Customer Service Channel Usage Highlights The Importance Of Good Self-Service

Kate Leggett

Customers are using more communication channels for customer service than ever before. They are also contacting customer service organizations more frequently. Companies are rising to this challenge as overall satisfaction with the quality of service over all communication channels is trending upwards.

Moreover, customers have little appetite for long or difficult service interactions, including navigating arduous interactive voice response (IVR) menus to connect with an agent or waiting in queues to be connected to a phone agent; and are increasingly turning to self-service as the easiest path to service resolution. Here are some key takeaways from our latest consumer survey about channel  usage for customer service.

  • For the first time in the history of our survey, respondents reported using the FAQ pages on a company's website more often than speaking with an agent over the phone. Use of the help/FAQ pages on a company's website for customer service increased from 67% in 2012 to 76% in 2014, while phone interactions have remained constant at a 73% usage rate.
  • Other self-service channels also see increased usage since 2012. For example, use of communities and virtual agents jumped by over 10 percentage points each. We also see robust uptake of speech and mobile self-service channels.  
  • Self-service adoption increased across all generations from 2012 to 2014, with the largest increases attributable to older boomers (ages 59-69)  and the golden generation (ages 70+).
  • Online chat adoption continues to rise – from 38% in 2009 to 43% in 2012 to 58% in 2014. Screensharing, cobrowsing and SMS are other channels that are increasing in popularity among the young and old alike.
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Get Ready For BI Change

Boris Evelson

To compete in today's global economy, businesses and governments need agility and the ability to adapt quickly to change. And what about internal adoption to roll out enterprise-grade Business Intelligence (BI) applications? BI change is ongoing; often, many things change concurrently. One element that too often takes a back seat is the impact of changes on the organization's people. Prosci, an independent research company focused on organizational change management (OCM), has developed benchmarks that propose five areas in which change management needs to do better. They all involve the people side of change: better engage the sponsor; begin organizational change management early in the change process; get employees engaged in change activities; secure sufficient personnel resources; and better communicate with employees. Because BI is not a single application — and often not even a single platform — we recommend adding a sixth area: visibility into BI usage and performance management of BI itself, aka BI on BI. Forrester recommends keeping these six areas top of mind as your organization prepares for any kind of change.

Some strategic business events, like mergers, are high-risk initiatives involving major changes over two or more years; others, such as restructuring, must be implemented in six months. In the case of BI, some changes might need to happen within a few weeks or even days. All changes will lead to either achieving or failing to achieve a business. There are seven major categories of business and organizational change:

  1. People acquisitions
  2. Technology acquisitions
  3. Business process changes
  4. New technology implementations
  5. Organizational transformations
  6. Leadership changes
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Yup, Facebook At Work Is Real

Rob Koplowitz

Facebook loves to play and test new things. After a couple of months of rumors, this morning they announced that they're going to play in the enterprise for a while and see if it's fun. And for the first time we have an inkling of what "Facebook at Work" will mean. 

First off, we don't know what we don't know because they don't know what they don't know. And they know it. This is truly some early testing. Things like pricing are still down the road to be figured out. They have announced a small number of pilot organizations that have signed on. These organizations will have access to a Facebook instance that will be accessible only to authenticated users. So, essentially that much loved Facebook experience (including mobile) will be available to just the users in your organization or others that have been approved for authenticated access. Facebook hopes that workers will demand the service they love in their personal lives to collaborate, communicate and socialize in the workplace. So, that's where the play begins: testing if we want that user experience we know and love as part of our workday.

 

Google made the consumer-to-business transition with their email, productivity and file collaboration offerings. Dropbox is making the transition with their file sync and share solution. So, why not Facebook? And like Google and Dropbox, I don't think the challenge will be drumming up demand from workers. The challenge is really below the surface and lives in the requirements that business technology professionals will ultimately present. They will immediately begin to throw out challenges like directory integration, encryption, a host of other security requirements, external application integration and on and on. And all of this stuff is really hard to build.

