Leverage Cloud-Based Contact Center Technologies To Provide Differentiated Customer Experiences

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1 A Custom Technology Adoption Profile Commissioned By Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Leverage Cloud-Based Contact Center Technologies To Provide Differentiated Customer Experiences March 2013 Introduction 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 as well as text-based communication channels like , chat, and social media. Companies struggle to deliver experiences in line with customer expectations due to contact center technologies and business processes that are not agile enough to adjust to changing customer and business pressures. Companies are increasingly turning to cloud-based contact center solutions that help deliver better experiences. As customers continue to expect better experiences, those who can t keep up may find themselves left behind. This Technology Adoption Profile (TAP) explores current customer experience trends including executive goals, customer experience strategy, and challenges to better align customer experience strategy with contact center technology. Differentiated Experiences Stand Out Forrester Research defines the customer experience as how customers perceive their interactions with an organization it s the sum of all experiences customers have with a company throughout their relationship from awareness to discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, customer service, and advocacy. Companies are increasingly leveraging customer experiences as a differentiator in order to stand out from the crowd, due to the challenging economic times that we live in as well as the commoditization of products and services. Forrester data backs this up, with 60% of customer experience professionals surveyed supporting this statement (see Figure 1). While a few companies strive to set the bar by viewing themselves across all industries, a large majority look to differentiate among their peers.

2 Figure 1 Sixty Percent Of Respondents Hope To Use Customer Experience As A Differentiator Base: 100 customer experience professionals at large companies Source: Q Global Customer Experience Peer Research Panel Online Survey, Forrester Research, Inc. It is not sufficient in today s marketplace for enterprises to say that they will focus on the customer experience. Clear, specific goals need to be set and resources applied to develop strategies to accomplish them. And companies are doing just that: Improving the customer experience is the top strategic goal for almost one-third of companies surveyed, and for another two-thirds, it is one of the top strategic goals. For example, many more companies today are adding voice of the customer capabilities to better capture customer feedback and tie that to root-cause analysis for continuous customer experience improvement. Instead of adding yet another set of software to manage and integrate with the rest of the contact center applications, using a cloud service that already has voice of the customer capabilities is more straightforward. Companies are focusing on improving their customer experience, as they are good for business. Good experiences lead to customer loyalty, and loyal customers spend an increased wallet share with companies that provide good experiences. For example, when customers invest the time to enter their account information into interactive voice response (IVR), agents actually have it on their desktop when the call is transferred to them. Pre-integrated cloud solutions can more readily provide this integration with the agent desktop, whereas many enterprises simply drop that data and force customers to repeat themselves to the agent. Forrester quantifies the economic benefit of customer experience by its correlation to three dimensions of loyalty, which are increased cross-sells and upsells, reluctance to switch away from the brand, and recommendations to family and friends. 1 This direct correlation between a good customer experience and positive business value is evident in more than 40 industries that Forrester surveyed (see Figure 2). Page 2

3 Figure 2 Improving Customer Experiences Are A Top Strategic Goal For Most Businesses Base: US online consumers Source: North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q (US), Forrester Research, Inc. Companies Focus On Aligning Their Customer Experience And Contact Center Strategies For many companies, the quality of the customer service that their contact center delivers is the cornerstone of their customer experience strategy. This is a shift in focus for many companies, as contact centers were historically managed as cost centers, whose strategy was disconnected from other operations. This shift is evident in the results of a recent study by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Genesys Telecommunications, where 56% of respondents said that their customer experience strategy and their contact center strategy were well aligned. And another 20% said that they were in the process of aligning their customer experience and contact center strategy a necessary first step in delivering consistent experiences across all customer touchpoints. Historically, many enterprises did not coordinate the management of their website with the processes managed by the contact center. Agents therefore were unaware of what was available on the website, and customers who escalated a request from the website to a live agent were faced with disparities and gaps in what each channel provided. The new focus on contact center organizations being customer-centric and paying attention to the quality of service experiences delivered is also evident from our survey results, with 70% of respondents saying that their contact centers are focused on providing a high level of satisfaction to their customers. And even for the 12% of contact centers that are evolving into revenue-generating centers, the emphasis is placed on personalized recommendations that also garner a higher level of customer satisfaction. Figure 3 Contact Centers Are Increasingly Customer-Centric What is the vision of your contact center organization? Contact center will focus on customer experience/loyalty with objective being high level of satisfaction 70% Contact center will remain a cost center, with the primary responsibility of resolving customers questions Contact center is evolving into a revenue-generating organization, where agents will cross-sell and upsell 12% 16% Other 2% Base: 50 customer experience decision-makers Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Genesys, February 2013 Page 3

