Customer Service Is a Complex Ecosystem: Forrester Research Finds Companies Lack Integration across Channels

Article excerpt

As more communication channels become available, running contact centers has become increasingly complex, according to a recent report from Forrester Research.

The report, titled "Craft Your Contact Center Investment Plans in Light of Technology Adoption Patterns," maintains that transactional history and customer histories are often unavailable and inconsistent across channels. Ninety percent of companies do not have full integration across all of the customer interaction channels, which include phone, email, chat, and Web self-service, it says.

"This means that customers receive inaccurate and inconsistent service across the different channels. It also means that customers will use more than one channel to find the information they need, which drives up company costs and decreases customer satisfaction," Forrester analyst Kate Leggett wrote in the report.

Leggett also concludes that agents are forced to look through multiple disconnected sources for information, causing both customer and agent satisfaction to erode.

"Many contact centers offer and store customer interaction data in silos," she says. "Companies [must] ... integrate everything at the business process level so that the information and data they provide across channels is the same."

The report also tracked CRM technology usage. Among survey respondents, 62 percent have implemented or are expanding their use of interactive voice response or speech self-service platforms, 58 percent use workforce management, 53 percent use case management, 50 percent use chat, 48 percent use quality monitoring, and 44 percent use email response management systems. Additionally, 47 percent have customer communities on social media sites, 42 percent offer customer service via sites like Facebook and Twitter, and 39 percent use social media listening tools. Furthermore, 55 percent use knowledge management tools, 35 percent use real-time decisioning tools, 34 percent use unified agent workspaces, 50 percent use speech analytics, 50 percent use enterprise feedback management, 43 percent use virtual assistants, 40 percent use speech recognition, and 47 percent use video for customer service. …