Few companies deliver great service because of the disjointed and overly costly tech ecosystem. Today, you need:

  • Queuing and routing technologies to capture voice, digital, and social inquiries and route them to the right agent pool.
  • Workforce optimization technologies to manage agent staffing, monitor the quality of service that they deliver, and coach them.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) customer service technologies to capture and work customer inquiries.
  • Digital-first technologies to offer best-in-class automated and assisted engagement in digital channels.

Needless to say, customer service technology must be more unified. This will let companies, both large and small and with variable IT budgets, deliver upon customer expectations. Forrester sees that vendor acquisitions and new organic development blur the boundaries of these software categories. Vendors in each of these software categories are jockeying for leadership positions.

The current battleground is around digital channels that are more popular than ever since the pandemic. There is a category of digital-first customer service vendors that deliver automated and assisted engagement via chat, messaging, cobrowsing, video, social interactions, click-to-call, and click-to-call-back. They use customer- and agent-facing chatbots to automate engagement and tap into knowledge bases for curated content.

These solutions have a broad appeal to teams that support authenticated or anonymous customers in the pre- and post-purchase stages — teams such as digital operations, digital experience, e-commerce, digital marketing, and customer service. They also offer digital-first capabilities that go beyond what contact center vendors and CRM vendors offer, and many teams use these digital-first solutions in combination with their contact center or CRM provider.

As these vendors jockey for dominance, CRM and contact center vendors are buying up the digital-first ecosystem. Case in point: CRM vendor Pegasystems acquired In The Chat; Zendesk acquired Smooch; contact center vendor NICE acquired Brand Embassy; and Cisco acquired IMImobile. And now, Genesys has announced its intent to acquire Bold360 from LogMeIn.

The battle for the heart of the contact center is heating up.