4 Few Companies Deliver Good Customer Experiences Even though businesses know that they can reap quantifiable business results by focusing on the customer experiences, few businesses are able to deliver. In 2012, Forrester reported that only 39% of companies earned an excellent or a good Customer Experience Index rating an index that measures the ease, usefulness, and enjoyment of doing business with a company. Almost two-thirds of brands were rated as delivering an OK to a very poor experience. 2 Why is that the case? It s because many businesses have not been able to align the experience that they deliver to changing customer demand. Customers expect value-added, effortless customer service, over the communication channel of their choice. Forrester s trend data shows that channel usage has changed significantly in the past three years. Phone usage has remained constant, while the use of text-based and social channels has increased: web selfservice by 10%, chat by 13%, and communities by 9%. It s important to note that some channels that customers currently use, such as virtual agents, screen sharing, short message service (SMS), and click-to-call, had minimal or no usage just three years ago. More than that, customers expect every interaction with a company to provide a reproducible experience in line with the company s brand. Companies today struggle with inflexible technology infrastructure that does not let them quickly adjust to business demand and deliver experiences in line with customer demand. For years, contact center managers have faced the issue of not being able to quickly and readily modify their systems to implement business rule changes. They have not been able to readily change their agent business processes, agent desktops, service levels, routing and queuing algorithms, or agent assignments. Our survey data backs this up, with 86% of respondents stating that quickly changing business processes to better align with customer expectations was their top challenge in their contact center organization (see Figure 4). It s important to note that technology is a critical component of delivering customer experiences in line with expectations. However, equally important is paying attention to the human factors of aligning contact center initiatives across organizations and proper management of contact center personnel for prolonged and productive tenures. Page 4

5 Figure 4 Business Processes, Technology, And Agent Retention Challenge The Ability To Deliver Good Service What are your organization s biggest challenges to improving the overall customer experience delivered by your contact center organization today? Quickly changing existing business processes to better align with customer expectations Gaining cooperation across the company to support contact center improvement efforts Finding, attracting, and retaining the right, correctly skilled employees Coordinating across different technology platforms 18% 34% most challenging 28% 36% 40% 38% 22% 20% 10% Working with IT to adopt new technologies 32% 34% 12% High cost of new solutions 22% 28% 26% Outdated, inflexible contact center solutions 22% 32% 14% Working with business users to adopt new technologies 14% Lack of budget 16% 20% Defining the business case for investment 8% Lack of IT expertise 36% 18% 6% Base: 50 customer experience decision-makers Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Genesys, February 2013 New Deployment Options Help Deliver Experiences In Line With Customer Expectations Companies are increasingly looking at software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployment options for their contact center technologies in order to give them the business agility to quickly react to changing consumer demands and stay competitive in an increasingly difficult business climate. They are also looking at ways of being more empowered to make changes without depending on IT. But this deployment option also provides many secondary benefits. Forrester data reports that SaaS allows companies to focus on critical operational business activities that allow them to offer differentiated services to their customers instead of focusing on the maintenance of their hardware and software. It allows them to realize lower time-to-value for their contact center software so that they can be better aligned with changing customer expectations. SaaS also helps contain costs (see Figure 5). As organizations contemplate replacing their contact centers, SaaS can be a viable option to ensure future agility and flexibility. Page 5

