What to Expect in 2010 [Contact Center]


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When we consider the concept of innovation, we generally think about technology – new and beneficial systems or applications that are introduced into an operating environment. Contact center managers depend on vendors to deliver continuously improved technology, as it’s an effective way to reduce their budget while improving the customer experience and service quality. Even with the recession, DMG expects to see many system enhancements find their way into contact centers in 2010, particularly emerging analytical solutions – speech and real-time analytics, customer experience analytics, desktop analytics and possibly even predictive analytics. Contact center managers all over the world are demanding solutions that are easy to implement and use, applications that are actionable and deliver rapid results; some of the vendors are actually listening and delivering.

Technology is an Enabler

Technology is always going to be a critical enabler for contact centers; complex operating environments require systems to help them handle millions of monthly transactions. However, true innovation is driven by the changes that organizations make to their mission and culture. DMG expects 2010 to be the beginning of a major shift in the service world. For the past ten years, the market has discussed the need for contact centers to transform into revenue generators; however, we’ve seen little movement in this direction besides the adoption of up-sell and cross-sell programs, which have varied in their effectiveness.

Contact Centers Will Be Asked To Do More

DMG expects that, due to the recession, 2010 will be a tough year for many companies. As a result, enterprises of all sizes will have to shift more resources into initiatives to retain existing customers so that they can increase sales to their most receptive audience. The contact center is ideally positioned to identify opportunities and close deals, as it constantly interacts with customers. But contact centers can take on a more active role only if they are empowered by senior management and supported by marketing and sales organizations.

The first step in this transition will be a change in enterprise goals, which will include assigning contact centers customer retention and revenue targets. If contact centers are successful in achieving these goals in 2010, there will be no going back, even after the economy recovers. To achieve enterprise objectives, contact centers will have to make major changes in fundamental aspects of their culture, including goals, responsibilities, staff, training, rewards and recognition, key performance indicators, processes and systems.

As always, contact centers will continue to be responsible for handling customer inquiries and incoming orders, but now they’ll be asked to do more. They’ll be responsible for identifying specific sales and marketing opportunities and play a lead role in identifying and retaining at-risk customers. The contact center will be instrumental in creating and managing a repository of transactions that provides a holistic view of each customer, regardless of the channel used (including social networks). Very importantly, the contact center will not demand that all inquiries be routed to its organization – this approach has always failed. Instead, it will capture and track interactions enterprise-wide so that decision makers have the information they need.

During the next few years, many contact centers will become the primary source for customer analytics, supporting all internal and external departments that require this data. For years, marketing organizations all over the world have attempted and failed to address this need. The responsibility for customer analytics is not going to be handed to the contact center without major political battles. Ultimately, when marketing organizations realize that they are not well positioned and do not have the resources to handle the transactional and real-time needs of organization-wide analytical repositories, they will welcome the opportunity to pass these activities on to the contact center; this represents a new level of maturity and innovation within enterprises. The complete evolution will take years to achieve, but 2010 will represent a new beginning for the mission and culture of contact centers.

Final Thoughts

We want to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing our passion for improving the way companies interact with, market, sell and service their customers. 2009 was a challenging year for many enterprises and 2010 may be just as tough. We’ll do everything we can to share ideas that will help you come out of the coming year stronger than you went in. Please let us know how we can help you.

We wish you a very happy holiday season and hope that you’ll join in our conversations during 2010.

Donna Fluss
Donna Fluss is founder and president of DMG Consulting LLC, a firm specializing in customer-focused business strategy, operations and technology consulting. DMG helps companies build world-class contact centers and vendors develop and deliver high-value solutions to market. Fluss is a recognized authority and thought leader on customer experience, contact center, workforce optimization, speech technology and real-time analytics. She is the author of The Real-Time Contact Center and many leading industry reports.


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