Addressing the contact center opportunity, discuss five important contact center trends, and explain how companies can embrace these trends to create a smart strategy that can improve the top and bottom line.
W H I T E P A P E RThe Contact Center OpportunityEmbrace Trends to Create a Smart Strategy Executive Summary Without an effective contact center strategy in place, companies are missing out on significant business advantages. The demand is clear: customers expect businesses to deliver fast, seamless interaction across all communication channels. So, to compete with organizations that offer sophisticated multi-channel service strategies, your enterprise requires a contact center strategy of its own. But, how can you develop a solid strategy that is both cost-effective and precisely tailored to your needs—and those of your customers? In this business paper, we will address the contact center opportunity, discuss five important contact center trends, and explain how companies can embrace these trends to create a smart strategy that can improve the top and bottom line.
Contact Center Technology its own. But, how can you develop a solid strategy that is both cost-effective and precisely tailored to your needs— That Fits Your Enterprise and those of your customers? When it comes to contact center software, some busi- In this business paper, we will address the contact center nesses have historically found it difficult to find systems opportunity, discuss five important contact center trends, that meet their specific needs without also featuring hefty and explain how companies can embrace these trends price tags and lengthy implementation cycles. Faced to create a smart strategy that can improve the top and with these challenges, many companies fail to embrace bottom line. We will demonstrate how with the right a contact center strategy, or they fail to achieve a clear contact center strategy and application, enterprises can: benefit from their strategy because the software they’ve chosen is not flexible enough to meet their unique require- • Deliver a positive service and brand experience ments. to customers • Create proactive interactions with customers Without an effective contact center strategy in place, enterprises are missing out on significant business • Reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of service advantages. The demand is clear: customers expect • Increase revenue with every customer interaction companies to deliver fast, seamless interaction across all • Improve key performance indicators communication channels. To compete with organizations that offer sophisticated multi-channel service strategies, • Outperform larger competitors your enterprise requires a contact center strategy of • Outmaneuver competitors quickly to take market share2 Pivotal CRM | White Paper
The Contact Center— The Customer Expectation:The New Epicenter of the Technology Raises the Bar Technology advancements have raised the bar for serviceCustomer Relationship excellence. Amazon.com is a great example of a company that knows how to keep customers coming back timeA smart contact center strategy can significantly improve and time again. It has set a new standard for the ideala company’s top and bottom line—it’s the epicenter of customer experience. When you visit Amazon.com, it’sthe customer relationship and it’s where smart marketing, easy to find what you want online. But your positiveselling and servicing converge every day to create satisfied customer experience is not limited to the Web. You receivecustomers and build a positive customer and brand consistent, personalized service across all channels.experience. Great customer service is no longer only about When people have a satisfying service experience atproviding phone-based service and support centers. Contact Amazon.com, it raises their expectations. They believecenters provide service and support to customers across that all companies should be able to live up to this level ofmultiple communication channels including phone, fax, service. As consumers, we find ourselves wondering whye-mail, Web chat, Web collaboration, and Voice over IP this level of service isn’t available to us when an airline(VoIP). Today’s advanced contact center agents can handle loses our bags. When we’re at work, we wonder why wecontact sales, marketing, and billing interactions in addition can’t explain to a valued customer why a much-neededto traditional service requests. shipment hasn’t been delivered on time. So, everyCompanies are starting to realize that with a smart company must ask, ‘How do we compare against thecontact center strategy there is a new opportunity to build companies that are already delivering world-class service?’long-term, reliable relationships and satisfied customers to The bottom line is that today’s customers expect muchdrive revenue growth. Selling a single product or service more of the companies they engage with. Contact centeris great in the short term, but the real revenue opportunity technologies and strategies directly impact a company’sis to keep loyal customers coming back time and time ability to deliver on these customer expectations.again. That’s the revenue stream that contact centers Innovative corporate leaders are initiating a newcan help generate. In fact, according to Dr. Jon Anton, conversation about customer service. They are askingContact Center Guru and Director of Benchmark Research their leadership teams, ‘Now that technology can allowat the Center for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue us to service our customers any way we want to, whatUniversity, for many companies “80 percent of next year’s does our ideal customer service model look like?’ Theserevenue should come from this year’s customers.” What corporate leaders recognize that they have an opportunitymany businesses have often lacked is a cost-effective to differentiate from their competitors by delivering onway to track, build and maintain that relationship over a more compelling and rewarding customer experiencetime so that they can continually identify new revenue across all channels of interaction. To do so, companiesopportunities with existing customers. must be able to put a contact center strategy in place that delivers on your company’s vision for the ideal customer experience, and measures the success of this strategy over time. Pivotal CRM | White Paper 3