6 Figure 5 The Drivers Of SaaS Adoption Are Improved Business Agility, Speed-To-Value, And Vendor-Delivered Innovation How important were the following benefits in your firm s decision to use SaaS? (On a scale of 1 [not at all a factor] to 5 [very important factor]) 5 - Very important factor 4 (On an importance factor of 1-5, 1=Not at all a factor) Improved business agility 39% 33% Allows us to focus resources on more important projects 34% 32% Speed of implementation and deployment 29% 35% Faster delivery of new features and functions from SaaS/as-aservice providers 28% 32% Lower overall costs 35% 25% Ability to substitute upfront costs with regular monthly payments 20% 28% To support a large number of mobile and remote users Lack of in-house IT staff to maintain a traditional software solution 23% Gaining a feature or functionality that is not available in a traditional, licensed software package Iterative deployment model supports a higher level of innovation within the business Having access to a wide ecosystem of solutions around the core SaaS application 14% 11% 17% 22% 23% 25% Source: Forrsights Software Survey, Q4 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. Base: 920 packaged application decision-makers Companies Perceive Real Risks For Not Adopting Modern Contact Center Technologies Regardless of challenges facing the organizations, our respondents indicate that there is a real impetus for change. If respondents simply maintain the status quo, their organizations face inconsistent customer service delivery that leads to customer dissatisfaction and defection, internal operational inefficiencies, and competitive disadvantage (see Figure 6). Page 6

7 Figure 6 Risks Of Not Adopting New Contact Center Technology Are Customer Dissatisfaction And Escalating Costs What are the perceived risks of not adopting new technology in your contact center? Inconsistent customer service delivery 56% Internal operational inefficiencies Customer defection Fear of being left behind from a technology perspective Competitive disadvantage (e.g., lose market share, lose ground to competitors) High agent turnover rates Long agent training times Penalties incurred for non-compliance 18% 16% 20% 44% 42% 40% 38% Don t know None of the above Other 2% 2% 2% Base: 50 customer experience decision-makers Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Genesys, February 2013 Conclusion Delivering optimal customer experience has quantifiable business value. But delivering experiences in line with customer expectations is not easy. Companies struggle with an inflexible technology infrastructure that does not let them quickly adjust to business demand and deliver experiences in line with customer demand. It takes a coordinated effort across the dimensions of strategy, process, and technology. Companies must start by articulating their customer experience strategy and ensure that their contact center strategy is well aligned with their customer experience strategy. Processes that the contact center follows to service customers must be consistent across communication channels, effective in meeting customer requirements, and agile so that they can adjust to support a business changing needs. The right technology must be chosen to provide optimal customer experiences today and in the future. And SaaS-based technologies should be considered, as they have a real role in allowing companies to optimize customer experiences. Page 7

8 Appendix A: Methodology This Technology Adoption Profile was commissioned by Genesys. To create this profile, Forrester Consulting leveraged the Forrsights Software Survey, Q4 2012, Forrester Research, Inc., North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2011, Q Global Customer Experience Peer Research Panel Online Survey, Forrester Research, Inc. and Q Global Customer Experience Peer Research Panel Online Survey, Forrester Research, Inc. Forrester Consulting supplemented this data with custom survey questions asked of 50 customer experience decisions-makers in North America in organizations with 20 to 250 contact center seats. The auxiliary custom survey was conducted in February For more information on Forrester s data panel and Tech Industry Consulting services, visit Appendix B: Endnotes 1 Source: The Business Impact Of Customer Experience, 2012, Forrester Research, Inc., March 26, Source: The Customer Experience Index, 2013, Forrester Research, Inc., January 15, About Forrester Consulting Forrester Consulting provides independent and objective research-based consulting to help leaders succeed in their organizations. Ranging in scope from a short strategy session to custom projects, Forrester s Consulting services connect you directly with research analysts who apply expert insight to your specific business challenges. For more information, visit 2013, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, Page 8

9 and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. For additional information, go to [1-LQOD93] Page 9

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