The current bleak economic landscape offers proof of what has long been suggested here: there is no future in tech support. There is, however, a very bright potential for the profession of managing customer relationships. It's time to acknowledge the difference between layoffs and leadership, to explore the architecture of what comes before management: the design and development of what might be called "product as a relationship."
A new name, a new look, and a new focus has come to The HotLine. Re-launched as The HotLine Magazine, the new layout and graphics have strongly increased the accessibility of the articles and content. But the crucial difference is more fundamental. The focus has changed from optimizing center operations over to producing strategically significant, and sustainable, levels of contributions to overall corporate profitability. And the same needs to happen to the old role of Support / Service and the customer contact center. It's indeed time for something new.
From a single post and a handful of readers, The HotLine has warmed up considerably over the past ten months. There are now regular readers from more than 70 countries around the world and all 50 states of the USA. From Hawaii to Georgia, the Maldives to Sri Lanka, Slovakia to Senegal, the Ivory Coast to Ireland, Austria to Australia, Support executives and C-Level officers alike are looking for answers and insight. Years ago, Ken Shevock, then the VP of Worldwide Support Operations for Cisco, commented "Nobody is really 'winning' at Support. We're all doing the same things to try to keep up, but to get to the next level, we're going to have to do something new." The HotLine is about that "something new."
For more than 25 years, I've been working with companies across a range of industries on all aspects of their sustainable profitability and customer retention efforts. What you'll get here in the Commentary section are the observations that come out of those years of direct experience. Strategy will be a consistent theme in Commentary articles, as will the importance of alignment with it of all of the other elements of success. The technology industry is in a time of profound change, and the pace of the transformation is accelerating rapidly. The intent of The HotLine Magazine is to be an active resource to C-Level corporate officers to help them navigate and to succeed.