Measuring Customer Service Success Achieving success in the contact center means improving key performance indicators (KPI), including reducing interaction costs; increasing revenue from interactions; and increasing customer satisfaction. Improvements in key indicators not only impact the top and bottom line, but also give enterprises the agility to remain competitive. Key Performance Indicator To Improve KPI, Enterprises Need: Reduced interaction costs • The right set of commonly needed functionality combined with easy-to-use customization tools to develop the functionality that precisely meets each contact center’s unique business requirements • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) to immediately display screen pops with relevant customer information on the agent’s desktop • To provide agents with accessibility to the information they need to handle a call quickly and effectively • A floating telephony toolbar on the agent desktop—giving them quick access to incoming calls Increased revenue from • The tools and information, and automated workflow so that agents can effectively up-sell and interactions cross-sell additional products and services • To provide agents with dynamic scripting and an easy-to-use interface so that they can position additional products and services without extensive training Increased customer satisfaction • To personalize customer interactions across every communication channel • To provide agents with the knowledge required to give customers quick, accurate answers including access to all sales and marketing related interactions • Multi-media interaction capabilities, including phone, e-mail, Web chat, Web collaboration, and VoIP so that customers can interact across their preferred channel of communication • Automated routing capabilities to quickly route customer requests from across any communication channel, to the most qualified agent • Screen-pops that capture the interaction history so that agents don’t have to ask customers to repeat information they’ve already provided through Web self-service or an interactive voice response system (IVR) Increased agent productivity • To provide agents with a personalized, intuitive desktop that consolidates all the tools and information they need into a single interface • One-click access and desktop integration to legacy systems to give agents the ability to solve customer inquiries quickly and effectively • A floating telephony toolbar on the desktop that shaves valuable time off every call and gives agents the ability to quickly pick up and transfer calls Reduced training costs • A simplified desktop that is tailored to the unique needs of the business, giving agents an intuitive, understandable interface that is easy and effective to navigate • Web-based, user-friendly browsers that feature one-click access to all of the necessary information • Dynamic scripting so that agents can position additional products and services without extensive training Improvement in calls resolved on • Quick access to intra-enterprise information the first interaction Decreased call times • Technologies and synchronization tools to create a distributed contact center strategy—ensure that calls are quickly redirected to other satellite contact centers during peak call times Reduced maintenance costs • An end-to-end, single vendor solution • Cost-effective integration capabilities, or an all-in-one contact center infrastructure from a single vendor • Easy-to-use customization tools to quickly make changes as needed4 Pivotal CRM | White Paper
Five Crucial Contact Center Frustration Leads to EmotionTrends We’ve all experienced 15-minute wait times with slow- service companies. And, we’ve experienced the frustrationEnterprises are in an enviable market position right now. of not being able to get solutions to our problems—orThe economy is causing all companies to re-think key having our problems ‘fall through the cracks’.business strategies and re-calibrate to the new economicenvironment. This presents an opportunity for businesses Customer service issues can be an emotional rollerto move fast, steal market share, and outmaneuver their coaster for the customer—and great companies havecompetitors. the capacity to deal with this reality. Problems that occur must be solved in the heat of the moment, or that emotionNew technology trends in the contact center market atrophies and becomes distrust. These magic momentsare allowing companies to quickly adopt contact center are when companies either build the customer trust andtechnologies and out-perform the competition. These loyalty they desire, or they lose loyalty entirely.trends include: The hard reality of handling ‘emotional moments’ holds• The Personal Touch: Self-Service Isn’t the Holy Grail true in both business-to-consumer and business-to-• Fast, Easy Customization business scenarios. In examining the difference between individual consumer inquiries and B2B inquiries, Dr. Jon• The ‘Slim Client’ – High performance applications Anton notes, “Some people might think that there is little• Distributed Contact Centers or no emotion tied to business-to-business interactions. But this is a myth. When people are engaging in business• The Contact Center Meets CRM: One Strategy, One interactions, their job performance is at stake. For Software Provider example, consider a purchasing manager who is trying to secure a price for a product or service, or an engineerThe Personal Touch: who is trying to obtain a specification for a project. If he or she fails—their job performance is questioned. If theySelf-service Isn’t the Holy Grail can’t make things happen with a vendor, it reflects onIn the late 1990s, people became enamored with the them—as well as the vendor.”Internet and the idea of self-service. Companies wereenthralled with the notion that they could get customersto manage their own service needs through smart, Fast, Easy Customization,interactive Web sites. This would greatly lower the cost Lower Cost of Integrationof customer service. The theory worked—to a point. Enterprises are constantly evolving to capture market andMany companies have reaped massive benefits by business opportunities as they arise. As a result, theirimplementing self-service sites. But even with the major contact center technology must be quickly adaptable toadvantages of self-service technology, the reality is that business process changes.there are still circumstances in which customers need tospeak to a customer service agent for a deeper level of The challenge is that the business processes inside asupport. Companies have come to realize that they must contact center are highly defined to ensure efficiency.integrate their call/contact center with their self-service Companies with high-functioning contact centers havecapabilities to manage sophisticated service needs. expended significant energy to define the exact steps service agents must take to resolve common customerAs a result, personal customer service through contact problems. These well-defined processes becomecenter agents has regained prominence. And, fast, cost- a powerful competitive differentiator allowing theeffective integration has become a top technical priority. company to keep valued customers satisfied even when major problems arise. Industry analysts concur that a Pivotal CRM | White Paper 5
