I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The 2023 Ventana Research Value Index: Customer Experience Management 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 derived from RFP responses submitted by customer experience (CX) vendors. These categories reflect the real-world criteria required by organizations for CX software procurement. 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.
Ventana Research recently announced its 2023 Market Agenda in the expertise area of Marketing, continuing the guidance we have offered for nearly two decades to help organizations derive optimal value from business technology and improve outcomes.
Having just completed the 2023 Ventana Research Value Index for Customer Experience Management, I want to share some of my observations about how the market has developed. We found that there are many tools available for various needs related to customer management and communication, ranging from marketing tools to contact center systems to data and analytics applications. It is rare to find all the components fully integrated into a single platform, although that appears to be where the industry is headed. We found that despite the lack of clarity in the marketplace, technology is moving quickly to provide users with more extensive tools that work better together. The vendor landscape is fractured, but most are taking advantage of developments in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and workflow automation to deliver functionality that, in some cases, was simply not possible as recently as five years ago.
Ventana Research recently announced its Market Agenda in the expertise area of Customer Experience. CX has emerged as a way for organizations to demonstrate value and stand out in the marketplace. The technology underlying modern CX is transitioning from tools that are based on communication to those centered on data analysis and process automation. This allows organizations to build great experiences and reap the benefits in customer loyalty and value. It also forces companies to reckon with the complexity and disruption that technologies like artificial intelligence and automation bring to an organization.
Since 2021, Verint’s message to the customer experience community has focused on the “engagement capacity gap,” a way of describing how the available resources for CX clash with the high level of customer expectations. The argument is that efforts to close that gap require a rethink of how contact centers (and their parent organizations) operate and plan.
The market and buyer landscape for contact center operating services has changed significantly since the onset of the pandemic, now almost three years ago. Three years would have been enough time for some significant shifts, even without the pressure the pandemic put on service operations. Nevertheless, with on-premises systems now taking a backseat industrywide, it’s fair to say that CCaaS, which typically refers to cloud-based systems, now represents the lions’ share of spending and therefore stands as a proxy for the industry as a whole. Ventana Research predicts that by 2026, 7 in ten organizations will have moved all or part of their contact center technology into the cloud to attain greater flexibility and scalability.
For quite a few years now, two trends have put the contact center on a collision course. First, the technology used to handle customer inquiries has been evolving quickly, moving organizations farther and farther away from the traditional mode of primarily answering voice calls. At the same time, consumers have become much more demanding. There’s no doubt that customers are more likely to use quality of service as a gauge for whether they should continue doing business with an organization. They’re more willing to bolt for a competitor if they have a bad experience. In short, they want more of everything, and contact centers have been trying to accommodate these expectations.
Traditional key performance indicators used for performance measurement in contact centers are no longer sufficient. These outdated standards don’t reliably inform mid- and upper-level leadership about the true impact of agent work and behavior. Organizations should begin to expand the notion of what’s important in order to make the contact center a stronger organizational institution, more closely tied to others who impact the customer experience. Outside the contact center, people are keen to understand the relationship between what’s being spent and what’s coming in: revenue and growth.
Through 2025, establishing customer experience application suites on a common platform will be the focal point of the drive to optimize customer and organizational engagement. Organizations that are passionate about improving the customer experience are choosing to empower processes and people with intelligence through smarter applications that embrace analytics, artificial intelligence and automation to personalize and optimize the customer journey, whatever the channel of customer choice.
Today’s contact centers need to revisit core assumptions around measuring agent performance. Changes in business conditions influencing agent engagement raise new questions about whether traditional performance models are sufficient to address the more complex customer needs that have taken center stage in recent years.