I was part of a roundtable the other night organised by Focus.com discussing – Customer Service Trends for 2011. The roundtable was hosted by Justin Flitter (@JustinFlitter), and included Jeffrey Kingman (@JeffreyJKingman), Marsha Collier (@MarshaCollier), Roy Atkinson (@RoyAtkinson), and Tristan Bishop (@KnowledgeBishop).

The discussion covered a number of areas including communities, the role of ambassadors, decentralisation of service, getting back to basics, the role of mobile, company culture, servicing your customers where they are, engagement and inclusion, integrating social and traditional channels alongside each other, being accessible, corporate vs individual Twitter accounts…

I’m not going to elaborate on these points as you can listen to the whole discussion from Justin’s Posterous page.

What was amazing to me, however, was the fact that we all came together from different parts of the globe and across different time zones to discuss this topic. United for a moment by a passion for a common topic of interest. Justin in NZ, Marsha, Roy, Tristan and Jeffrey in the US and myself in the UK.

Technology has removed barriers such as time and geography and enabled people to connect, exchange and share with each other: wherever they may be and whenever they may want to. The only requirement is a willingness to do so.

How businesses communicate and engage with their customers, how their customers communicate and engage with them, how people simply communicate and engage with each other has changed. And the services companies provide, and the services customers require have also changed accordingly.

The onus is now on businesses to recognise this and respond accordingly.