company’s unique business processes, especially their territory, especially for less experienced users, agents can customer service processes, are a significant competitive engage with customers in an intelligent, confident way. differentiator. So, what happens when a new product line is introduced? Distributed Contact Center Or when the company decides to creatively bundle a Managing costs and ensuring reliable service can be set of service offerings to outmaneuver a competitor? daunting in a thousand-agent contact center. High To quickly address new business opportunities, contact turnover rates are a significant challenge for large contact centers must be built on easily customizable software centers—and it is extremely difficult to continually find and so that service agents can depend on the technology to train first-rate customer service representatives. Further, accelerate their tasks, not slow them down. Companies customers are demanding round-the-clock service must be able to easily customize the agent portal, availability. To mitigate these challenges, companies are workflow, and business rules. And they must be able to now choosing to establish smaller, distributed contact easily integrate the contact center application to provide centers across multiple cities and multiple geographies. agents with seamless access to other applications and As a result, contact centers of 100 to 250 agents are a data sources. booming trend. To address this requirement, companies are looking for Industry analysts agree this is an important trend. According flexible contact center applications that are both easy to Sharon Ward, Vice President of the CRM and Enterprise to customize and easy to integrate with intra- and extra- Applications Practice at Hurwitz Group, “Companies enterprise applications and data sources. Contact center that realize that their contact center is critical to ensuring flexibility is about making the contact center software, and customer satisfaction want excellent employees to staff the the contact center business process, work the way the center. It is difficult to attract large numbers of high quality organization requires—not how the contact center vendor individuals from a single location, so many companies thinks they should work. Many vendors’ contact center are forming ‘distributed’ centers that are geographically applications are based on inherently rigid architectures, disbursed to enlarge the candidate pool and also in many making the application very difficult to customize and adapt. cases to cover differing time zones.” Slim Client Contact Center Dr. Jon Anton also agrees, “Our studies show that large centers are less efficient and/or effective as compared to Many contact centers turn over their entire workforce three smaller centers. There is a trend to keep centers in the 150- to four times a year creating two massive challenges to 250-agent range, and to spread them out geographically.” in workforce management. The first challenge is the cost of constantly training new agents on the business, service processes, and software. The second challenge The Contact Center Meets CRM is moving agents up the productivity curve—it takes time Contact centers cannot operate effectively in isolation. for new users to become productive and efficient. As a Instead, they must be an integral part of a company’s result, companies face the dilemma of increasing agent overall CRM strategy and they must consolidate productivity while keeping training costs low. customer interactions from across the organization. The contact center typically becomes an answer To address this need, businesses are looking at ‘Slim center—and when agents are put on the spot to Client’ applications as a way to deliver a rich, interactive respond to an inquiry, if the agent doesn’t have the user experience—allowing agents to become productive answer, or responds with ‘I don’t know’, customers quickly. With slim client applications, the presentation become very unhappy. The truth of the matter is that logic runs on the client—with no installed code, while the many companies are torturing their customers with business and application logic resides on the server. This poor, and often disjointed, customer service. approach provides users with a Web interface that has richer functionality and better response times than a pure-thin CRM is a highly effective way to demonstrate to client approach, which has the presentation, business and customers that every business unit across the application logic running on the server. organization, including sales, marketing, and service, is connected and interdependent. CRM gives agents the A slim client approach to application deployment provides knowledge they need to make changes to the way they contact center agents with an application that is fast, easy treat customers inside of the contact center based on to use, and productive. Since a Web interface is familiar other activities within the organization.6 Pivotal CRM | White Paper
