Hello, world. Welcome to my first blog as a new Senior Analyst serving Application Development & Delivery professionals.

I come to Forrester after working in the Solution Marketing and Corporate Marketing groups at a large customer service software provider. That role put me in touch with contact center technology buyers and the overburdened folks responsible for actually making great customer service happen every day. I saw close up the impact of the age of the customer on the thinking, processes, behavior, and technology choices of contact center professionals around the world. They are facing a world in which consumers are much less willing to settle for mediocre and impersonal experiences when dealing with customer service organizations. As consumers we all want effortless service delivered via whatever channel is most convenient at the moment, and we want companies to know just the right amount of information about us, but not too much, at the moment of the interaction.

That is a very tough nut to crack for contact center managers, supervisors, and agents. My research coverage will primarily focus on two areas that can help contact center pros begin to address these issues:

1.    Workforce optimization – although a broad category covering many technologies, WFO as it’s known encompasses all the tools used to manage a contact center’s internal operations and performance. In this new customer reality, WFO is increasingly becomes a critical investment area for driving better customer experiences. This is especially true with the advent of speech and text analytics tools that allow for not just a deeper understanding of specific customer interactions, but also for continuous improvement in areas such as training and coaching, product improvement, and customer experience. As my colleague Art Schoeller pointed out in his recent report, Design Your Contact Center From The Outside In, WFO needs to integrate “customer feedback from voice-of-the-customer systems in order to more tightly link agent performance to customer satisfaction outcomes.”

2.    Digital customer interaction channels – although the contact center was born and raised in the telephony world, it looks to be spending its dotage trying to handle consumers’ growing preferences for communication channels such as web chat, SMS, social media, email, and eventually video. For contact center pros, these digital channels present a particularly thorny problem because, reflecting on a small scale the challenges described in Technology Management In The Age Of The Customer, marketing and strategy teams have staked their claim to ‘owning’ many of these emerging channels, despite the fact that customer service requests come in via these channels in ever-increasing volumes.

Thanks for reading. I’m here to serve you so please share your insights and if there are technologies, services or topics that you’d like me to explore please get in touch with me via our Inquiry and/or Briefing teams. I look forward to hearing from you.