Next-Generation Contact Centers Must Become Relationship Platform

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Strategies To Keep Pace With The Social Customer. A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned By Cisco Systems:

Official annotation:

With the advent of social computing technologies like blogs, online ratings and reviews, wikis, microblogs, and internet-based communities, customers are able to rapidly and widely share their opinions about products and service experiences and wield influence over the reputation of corporate brands more than ever before. Customers now control your brand. In August 2010, Cisco Systems commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the future evolution of the “next-generation” contact center in light of the need to support multimodal customers and keep pace with the changing technology landscape. Forrester tested a hypothesis that asserted there will be a significant shift in customer contact centers away from the siloed, static, scripted approach of phone, video, and Web that is the call center of today. Contact centers will evolve to become relationship platforms, with a focus on building personalized and collaborative customer interactions.

Forrester conducted in-depth surveys with nearly 1,400 consumers around the world. In addition, Forrester interviewed over 150 business and IT professionals responsible for contact centers at global brand companies.

Key Findings

  • Organizations that fail to invest in transforming their contact centers into relationship platforms capable of meeting the fast-evolving expectations of consumers risk being left at a competitive disadvantage. Forrester’s study yielded four key findings:
  • Customers are dissatisfied with their customer service experiences. Customers understand what good customer service is, and they demand it from every service interaction they have with a company over all the communication channels that they use. More often than not, customers are disappointed with the service they receive. Banks, credit card companies, TV service providers, and utilities have the most disappointed customers.
  • Global brands struggle with critical service and support capability gaps. Large global companies recognize they lack key abilities to deliver an outstanding customer service experience. For example, personalization, mobility, outbound communications, and online search are all rated as quite important for success, but these areas are where company abilities fall short. Other important capability gaps include multimedia-rich solutions, social networking, and video to support customer service.
  • A new generation of “social” customers is setting the agenda for contact centers of the future. Managers of contact centers have a strong desire to evolve their contact centers to enable a wider range of customer interaction capabilities tailored to the generational preferences of their customers. Brands that target younger, Gen Y customers place a high priority on investing in social networking support, mobile service, multimedia solutions, personalization, online search, and video capabilities.
  • Organizations are taking the first steps toward building next-generation customer management platforms. Business and IT decision-makers report that they are investing in developing important new competencies that will support the basis of a multifaceted relationship management platform. The next-generation contact center will have several important characteristics. It will be multichannel, multimedia, multiplatform, and social media fluent. It will operate with consistent information across all channels to enable deep personalization of customer interactions.
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