Welcome to my first Coveo blog post. My name is Ed Shepherdson, and I am the latest executive to join the Coveo management team. I am tremendously excited about my new role as Managing Director, Customer Information Solutions.

I joined Coveo because in my 30+ years in the tech industry, most recently as VP of global customer support at Cognos, I’ve never seen a technology have such a dramatic impact on customer support as Coveo’s Customer Information Solutions. In speaking with customers, I heard about dramatic improvements in customer service metrics and powerful statements including one customer who said that “Coveo is the least disruptive and most impactful technology ever deployed in Support.” When you hear things like this, you know this solution will have a major impact on the bottom line of customer service organizations. Simply put, in this role, I get to work with organizations that play a major role in transforming their business. Isn’t that cool!?

2011 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Customer Service organizations. In the technology service industry, the role of Customer Service in large organizations has been on a perpetual cycle of profit center versus cost center for most of my 30 years in technology. I believe the industry is now changing and may change for good, as the value of high quality support services and real customer satisfaction have been studied and well documented.

It’s no longer a secret: Customers that give a company high ratings on their satisfaction, typically buy more products, recommend to others, and act as a solid reference for the company they are praising. Driving this change is a heightened state of competition, based not only on products anymore, but on the delivery of strong value through services and support.

Forrester Research analyst Kate Leggett who covers the customer service and support market, recently blogged on the Top 10 trends in Customer Service for 2011. In addition to Kate’s great list, I am also seeing a trend that leading organizations are starting to invest more resources into understanding how to leverage their entire knowledge ecosystem and provide customer service representatives with easy, single-screen access to this knowledge.
I also believe we’ll see 3 other key trends in 2011 in the customer service organization:

  1. Organizations will look beyond the standalone knowledgebase for knowledge access.
  2. Personalized dashboards will emerge as the single access point for contact center agents, replacing the 12 to 20 systems they normally access to do their jobs.
  3. Voice of the Customer Analytics will become completely dynamic.

I outlined in detail my thoughts on these predictions in an article that was just published on CRMxchange. What others would you add? Do you disagree with any of these?

Through a series of blog posts over the next few months, I will endeavor to open up discussions that dig a little deeper into the major trends that are being discussed in the industry today, add some additional insights that I have experienced, and debate on comments and feedback from our readers. I look forward to hearing from you!