Service & Support at the Speed of the Customer
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Overview: Despite reams of sound theory written about it and a decade's worth of technology thrown
at it, customer service remains one of the thorniest problems for enterprises large and
small. Vocal dissatisfaction with customer service and support has hit an all-time high-the
Internet is chockablock with Websites devoted to itemizing, in minute detail, painful,
fumbled and bungled customer service interactions. The larger the enterprise, the more
likely it is that a Web site exists that sports tips about paths for end-runs around poorly
designed self-service systems or uninformed customer service agents.
At the same time, customer experience has turned into the buzz-phrase du jour. Enterprises of all sizes are now looking towards their customer service and support applications to better manage this notion of experience, of a full 360-degree view of every customer and to provide relevant information at every point in the customer lifecycle. Across the spectrum of industries and company sizes, enterprises have started to adopt a new tone when it comes to customer interactions. Where enterprises once spent reams of dollars on call deflection technologies and focused on perfecting contact center efficiency and productivity, now improving the customer experience and contact center effectiveness has developed into top priorities. Extremely poor press around interactive voice response systems and other low-cost self-service technologies seemingly reflect the public's soured mood about the level of customer service being provided by corporations in North America. The mainstream media have even been creating news stories that discuss the mechanics and infrastructure of contact centers. This din of bad buzz caused enterprises to rethink their approach to customer interactions and to begin reframing their messaging to include customer-centric slogans.
For many, this new mantra is clearly just a marketing tool with little in the way of teeth and will not transmute their customer interaction methods into customer-centric processes. But, for the savvy enterprises, the new focus on customer experience will send them looking for the proper tools with which to arm their customer-facing employees. Frost & Sullivan believes that the stakes here are quite high: for enterprises that can actually provide customers with a positive user experiencecustomer service tailored to their needs, no need to endlessly repeat customer information, customer service agents armed with the correct information at the correct point in the interaction, etc.the gains in customer satisfaction and customer loyalty lead directly to increased revenues. This renewed spotlight on the technology that powers customer service interactions has revealed the numerous shortcomings of traditional on-premise customer relationship management (CRM) application suites, as well as of many specialized customer service-specific applications.