The digital revolution has fueled an increase in customer expectations around customer service. Increasingly, customers expect to reach a business over the channel of their choice, any time of day or night. This has placed tremendous demands on the contact center to meet these expectations. In fact, today most contact centers support nine channels including email, chat, SMS, mobile apps, and oh yes, voice.
And if there is one thing that is certain, it is that change is constant. So even if you feel your organization is able to handle the needs and expectations of today, you must also prepare for the uncertainty of tomorrow.
Many contact center and IT leaders started with a voice-only contact center, and over time, added additional channels as needed. Often, this was done on an ad-hoc basis. More often than not, these channels were delivered by a number of disparate vendors.
I don’t need to tell you how difficult it is to integrate, update, and maintain point solutions from multiple vendors while seeking to deliver a consistent customer experience. Today’s smart businesses recognize the need to modernize business processes and platforms to deliver an omnichannel customer experience. They realize that an open, scalable architecture for customer engagement increases operational and IT agility.
So my questions to you are: does your current contact center infrastructure provide you with a solution foundation to meet the needs of today and the challenges of tomorrow? How do you architect the contact center of tomorrow?
Let’s take a look at what Gartner has to say. As one of the world’s leading information technology research and advisory companies, Gartner delivers the insight their clients need to make the best technology-related decisions.
In their research paper, Critical Capabilities for Contact Center Infrastructure, Worldwide*, they write, “although most contact center infrastructure (CCI) providers have a single software stack that orchestrates contact center and some workforce optimization components, the need to support best-of-breed components is still an essential requirement.”
In fact, they recommend that IT and business leaders in customer service consider contact center infrastructure as a legitimate option for holistically managing both employees and the increasing number of communications channels with customers. They write, “Equally, we have reassessed multichannel routing capabilities to include social media and SMS where these are of increasing interest to clients looking to build a customer service experience that holistically manages all communications with customers.”
This research paper is a companion to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure – both papers help buyers understand the current state of the contact center industry.
Below are three key insights to consider as you evaluate solutions for your contact center and customer experience initiatives:
1. Move to “All-in-One” Bundled Suites
Gartner recommends that organizations, “choose multichannel software suites when selecting contact center solutions and, since most vendors also have some workforce optimization capabilities, consider incorporating these as part of your contact center suite.”
Genesys believes this comes in the form of an integrated customer experience platform that enables memorable, effortless customer experiences across all channels, touchpoints, and interactions. The key to this is the delivery of personalized, proactive inbound and outbound, omnichannel customer experiences. And to enable your team to succeed, you must send interactions and any resulting work items to the people with the right skills, at the right time, and via the channel selected by the customer.
2. Contact Center to Self-Service Integration
Gartner recommends that organizations, “plan for tighter integration of contact center infrastructure with customer self-service for a stronger customer engagement experience”. Today, most routine inquiries are handled and resolved over a self-service channel. Yet, despite the explosive growth in the use of digital channels, voice remains an important channel as customers seek to talk to an expert for more complex issues. As a result, the ability to seamlessly transition from self- to assisted service, carrying forward context on what the customer was doing on the self-service channel, is critical – as is the ability to ensure that the customer is routed to the best available agent to address their specific needs.
3. Support for Open Standards
Gartner states that “although suite solutions are mature enough for most customer service requirements, some legacy-constrained environments will continue to demand a best-of-breed approach.” At Genesys, we believe in order to deliver on this, look to a vendor who has a history of openness. From its inception, we have been dedicated to delivering the flexibility inherent in open standard solutions, helping customers to consolidate systems and applications where possible, while integrating with existing systems as necessary.
These points provide just a few valuable pieces of insight on the state of today’s contact center infrastructure market. To learn more about Gartner’s views, and Genesys leadership in this area, download the full Critical Capabilities for Contact Center Infrastructure report today.
*Gartner Critical Capabilities for Contact Center Infrastructure, Worldwide, Steve Blood, Drew Kraus, 19 May 2016.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.