The contact center solution ecosystem that customer service organizations use has grown more complex over time, as highlighted in our latest TechRadar™ on these solutions. Customer service executives struggle to enforce consistent processes for their agents to follow so that those agents can deliver optimal customer experiences. The amount of data and information that agents need to use to resolve customer inquiries is exploding. Vendor mergers and acquisitions as sectors consolidate are creating product and support risks.  And new contact center solution delivery models, including managed services, outsourcing, and cloud-based offerings, are presenting new opportunities.

To define the context for making smart contract center strategy and technology decisions for customer service, Forrester partnered with CustomerThink to survey 75 contact center professionals to understand which technologies were being used and who was making purchasing decisions. We found that:

  • A set of core technologies are must-haves for contact centers. Core contact center technologies enable agents to manage voice calls, email and chat requests from customers, log and manage inquiries via case management systems, and manage and optimize agent workforces. These solutions are mature and continue to deliver significant business value. 53% use case management solutions; 58% use workforce management solutions; 48% use quality monitoring; 62% use voice IVR or self-service speech platforms; 44% use email response management systems; and 50% use chat solutions.
  •  Social technologies are growing in importance for customer service professionals. Organizations are using social technologies for customer service to participate in virtual conversations with community members in order to gather and act on their feedback on products and services, as well as to leverage their expertise to evolve product knowledge in line with customer demand. 47% of those surveyed use customer communities; 39% use social listening technologies; and 42% offer customer service via social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Technologies that help deliver a more personalized service experience are rising in importance. Contact center technologies that empower agents with the right knowledge to answer customer questions, help unify agent desktops, and deliver real-time guidance are growing in importance due to their ability to make agents more productive and their actions more personalized. Our data shows that 55% of companies surveyed use knowledge management; 35% use real-time decisioning and another 40% are actively considering this technology; and, 34% use unified agent workspaces.

 Who has the most influence in purchasing contact center solutions for customer service? We found that 57% of respondents said that  business leaders have “complete” authority in deciding which contact center solution should be deployed in their organizations, and 15% said that IT execs held complete authority.

For more statistics on customer service goals and the barriers to implementation, read the Craft Your Contact Center Investment Plan In Terms Of Technology Adoption Patterns report.