To hear Salesforce.com tell it; call centers are on the way out, while "crowdsourcing" is the new customer service.
Don't hang up that phone just yet. While you are on hold waiting for someone to help you with your over-zealous security suite, again, consider getting your answers somewhere else.
Increasingly, folks are turning to their social network accounts like Facebook and LinkedIn for help.
Salesforce.com offers its customers "Service Cloud"; a way to aggregate all the chatter regarding a topic or company on various social networks like those mentioned above and others.
Word is that it's going so well, Salesforce.com will be adding Twitter to the list by summer. The advantage Twitter has to the other sources is that it's in real time.
Service Cloud gives Salesforce.com clients a way to monitor what their customers are chattering about them; including problems with products, questions about service, complaints and positive feedback. It's also a way to get answers, as well.
This is one of those things that you have to watch the demo to better understand (at least I did).
I have a couple of lingering concerns:
1. How can you be sure you are getting reliable advice?
2. This strikes me as a FAQ 2.0. I'm not sure if that is a good thing. I find FAQ's to be too general. When I have a problem or question about my technology; it is typically because of a very unique situation, like a conflict between two apps on my laptop. I forsee a lot of time wasted looking for very specific advice "in the cloud".
Perhaps as much time spent sitting on hold.
Last updated: Mar 23, 2009
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio