present, the Information and Telecommunications have given birth to the ever changing needs of customers which are rapidly growing and new mechanism have come along to carter and serve the rapid and inevitable tendency of change.
Below are the foremost landmarks which have resulted towards the growing demand for customer service:
- 1868: First Ever Money Back Guarantee Scheme was launched.
- 1876: Alexander Graham Bell invented and patented the electric telephone. The concept of Customer service grew to the next leap and over the next few decades the customer support was extended over the telephone. It resulted towards avoiding a travel across long distances for finding the product information or its repairs.
- 1960: The unique physical ‘freephone’ service was launched by the British Post Office
- 1960s: Private Automated Business Exchanges (PABX) was introduced to handle the volume of phone calls and it resulted and helped a large number of operators in handling several customer communications at one location.
- Early 1980s: The discovery of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) for auto response.
- Mid to Late 1980s: First IT help desks appear.
- 1989: Outsourcing of processes started when companies initiated towards cost savings and many customer service and support centres were setup abroad.
- 1991: Invention and Emergence of the World Wide Web
- Mid-1990s: CRM systems began to come forward which was majorly led by the software companies and as a result, more mechanized and sophisticated customer data tracking started providing gifts for customer loyalty such as cashback on credit cards, frequent-flier miles and discounts for multiple purchases.
- Late 1990s-early 2000s: Outsourcing of customer support and service to international and inexpensive locations gained popularity.
- Late 2000s: Technology further evolved and allowing the support agents to walk the user through the steps of solving them on their own.
- 2008: Social Media Support
- 2014: Highly Interactive and Dedicated Customer Service Apps
- 2016: Artificial Intelligence
From the telephone switchboard to the high-tech contact solutions, the policy, methods and process for handling the customer enquiries has changed and crossed a long way. Taking a look at the timeline to date, one can only wait with anticipation for the next innovation to be added on the list.
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