Best Face Forward: Why Companies Must Improve Their Service Interfaces with Customers

Overview

How Technology Is Revolutionizing Service-and Humanizing the Face of Business

Now more than ever, success is based on how well firms manage interactions with customers. Short on appropriately skilled labor and flush with new intelligent technologies, visionary managers are not just outsourcing or sending work offshore for greater efficiency; they are recruiting machines into the workforce for greater effectiveness. Technology is taking over "front office" roles in customer ...

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Overview

How Technology Is Revolutionizing Service-and Humanizing the Face of Business

Now more than ever, success is based on how well firms manage interactions with customers. Short on appropriately skilled labor and flush with new intelligent technologies, visionary managers are not just outsourcing or sending work offshore for greater efficiency; they are recruiting machines into the workforce for greater effectiveness. Technology is taking over "front office" roles in customer relationship management-sparking a revolution in how firms serve customers and compete with rivals.

In Best Face Forward, Jeffrey F. Rayport and Bernard J. Jaworski argue that as this "front-office automation" revolution unfolds, competitive advantage will increasingly depend on deploying the right mix of interfaces with customers-human, automated, and hybrids of both-to surpass current levels of performance and service. Based on extensive research inside both start-up and established businesses, Best Face Forward proposes guiding principles and a practical auditing tool for determining how humans and machines can best collaborate in mediating critical customer interactions.

Far from dehumanizing the workforce, the authors show how this revolution will create a "people-rich" workplace-one that combines the unique capabilities of humans and machines to create a better world for all of us.

Author Biography:

Jeffrey F. Rayport is Chairman and Founder of Marketspace LLC, a subsidiary of Monitor Group. Bernard J. Jaworski is Vice-Chairman of Marketspace LLC and heads its Monitor Executive Development business unit.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Rayport and Jaworski (coauthors, eCommerce) run Marketspace LLC, a creative marketing firm in San Francisco, and are the authors of several e-commerce textbooks. While customer service has traditionally been the responsibility of people, the authors argue for the use of technology in customer service. Scalable and more predictable, automated customer service can create a competitive advantage. For example, technology-based interfaces, such as ATMs, kiosks, web sites, and automated phone systems, give customers more control around the clock. This book provides a framework to help companies justify technology expenditures to reach consumers and keep them loyal to their products, services, and brands. Yet it provides insufficient tactical advice on how to produce necessary interfaces. Written for corporate executives who want to find ways to cut costs and increase their return on investment, this book would also help technologists realize the value of software when applied in a strategic way. Not appropriate for most public libraries, unless they have an extensive business or technology collection. Corporate libraries and business schools should consider.-Stephen Turner, Turner & Assocs., San Francisco Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875848679
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Interfaces as the next frontier of competitive advantage 1
2 The interface imperative 27
3 The front-office revolution 55
4 What people do best 87
5 What machines do best 113
6 Putting the amalgam of people and machines to work 145
7 Managing interface systems 173
8 The interface audit 207
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2005

    Customer Experience Competition Guidebook

    This book argues for a new battlefield for competition: customer experience. With a bunch of examples from a range of industries - banking, retail, transport - it hammers home the view that the quality of interactions with customers is becoming essential to success. The book is relentlessly practical: how has one company done it, how has another missed a chance, and how can all companies find ways to better manage the interfaces they have with their customers.

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