Forrester’s Tech Radar Assessment Of 24 Contact Center Technologies For Customer Service

The contact center technology ecosystem for customer service is a nightmare of complexity. At a high level, to serve your customers, you need to:

  1. Capture the inquiry, which can come in over the phone, electronically via email, chat, or SMS, and over social channels, like Twitter, Facebook, or an interaction escalated from a discussion forum.
  2. Route the inquiry to the right customer service agent pool.
  3. Create a case for the inquiry that contains its details and associate it with the customer record.
  4. Find the answer to the inquiry; this can involve digging through different information sources like knowledge bases, billing systems, and ordering databases.
  5. Communicate the answer to the inquiry to the customer.
  6. Append case notes to the case summarizing its resolution and close the case.
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Reducing The Call Center Cost of Login Recovery Should Be A Top eBusiness Priority

Several weeks ago, I blogged asking for insight into the contact center costs of login recovery to help inform a project I was working on. Many companies responded — for which I thank you  — and I wanted to share some of the insights that were provided.

In the words of one eBusiness executive, “Helping customers resolve login issues is by far the largest call driver to our contact center. The costs are high — probably higher than we fully realize. But we look at it as the cost of doing business.”

Among the companies surveyed, the percentage of login issues among B2C contact center contacts ranged from  3% to 40%. Only one company was on that lower end and, while their 3% may seem small at first glance, their call center receives more than 10 million calls per year so 3% represents a hefty number of contacts. The higher end  of 30 to 40% of call center volume related to login was more common. Overall, among the companies who responded to my request for information, the operational cost of login issues ranged from $250,000/year to well over $1,000,000 per year.

These high dollar figures do not have to be the cost of doing business. Instead, eBusiness leaders should:

  • Ensure their login recover adheres to best practices. My document called “Mastering Login Issues” will hopefully provide helpful insight.
  • Consider social login, which lets users log in to your site with their social identities from Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites. This may be particularly useful for news, retail, media, entertainment.
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Salesforce Embraces The Social Customer — Deploying This Business Model Will Be Harder Than Deploying The Software

The statistics that salesforce.com broadcast at Dreamforce last week are impressive: a $2.2 billion annual run rate; 104,000 customers; and 35 billion transactions per quarter (see Benioff's keynote slides here). The conference was attended by 40,000 users, with a further 35,000 joining online. Salesforce.com’s cloud messaging is mature and no longer a focal point. However, what was most interesting from a customer service/CRM standpoint was the focus on the “social customer” and the way that CRM applications need to adapt to accommodate them.

Traditionally, CRM software has been anything but focused on the customer. It has been positioned as software aimed at the business user to increase their productivity and efficiency as they interact with customers, clients, and sales prospects.

Salesforce.com’s new CRM messaging spotlights the customer and the way that customers interact today using the new social channels and loose social processes to research and select products to purchase and get answers to their questions. Customers are also company employees and want to use these channels to collaborate with other employees at work in the same way they use these channels in their personal lives. This means that these social channels and processes need to also extend inside the enterprise. Check out salesforce.com’s interaction map for the social customer:

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