Customer Service & Support (CSS) is a software segment that provides tools for tracking and resolving customer problems, primarily through contact centers. The segment has been mature for decades but today is reinvigorated by a new emphasis on workflows and automation. Vendors, like ServiceNow, have been innovative in developing new technologies for managing self-service and field service, and providing agents with contextually relevant information during interactions. The new technologies brought to bear on this include artificial intelligence (AI) for knowledge search and delivery; agent assist and guidance tools; and SMS-centric customer messaging.
When we speak of the “customer experience,” we are really referring to the results of a broad spectrum of activities that collectively we describe as a journey or a lifecycle. In the past, how we spoke about customers was largely determined by the limited view of what transpired during short, contact center interactions. Customer experience (CX) evolved as a way to incorporate more facets of behavior into an assessment of the customer’s ultimate value and intent than is possible by looking only at an isolated interaction.
Topics: Customer Experience, Marketing, Voice of the Customer, Contact Center, Product Information Management, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, subscription management, agent management, intelligent marketing, Conversational Marketing
As laid out in my recent Analyst Perspective, Revenue Management: The Opportunity for Innovation and Optimization, revenue management is a new way look at generating and managing the top line. It unifies multiple sources: the traditional focus on new customers to existing customers as well as all types of revenue from new, additional channels. This could include customer retention, upsell and cross sell, in addition to other selling channels such as through partners or digital sales channels like e-commerce and subscriptions.
I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Contact Center in the Cloud 2021 is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to cloud contact center vendors. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the product experience ﹘ adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability ﹘ and two related to the customer experience ﹘ TCO/ROI and vendor validation. I encourage you to learn more about our Value Index and its effectiveness as a vendor selection and RFI/RFP tool.
Having just completed the 2021 Ventana Research Value Index for Contact Center in the Cloud, I want to share some of my observations about how the market has advanced since our assessment three years ago. The trend towards cloud deployment for contact center infrastructure has accelerated, partly (but not exclusively) due to the urgency of the 2020 pandemic. CCaaS has been generally accepted as a safe, reliable alternative to premises-based ACDs that also has benefits in cost-control, scalability and rapid technical innovation. There is a consensus within the industry that CCaaS will soon become the dominant deployment mode, with premises tools reserved for niche applications. Vendors report that the majority of their new customers are cloud-focused.