It's one thing to provide technical or customer service but quite a different thing to do so really well. What's really changed the whole concept of outbound service as compared to say 20 years ago is that a company's customers can now find each other and talk. They can discover and publicize your weaknesses with a speed and depth of commentary that, if they are annoyed, can be astounding and result in significant brand damage.
Way back when I was running technical support for the likes of Novell UK our customers had no way to get connected unless it was at a tradeshow or a local user group meeting and even then it wasn't a really "close" connection.
Now it's very different. Users find each other through all sorts of channels and they get connected via e-mail, instant messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Plurk and forums. The result is that your product or service problems are now a public issue and managing your company image and brand requires a lot more effort.
There are several things you absolutely have to do to make sure that you have the greatest opportunity to control this environment rather than have the environment drive you.