The Forrester Wave: Customer Service Solutions For Enterprise Organizations, Q4 2015

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The customer service vendor space is a mature space. Yet there have been many changes in the last five years and clearly more to come. Two driving factors will accelerate these changes:

  • Big fish eat little fish, and each bite broadens the reach of the big fish. The customer service market has consolidated in the last five years. Big vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce and SAP have made acquisitions to round out their core customer service or broader CRM portfolios.
  • Vendors from adjacent markets emerge as competitors. The most interesting disruptor to the current customer service market is coming from cloud contact center providers. They provide an end-to-end solution for customer service: a unified communications infrastructure, routing, and queuing engines for omnichannel interactions. Many offer integrated workforce optimization for agent quality management, scheduling, and forecasting. They also have lighter-weight agent desktops that can be easily hardened or acquired. These vendors were not included in this years wave, but they may well be candidates for the next evaluation round.

Our most recent evaluation of customer service vendor solutions shows that:

  • Core differences among Leaders are small. There are five Leaders in a field of 11 evaluated vendors. Salesforce leads in overall strategy and Oracle Service Cloud leads in current offering, but you have to look deep for differences in core capabilities in the leaders.
  • Not all teams need agent guidance, but those that do have a set of vendor solutions to choose from. In some enterprises, agents must follow complex, yet reproducible processes. There are vendors such as Pegasystems, Verint, Microsoft that has robust capabilities in this area.
  • Some vendors excel at delivering omnichannel service. eGain, Moxie, and Oracle Service Cloud appeal to enterprises that handle large volumes of digital and social inquiries, and often have dedicated agent teams for these channels, with separate teams dedicated to the voice channel.
  • SaaS customer service is here to stay. Business teams increasingly spearhead customer service purchases and transformation projects, which is increasing the appetite for SaaS customer service solutions. Forrester data shows that a third of companies are using SaaS customer service solutions, or complementing their existing solutions with SaaS. Every vendor in this Wave evaluation now offers a SaaS solution, with the exception of Verint.
  • Lightweight, but broader verticalization extends into the enterprise. Vendors such as Oracle Siebel CRM, SAP CRM have offered specialized industry editions for their solutions for years. Increasingly, a broader set of vendors offer lighter-weight industry templates. These templates give enterprises a “jumping off point” that allows them to focus on differentiation, instead of core industry capabilities.

Read more about our analysis of the customer service vendor landscape for enterprise organizations in our most recent wave.

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