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Continuous Delivery Pipeline tool categories

A Continuous Delivery pipeline is a (mostly) automated software tool chain that takes delivered code, builds it, tests it, and deploys it. This simple concept gets complicated by tool chain realities: no one vendor does everything that needs to be done in the pipeline, and new solutions are evolving every day.

To make sense of the CD pipeline tool chain, I have taken a close look at the market and have identified a set of tool categories. I'm sure I've missed something, and you may not agree with my categories, and in either case I would like to hear from you! You can either comment on this blog, reach me on twitter (@ksbittner), or email me (kbittner@forrester.com). If you think the categories sound right, I'd like to hear that, too. This is your chance to help define the continuous delivery tools market.

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Continuous Delivery Tools & Technologies

Continuous Delivery is a process by which source code is built, deployed to testing environments, test, and optionally deployed to production environment using a highly automated pipeline. Many different kinds of tools need to be brought together to automate this process. The tool categories described below provide the building blocks of the automated Continuous Delivery process.

Continuous Delivery Management

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Driven to distraction - a new breed of contact center agents need new tools to succeed

Ian Jacobs

I first noticed the creeping changes a few years ago. In college I majored in comparative literature and averaged about five novels read per week. Even when I entered the hustle and bustle overdrive of the working world, I still rapidly pounded through stacks of books every month. Over the past few years, while I still read more than the average American, the act of actually finishing a book became something of a notable achievement. My brain was more easily distracted, my ability to focus on and engage with complex information diminished, and my capacity to multitask as required by a modern work environment was seemingly illusory.

Of course, I wasn’t alone in experiencing these changes. This distracted mental state has become a common problem among knowledge workers and heavy users of Internet and mobile technologies. Excellent books such as Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age and The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains detailed the changes we are all undergoing and described much of the neuropsychological research that seeks to explain the mental modifications that have left us in such a state. At heart, the research shows that our tools have begun to shape our brains just as much as we fashion our tools--and not always for the better.

Such mental modifications would seem to pose some significant and idiosyncratic problems for customer service organizations. Indeed, a new generation of contact center agents has begun to vex application development and delivery professionals. The new agents seem reluctant to learn detailed product and service information that previous cohorts of agents had little problem with. These new agents prefer to learn where to find such information, but have little intention of actually memorizing product support details.

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Hadoop Isn’t For Everyone, But There Are Cloud-Based Big Data Solutions For Us All

James Staten
If you think you can do big data in-house, get ready for a lot of disappointment. If the data you want to analyze is in the terabytes in size, comes from multiple sources -- streams in from customers, devices or sensors -- and the insights you need are more complex than basic trending, you are probably looking for a data scientist or two. You probably have an open job requisition for an Hadoop expert as well and have hit the limit on what your capital budget will let you buy to house all this data and insights. Thus you are likely taking a hard look at some cloud-based options to fill your short term needs.
 
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Forrester's Top Trends For Customer Service In 2015

Kate Leggett

As 2014 winds down, I have taken the time to pause, and look ahead to what top customer service trends are surfacing for 2015 and beyond. Good service — whether it's to answer a customer's question prior to purchase, or help a customer resolve an issue post-purchase should be pain-free, proactive at a minimum and preemptive at best, deeply personalized, and delivered with maximum productivity. Here are 6 top trends - out of a total of 10 - that I am keeping my eye on. My full report highlighting all trends can be found here:

Trend 1: Customers Embrace Emerging Channels To Reduce Friction. In our recent survey, we found that web self-service was the most widely used communication channel for customer service, surpassing use of the voice channel for the first time. In 2015, we predict that customers will continue to demand  effortless interactions over web and mobile self-service channels. They will also explore new communication channels such as video chat with screen sharing and annotation.