Companies have a unique opportunity when it comes predominately presented to agents during an inboundto customer service, especially in our current economic call, it makes sense to equip agents with the right toolsenvironment. With so many businesses under intense and information to make compelling offers for productscustomer scrutiny, companies can use their service and services. These conversations will absolutely lead toadvantage to increase customer loyalty and win new increased revenue in the long term.customers. Now more than ever, companies should beoptimizing their contact center to take advantage of thisopportunity—it’s up for grabs! An End-to-End Single VendorIn the last five years, customer service has become a Solutionprimary corporate focus—it is an imperative for market Companies are also no longer tolerant of a multi-vendorsuccess. To take care of customers, companies need solution to meet their complete CRM and contact centercustomer-centric processes, systems and capabilities— requirements. Instead, they are looking for a singleand that’s ultimately what CRM is all about. vendor to be able to provide an end-to-end solution that includes infrastructure, multi-media channels, CRM, andThe Center for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue a single interface. They don’t have the budget, resources,University embarked on a study of thousands of contact or risk tolerance necessary to purchase multiple contactcenters with the objective of determining the value of center products and then engage in a lengthy, expensiveCRM in the contact center. They compared companies integration effort to piece them all together. They want it towith contact centers that had implemented CRM be simple, standards based, and cost-effective.with companies that had not. The study concludedthat companies with both a contact center and CRM Given that contact centers never operate in isolation,deployment had significant improvement in: contact center software needs to be integrated to other• The number of calls handled per shift per agent data stores and transactional systems throughout the enterprise. Agents may need to open a service request,• The average handle time per inbound call (in minutes) place an order, manage inventories, or access billing• The percent of calls resolved on the first interaction information—information that is often contained within other business systems. Contact center integration with• Caller satisfaction other enterprise applications is usually the major costThe Center for Customer-Driven Quality then calculated overrun in a contact center implementation, so businessesthe financial impact of a CRM implementation on are looking for sensible solutions that mitigate the time,a contact center with 250 agents1. Based on their cost, and risk of integration.calculations, they concluded that if a company deploys aCRM solution, the call center would achieve:• 44% improvement in calls per agent per shift = $225,000 per year• 38% improvement in the average handle time = $177,000 per year• 37% improvement in calls resolved on the first interaction = $326,500• 27% improvement in caller satisfaction = $135,000 per yearThis study reinforces that a contact center strategy mustbe set within a larger CRM strategy to be highly effective.Agents must be able to leverage the full sales, marketing,and service capabilities of a CRM suite to intelligentlyinteract and have compelling dialogues with customers.It is absolutely critical for enterprises because customersfully expect that every customer-facing employee in theorganization will understand everything about them.And, since up-sell and cross-sell opportunities are1 Based on average agent annual wages Pivotal CRM | White Paper 7
The Pivotal CRM Advantage The Pivotal Contact Center Desktop features: • One-click access so that agents can handle high- Companies finally have a choice when it comes to volume customer interactions quickly and effectively their contact center strategy and deployment, and it’s • Multi-channel interaction capabilities about time. Together with Microsoft, Intel and Interactive Intelligence, Pivotal CRM delivers all the contact center • An all-in-one interface eliminating the need for agents to software, infrastructure, and telephony technologies and switch between multiple applications gives enterprises several choices when it comes to their • Instant access to customer information from across the contact center software deployment. It’s an approach to organization contact centers that makes sense for enterprises—and it ensures that these companies receive a solution that • Automated workflow to minimize agent training and precisely matches their business needs. expedite call resolution times • Dynamic scripting to help agents intelligently and Pivotal Contact Center can either be implemented as effectively interact with customers a stand-alone desktop application; as an integrated suite that leverages existing telephony infrastructure • Sales tools to help agents capture leads, manage investments; or as a unified platform that creates an opportunities, and up-/cross-sell effectively IP-compatible, multi-channel solution. It is fully integrated • Robust knowledge repository and easy-to-use search with the Pivotal CRM suite and features a highly flexible capabilities desktop that consolidates and supports multiple channels. • Real-time analytic and reporting capabilities Using the Pivotal Integration Engine, Pivotal Contact Center can easily and cost-effectively be integrated to enterprise applications, transactional systems, and data Pivotal Contact Center-CTC sources within and beyond business boundaries. Edition Pivotal Contact Center Desktop Pivotal Contact Center – CTC Edition gives enterprises powerful contact center functionality while enabling Pivotal Contact Center Desktop is designed with flexibility, them to leverage their existing investments in telephony simplicity, and functionality in mind. Contact center infrastructure. Using Intel CT Connect, Pivotal Contact agents in mid-sized enterprises need to be able to Center – CTC Edition provides out-of-the-box integration respond to a wide variety of requests, from customers between the Pivotal Contact Center Desktop application calling in to order products, to customers placing service and common legacy switches, including Avaya Definity, requests. The Pivotal Contact Center Desktop is a rich, Nortel Meridian, and Siemens Hicom. This product can high-performance application that provides agents with an also be integrated to other telephony switches by linking intuitive interface, a logical layout, and one-click access to the CTI Server via standard PBX protocol modules or to all the information contained within both Pivotal CRM interfaces. Suite and legacy systems. Agents are empowered with the capabilities to handle blended sales, marketing, and service interactions—critical activities that reduce costs and increase revenue. Pivotal Contact Center Desktop Pivotal Contact Center – CTC Edition8 Pivotal CRM | White Paper