The Next-Generation Contact Center
Today, the gap between a customer’s expectations and the service they receive is huge. Customers are increasingly knowledgeable about the products they use and demand value-added, personalized service in real time, using voice,text-based media like email and chat, and social media. They are quick to voice their disappointment about poorcustomer experiences; social media can amplify these negative views, which can lead to brand erosion.Businesses know that good service is important: 90% of customer service decision makers tell Forrester that deliveringgood service is critical to their company’s success; 63% think its importance has risen.
Businesses must be pragmatic about engaging in initiatives that will deliver service in line with customer expectations ata cost that makes sense to the business. One successful way to help move the needle on an improved customer serviceexperience in a way that is cognizant of business cost parameters is by focusing on the technology that is at the heart of contact centers. Next-generation contact center technology allows you to standardize the customer experience acrosssupported communication channels. It provides agents with a unified desktop so they can simultaneously handlemultiple interactions; access customer, product, and history data and content at the right point in an interaction;increase their efficiency; and improve the quality of each interaction. This technology also provides managers theflexibility to access real-time reports and analytics to quickly adapt to changing business demands.Yet businesses today are battlingthe ongoing economic pressures of a prolonged global recession. Most companies pragmatically balance the cost of doing business with customer satisfaction.In addition, improved technology delivers an overall lower cost of ownership. Businesses that fail to focus on their corecontact center technology risk being left at a competitive disadvantage. In April 2012, Aspect Software commissionedForrester Consulting to evaluate the current trends in next-generation contact center technologies through conductingan in-depth survey with 308 US and Canadian Enterprise Customer Service Strategy Decision Makers.
Solid Technology Is A Cornerstone Of A Customer Experience Strategy
The customer experience is defined as the sum of all experiences a customer has with a company over the duration of their relationship ----- including awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, customer service, andadvocacy. Technology plays a large part in delivering these customer experiences: 73% of survey respondents view technology as playing a large to very large role in their customer experience strategy.
Equally important is thealignment of a company’s contact center strategy with a company’s customer experience strategy. Forty eight percentsay that their contact center strategy is the cornerstone of their customer experience strategy, and 45% are in the processof aligning their contact center strategy to be able to support their customer experience strategy (see Figure 1). It iscomforting to know that only 7% of respondents see their contact center as a cost center that is not aligned with theircompany’s customer experience strategy.