Trend 2: Companies Will Explore Proactive Engagement. Proactive engagements anticipate the what, when, where, and how for customers, and prioritize information and functionality to speed customer time-to-completion. In 2015, we expect organizations to explore proactive engagement - whether it's proactive chat, proactive offers, or proactive content  - delivered at the right time in a customer's pre-purchase journey to help answer customer questions. They will use learnings from these proactive engagements to improve operational performance and to predict future customer behavior.

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Introducing The Forrester Wave: Digital Asset Management (DAM) For Customer Experience, Q4, 2014

Anjali Yakkundi

Today, everyone is a content publisher. This is due to lower content creation costs (consider the cost of creating HD videos now versus five years ago) and the increasing need to deliver engaging, rich-media-driven experiences. As organizations across verticals morph to become content publishers, best-of-breed digital asset management (DAM) solutions are garnering increasing amounts of interest. Why the fuss? These solutions can help manage the content creation process, manage finalized rich media content, and prepare content for delivery across channels.

As organizations begin placing a premium on DAM technology, they need the technology to do more than serve as a static, siloed content repository. Instead, solutions now must support two key business imperatives:

  • Digital experience delivery. DAM solutions must provide deeper functionality to prepare rich media content to be delivered globally and across channels. To do this, solutions must support vision and functionality to support greater automation in managing global/local versions of content, various renditions of content across channels, and integration with key systems of engagement (e.g. eCommerce, web content management, campaign management).
  • Marketing and business agility. DAM solutions must allow marketers and other business users to work with greater agility as well as operational efficiency and effectiveness. To do this, DAM solutions must support greater business process management, automation for key content management tasks (e.g. tagging, rights management, version control), and integration with a greater enterprise marketing technology ecosystem to fuel greater efficiency and effectiveness.
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China CDN Alternatives After Verizon’s EdgeCast CDN Outage

Mark Grannan

(note: blog collaboration by Mark Grannan, Phillip Karcher and Charlie Dai)

Are you an EdgeCast (now part of Verizon) customer? Chances are good that your traffic into China over the past week has been interrupted or blocked. Verizon claims this is without “rhyme or reason” in their statement.  We can look to the past to see that content censors have previously also stopped YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and we can look to the coming days when China hosts the World Internet Conference in Zhejiang to make guesses as to why.  However, it’s not fruitful to guess at what traffic coming from EdgeCast’s servers has tripped the censors, because we may simply never know.

The alternative? Investigate a multi-CDN strategy across regions that represent unique geographic or political barriers. Not only does this provide fail-over redundancy, but it can be valuable for cost arbitrage and load balancing. Here is a quick summary of the CDNs that we currently track that have delivery capabilities in China:

  • Akamai (via a partnership)
  • CDNetworks
  • China Cache
  • China Net Center
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How Mature Is Your Digital Experience Delivery Practice?

Anjali Yakkundi

Application development and delivery (AD&D) groups must establish technical services and tools to enable marketing and business groups to deliver and optimize web and mobile customer experiences. But today, we’re falling well short of our goal. Forrester data reveals that 51% of marketing leaders believe that technology management groups don’t accelerate their path to success.

To help AD&D pros mature and better serve marketing, eBusiness, and other lines of business responsible for delivering customer experience, Forrester created a digital experience delivery maturity model based on interviews with senior AD&D leaders over the past 24 months. We found that success was tied to maturity not just in solutions deployed or development methodologies. Instead, success and maturity was based on four fundamental categories, many of which are technology agnostic:

  • Strategic planning. Digital experience delivery maturity is largely based on how well they have strategized, planned, and executed their digital experience delivery programs. This dimension will evolve from project-based work to a more comprehensive strategy that spans business, marketing, and technical teams.
  • People. Organizational support is a critical component to success for growing internal expertise and creating digital experience teams that are responsive to business needs. This isn't just limited to who you've hired to be on the team. Instead, people issues focus more broadly on organizational issues like organizational structure (e.g. do your developers sit in marketing? Within technology management?), collaboration, shared values, and services partner strategy.
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